The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of Environment
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

February 26, 2013

Dear Minister Kent,

In a letter of  February 19th  the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC)  requested that  you authorize  a full-panel CEAA Environmental Assessment  for  Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC),  Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) and the U.S. Department of Energy  (DOE) plans   to “expedite”  approval of multiple transfers   of   intensely radioactive  liquid waste   from the Fissile Solution Storage Tank (FISST)  at Chalk River Nuclear laboratories (NRU) to the  Savannah River Facility  in South Carolina .

On February 21st however,  CNSC  released information   outlining the newly legislated  Environmental Assessment  rules,  whereby   CNSC ,  rather than yourself or Cabinet,  now has complete control of the EA  process  and  makes final decisions on nuclear projects under review.

Given   CNSC’s  recent nuclear  “advocacy role”  regarding  several projects, such as   the proposed shipment of radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes, this change in CNSC’s role is most unfortunate .

Additionally, NCWC  feels that  the newness of the EA rules  and  the  precedent -setting  nature  of multiple  transfers of such extremely dangerous  liquid nuclear waste that could  put public health and safety  at risk and threaten the environment should an accident happen along this extraordinarily lengthy route,  makes it  absolutely essential that your  Government  act in  a most  precautionary manner in this instance .

Therefore , NCWC  respectfully  requests  that you as Minister of Environment   recommend  to  Cabinet  that the government proactively  intervene  to protect the public interest, by calling a halt to these  nuclear waste shipments   until the public can be assured of their  safety, or, that there is not a safer way to move  them,   such as the  recommendation of nuclear expert Dr. Gordon Edwards that they be   solidified on-site at Chalk river, and only  then shipped  to South Carolina.

Should this not be your choice,   we   request that strong   due diligence be used in your, or any other Ministry’s, observation and involvement in a CNSC review and assessment of this project.

Denise Mattok,

President

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