August 5, 2011
To: The Committee for Future Generations and participants in the 7000 Generations Walk
Against Nuclear Waste
The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), representing thousands of Canadians through its affiliated member groups, 19 Nationally Organized Societies, six Provincial Councils of Women, and 14 Local Councils of Women and two Study Groups in eight Provinces, sends its strong support to those in Saskatchewan who are participating in the 7000 Generations Walk Against Nuclear Waste.
NCWC has policy regarding the dangers of nuclear energy dating back to 1955. It has been commenting on the disposal of nuclear waste since our participation in the Seaborn Panel’s lengthy hearings of 1996-98 and up to the present. NCWC has observed and critiqued the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s efforts to find a “willing host community” for its development of deep geologic disposal of high-level nuclear waste in either the Precambrian shield or, more recently, the Ordovician Sedimentary formations of southern Ontario.
Your arduous walk points directly at, and illuminates clearly, a repetitive pattern of behavior of the nuclear proponents, smooth promotional presentations that fail to show any drawbacks, enticements of increased employment, improved community economies, financial gains, one-sided community consultations and newsletters featuring community activities sponsored by NWMO. This is happening even before NWMO knows if the potential sites are geologically “safe” for the thousands of years that are necessary to keep these dangerous radioactive elements secure.
One can well question such high pressure tactics. In November 1996, Chief Morin of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan asked the Seaborn Panel: “Is it ethical to give a slick presentation to the First Nations communities on the safety and economic benefit and not tell the other side clearly?”. The Seaborn Panel report noted the failure of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd to properly consult with northern Ontario residents saying “Despite the fact that Aboriginal people may be among those most affected by a concept for managing nuclear fuel wastes, their involvement has been inadequate”.
Despite the fact that to date no community’s geology has been determined to be ‘specifically’ sound or safe, the dangers to communities along the potential routes from existing and planned nuclear stations have not been considered. In northern Saskatchewan, the huge distances add to the dangers and expense which NWMO does not admit and the enormous costs and dangers of nuclear power are not yet factored into costs.
We note that, unlike these eight “willing” communities who are lured into one-sided consultation, one community – that of Muskoka Minister Tony Clement – has on his advice declared itself an “unwilling” community. At this early stage in the NWMO’s search for a “willing community”, it is extremely important that the public be alerted to all of the issues you are raising.
We heartily commend the Committee for Future Generations for your stalwart determination to undertake the 7,000 Generations Walk Against Nuclear Waste.
Denise Mattok President