Lives Matter along the Ottawa River
Just when our nation has its attention diverted by policing protests and the pandemic, and with no urgent need, a group of corporations has launched a new zombie attack: Chalk River will rise from the ashes of that terrible plan to build a astoundingly large radioactive dump just up stream from Gatineau and most of the Pontiac’s population. As the world ponders alternatives to climate-warming petroleum, these money-managers want to build a new generation of mini-nuclear reactors. They want to build them at Chalk River, and from there ship them around the world, leaving, of course, the debris, the radioactive waste and leftovers, right here, in our back yard. Think of a log-jam of radioactive debris waiting upstream from Gatineau-Ottawa.
This cabal claims these micro-reactors are cutting-edge technology -- and yet such micro-reactors, using roughly the same inputs, processes and technology, have been around for decades -- and have all been shut down because of their failures, accidents, and on-going dangers to their surroundings. All failed; all have been shut down. The proposal submitted does not mention these failures, nor proposed remedies. These micro-reactors burn hotter than Chernobyl, and they are literally bathed in graphic dust (an explosive combination).
The old problems continue, and new dangers are ignored. Maybe they simply can’t be avoided. New problems include diverting the spent fuel for extraction of bomb-grade plutonium by hostile governments and terrorist organizations. Plus, these micro reactors use enriched uranium -- which Canada does not produce. Where will it come from and how will it be transported across our country? No answer. These plants will be marketed around the world -- and even with dreamland “safeguards” is it realistic to think they will never be re-sold to, say, North Korea? To ISIS? Canada -- in breech of non-proliferation treaties?
This newest project is to go into our back yard, without a real debate here. Yes, there are periods for public submissions and questions -- but with so little accurate information given us, and the gobbledegook of numbers, codes, and techniques, this is no genuine public discussion.
Why would our federal government accept such risks? Why would Quebec allow this to be even considered when it poses an existential threat to Aylmer and Gatineau, the Pontiac, Montreal (and points between)? Is the magic answer, “SNC Lavalin”?
Lastly, if this project is unavoidable, why not an intentional, well-designed research complex, somewhere in Canada’s vast, unpopulated regions? Why, in a country so large, this monstrosity is being considered just upstream from the nation’s capital and several of our finest cities? It is unacceptable for us, on the front line, to be told, “nothing’s decided”, “we are just looking at the technical specs”, and “leave it to science”. We are who live, downwind, in its shadow. Our lives matter.
Note: This editorial appears simultaneously in the Pontiac Journal.