BY KRISTIN ANNABLE, WINNIPEG SUN
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2014 08:33 PM CST
A former city councillor fears Manitoba could turn into a major hub for nuclear waste transportation in the next 20 years.
Donovan Carter, who served on Winnipeg council from 1988-1992, wrote an open letter to Premier Greg Selinger last month that was published in the Sun. He asked him to reveal the province’s stance on the contentious issue of border town Creighton, Sask., playing host to a billion-dollar nuclear waste storage facility.
The town is located about 770 km north of Winnipeg and is across the provincial boundary from Flin Flon.
"A severe accident on a highway or a railway, which causes a nuclear waste shipping container to rupture, then we are talking a high-level of radioactive activity," Carter warned, citing it would be at a disaster of a much larger scale than the Lac-Mégantic explosion. "Small town fire departments in rural communities, are they capable of serving as first responders? I would say not."
Currently, Creighton is on the shortlist with 12 other communities by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), a non-profit organization tasked by the federal government to determine a long-term solution for nuclear waste, as a possible site for the storage facility. It is the only site located outside of Ontario.
Last week, a blanket statement by the province on the issue was sent to the Flin Flon Reminder, a weekly newspaper that serves Flin Flon and surrounding communities.
"Transporting used nuclear fuel could begin in 2035 at the earliest," read part of the statement. "We look forward to working cooperatively with the federal government and regulating bodies to ensure safe transportation route through our province."
The statement concerned Carter, who says it is a sign the province will not attempt to stand up to federal regulators.
The transportation of radioactive material falls under federal jurisdiction, meaning the province cannot legislate how and where it is transported.
However, Carter worked with the activist group Concerned Citizens of Manitoba in the 1980’s to get the Howard Pawley government to ban storing nuclear waste in 1987 and wants to see the Selinger government stand up to the federal government.
He believes Creighton will be the likely victor in the race, due to its proximity to the Churchill and accessibility to the American border, plus Manitoba’s truck/rail routes from Ontario to Saskatchewan.
According to the NWMO, with sufficient effort, nuclear waste can be transported safely, citing countries such as Sweden and France that frequently transport waste without incident.
Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org