LOG CABIN CHRONICLES

Oh, the Chalk River nuclear plant -- what could go wrong?

Posted 3.30.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | An 18-foot high mound, the size of multiple football fields, all above ground - - not far from the once-mighty Ottawa River, the source of life for much of the Valley - - picture it. Of course it's covered tightly, under and over with a membrane. A high-tech membrane. There are pumps to suck out leaking - - what, you ask?

Here's the kicker - - this big mound will be filled with radioactive waste. What exactly, we can't tell.

Where's it from? Well, that's a secret - - but, anyway, we all live here, so no one would build anything risky, would they? What could be risky about tonnes of radioactive waste, still hot and getting hotter, and that for, say, thousands of years more. Yup, thousands. This impermeable mound will sit here for thousands of years, pumps chugging away for thousands of years. Leaks stored in a nearby reservoir. . . for thousands of years. Upstream from the nation's capital.

What could possibly go wrong?

This is all in the planning stage. Just a proposal, a great idea to allow the new owners of these facilities to - -

Mr. Harper sold off our country's nuclear research assets - - maybe they donated to the Conservatives, who knows?

Maybe they're American firms who have the know-how we don't.

The new owners need space to tear down buildings, storage tanks, parking lots now unused. It's an idea - - and the public (you and me) have 60 full days to register our questions. Sixty days, that seems plenty.

  • 60 days from when? Who knew this project was even in the works until the Journal picked up the story from an innocent-looking press release?
  • 60 days - - once we've read the documents, studies, and assurances - - but where are they? How do we access any information, except what the authorities send us?
  • 60 days, we can ask questions and file opinions - - file them, where?
How does anyone even know all this is taking place and know that the authorities are awaiting the public's feedback? A public that's been in the dark so far, but will, rest assured, be kept up to date on every new development - - somehow. There's a Facebook page somewhere, Twitters, videos of engineers kicking dirt - - discussions of local cancer rates.

We know the Ottawa sits on an earthquake fault and that the valley is protected from floods by a series of big dams. We have plenty of assurances that the big dams will always hold -.- fears of multiple collapses, a big tsunami racing down the Ottawa Valley, absurd! No national security issues here, either.

So who needed - - and needs - - public notices? Radio ads and interviews? Local newspapers? Posters? We know the nuclear folks have already met interest groups at public information sessions. You didn't notice? Several of these meetings were covered in this newspaper. And even if the process was framed as a ‘waste disposal’ problem, we all knew this was code for a Fukushima-sized radioactive waste pile next to our water supply and above the regulators in Ottawa! Oh, they have condos in Florida? Well, the Ottawa Riverkeepers will surely be on this file, as will PEP, despite their silence. Our MRC-Pontiac is on guard, our MP and MNA, all with their eyes wide - - .Listen up! Everyone has the best intentions! All the kids growing up, the seniors retired, families farming - - we're all protected. Keep snoozin' folks!

john@johnmahoney.com




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