Want to live in Chernobyl?
Last year’s terrible flooding across West Quebec was up-ended by no less than six tornados this year, sandwiching a excessively-dry summer and freezer-burn winter. No one’s arguing about climate change now, nor doubting the increasing chaos in weather systems. Chaos doesn’t mean “bad”, it means “beyond prediction”. But that’s old news.
What is less obvious is that this could get worse. Correction: will get worse. Of course, the weather will also be lovely sometimes – that’s the unpredictability factor. “Worse” doesn’t only mean more and bigger tornados, forest-fires, and floods, it means that chaos will come at us from unexpected quarters, from places we now overlook.
Like the Chalk River radioactive dump proposal, and the entombment of the Rolphton reactor – both alongside the Ottawa River, upstream from seven million Canadians.
Imagine last year’s flooding reaching the fabric-covered nuclear dump.
Imagine a tornado ripping through there – does “ripping” include ripping opening the “geo-fabric” covering radioactive materials? Yup. All of this and more is reasonably imaginable; this year’s catastrophes re-enforce these possibilities. Flooding might not carry heavy metals all the way to Montreal, but we can imagine several tornados coating the Ottawa Valley with a carpet of radioactivity, not unlike Chernobyl.
The question isn’t if the greatest disaster will occur, or a lesser one, or something far worse – the question is, why are we even taking these chances? Why would we allow a gigantic radioactive mound in that location, and under these circumstances, at all? Why would we even take the chance? This is not alarmism. It’s called the “Precautionary Principle”.
Nor is this a complaint about nuclear medicine, or even power. It’s about the where and the how of these benefits.
Equally puzzling is why are our provincial and federal members of parliament so strangely silent on this file? MNA André Fortin sailed through his re-election campaign without mentioning the Chalk River project (losing about 25% of his support). And we know our federal MP has only mumbled a bit at the very start of the public discussion of the proposal, refusing to even consider due diligence for the safety and health of his constituents.
Science does not support such irresponsible decisions with such toxic materials. Scientists employed by nuclear agencies may support it, presumably like our political reps, because of a lovely pension coming their way, assuming they can keep the lid on public dissent. Jobs will not be lost. The radioactive garbage is already in Chalk River (although they do want to ship more waste there to make this a “profit centre” for the corporations now running Canada’s nuclear industry.) Employees will always be needed to maintain this radioactive stockpile. Years later, people will wonder why we lost our minds around this time. For fifty jobs, we’ll answer from the grave.
So, Deputies of High Moral Standing, why defend this program? The tornados didn’t hit your backyards?