It’s important to know “both sides” of the nuclear waste controversy now that Saskatchewan is being targeted as a nuclear dump. Even if you are skeptical of industry claims that a nuclear waste solution “is in the works”, and see this as a ploy to get more nuclear power plants approved, there’s lots to learn about the nuclear worldview.
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The Sask Party government can’t make up its mind whether it wants Saskatchewan to become a nuclear waste dump. In March 2009, when the Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) recommended we take nuclear wastes from afar, several Ministers were quick to distance the government from this. But on December 17th, Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd reversed this, saying the government is open to considering a geological repository if a “willing community” steps forward.
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.
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.