The quest for a nuclear dump began in 1977 when the town of Madoc, Ontario was targeted for geological research by the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL). Stealth-like secrecy was their strategy; until a story in Harrowsmith revealed that 16,000 acres of nearby crown land had been put into reserve. The AECL had to move north, near Atikokan, Ontario, to start test drilling. When locals got wind of this, the newly formed Citizens Committee for Nuclear Responsibility quickly collected 1,700 names opposing AECL’s activities, which was more than voted in their last local election.
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The nuclear industry supports deep geological “disposal” so that the wastes it creates will be “out of sight, out of mind”, and it can pursue its expansion plans without the waste issue dragging public support down. Internal documents indicate that convincing the public a nuclear waste “solution” is in the works is a central part of its “public acceptance”, PR strategy.
On September 15th Dan Perrins delivered his public consultations‚ report to Wall’s government. In March, the Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) recommended that Saskatchewan develop nuclear power and create a nuclear waste dump. Growing public concern about UDP one-sidedness left the Sask Party government with no political alternative but to undertake a “public consultation process”, which Perrins led from April to July. With 2,637 people in total attending thirteen public meetings, 1,275 written submissions and 61 stakeholder groups presenting, Energy and Resources Minister Boyd was right in calling it ‘the broadest and most transparent public debate on uranium development ever undertaken in Saskatchewan”.
By the time you read this the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) will have held its by-invitation-only, Saskatoon meeting, to help find a "host community" to take nuclear wastes from across Canada.