Northumberland News, To the editor
Re: Port Hope misused $10-million low-level radioactive waste fund, court concludes – published July 12, 2016
The largest historic low-level radioactive waste cleanup in Canadian history will soon begin on hundreds of sites around Port Hope and moved to the corner of town where it will be stored, forever.
In 2001, the Canadian government agreed to pay Port Hope, the former Hope Township, and Clarington a $10-million grant each for agreeing to be a host community for historic low-level radioactive waste.
A recent Ontario Superior Court decision posed many questions and demanded clarity from municipal lawyers. In addition, an outdated 2001 legal agreement needs to be revised or rewritten — especially when it was originally signed by the Canadian government after the Town and Township of Hope (Wards 1 and 2) had already amalgamated. The legality of an agreement into perpetuity is also questioned.
The agreement required the nuclear waste be kept in permanent storage. The lifetime of stored radioactive waste spans multiple generations and tens of thousands of years — especially the highly deadly K-65 residues (none LLRW) from uranium ores refined in Port Hope for the U.S.-led Manhattan Project during the Second World War and world’s first atomic bombs.
The $10-million hosting fee to Ward 2 was a bargain for the Canadian government — especially if and when a future cleanup is needed. The previous nuclear dump located on the same site next to a wetland was forced to shut down due to leaching contamination. A new cleanup could run into billions of dollars later — who will pay?
There is no other permanent nuclear storage facility available. Almost nothing man-made lasts forever. After 300 years when the federal government has left town, what compensation will be paid to future generations inheriting the legacy of hosting and monitoring a deadly giant radioactive mound of aged cells built into the municipal landscape and, perhaps, Canada’s biggest LLRW nuclear dumpsite?
Historic wrongs should be made right and not perpetuated into the future.