Representatives from Saugeen Ojibway Nations told the Joint Review Panel for OPG’s deep geologic repository project that they are committed to being part of the solution for the long-term storage of nuclear waste.
The public hearings for the deep geologic repository (DGR) for low and intermediate level nuclear waste commenced Monday afternoon at the Kincardine Legion, hosted by the Joint Review Panel. Supporters and opponents to the proposed project packed the room to hear opening statements from Saugeen Ojibway Nations (SON) and OPG.
SON Chief Randall Kahgee told the panel that the DGR project could have a direct impact on the SON people if it is not carried out carefully. He said the decision to build a nuclear power facility at
“We do not accept the decisions that were made that affect our history, but we do accept to be part of the solution,” Kahgee said.
Kahgee said while it is imperative that OPG work with SON, his people are committed to working with OPG. He added that there are still many unanswered questions in relation to the project.
“We have serious and well-founded concerns that we do not know the full story of the DGR and we don’t believe OPG knows the full story,” he said. “It is for that reason SON must test and challenge every aspect of the DGR.”
Kahgee said his people’s concerns are valid.
“If things go south in a hurry where do our people go?” he asked. “We do not have the luxury of picking up and leaving. This is our home. It has always been our home. There is a lot of work ahead. Our people have been prepared. We are equal to the task.”
Laurie Swami, vice-president of nuclear services at OPG, provided an overview of the project and a brief synopsis of the findings of the environmental assessment.
“It is OPG’s responsibility to create a long-term management plan for its nuclear waste and it is OPG’s responsibility to develop that plan now to prevent passing it on to future generations,” she said.
The DGR will have a capacity for 200,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate level waste. The facility will not store used nuclear fuel. Swami said the environmental assessment found that the long-term environmental impacts from the project are essentially zero.
“OPG has demonstrated with a high level of confidence that the DGR will provide for the safe storage of low and intermediate level waste in both the short and long term,” she said.
The public hearings will be held at the Kincardine Legion until Oct. 5 and at the Saugeen Shores Community Complex Rotary Hall in Port Elgin from Oct. 7 to 12.
The public hearings will be webcast live through the CNSC website at www.cnsc-ccsn.gc.ca and written statements will be posted as soon as they become available. As well, copies of the hearing schedule and procedures, along with documents that are submitted or generated as part of the review, will be available on the online public registry at www.ceaa.gc.ca, reference number 17520.
Within 90 days of the close of the review record, the Joint Review Panel will submit an environmental assessment report to the federal Minister of the Environment outlining its conclusions, rationale and recommendations. Following the Government of Canada’s decision, the panel is then to make a decision on the application for a licence to prepare a site and construct the DGR.