Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Eighteen communities, including 15 in Ontario, are vying to become Canada�s nuclear waste capital

By DAVID MCLAREN, SPECIAL TO QMI AGENCY

Last Updated: June 16, 2012 12:00am

At the beginning of everything, the Navajo were shown two yellow powders. One they could use – it was maize pollen. The other they were told to leave in the ground. That was oxidized uranium.

No one talks of “clean” nuclear energy anymore, not when you consider the whole fuel cycle.

Early mining in the Northwest Territories rendered Deline a “village of widows” because of the high mortality rate of Dene men who worked, unwarned and unprotected, in the uranium mines.

The same thing happened to Navajo in the U.S. southwest. Their ancient lands have been devastated by uranium mines, turning their creation story into apocalyptic prophecy.

Contamination during the operation of a nuclear plant is a constant concern. And the spent fuel from the core of a nuclear reactor is high-level nuclear waste. It takes a million years (give or take a few millennia) before it’s safe to stand beside.

So, why are four municipalities in southwestern Ontario vying to become the nuclear waste capital of Canada?

Fourteen other communities – 11 in northern Ontario and three in Saskatchewan – are also in the running. But Brockton (Walkerton), Saugeen Shores, Huron-Kinloss and Central Huron are all within a four-hour drive from London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and Toronto.

All four communities bill themselves as tourist destinations, none more so than Saugeen Shores along Lake Huron…

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