Elliot Lake Standard | It appeared to be a nuclear friendly crowd of about 100 citizens who showed up last Monday, Oct. 18 at the White Mountain Building on the invitation of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

The nuclear regulator was in the city with a technical team of engineering and environmental professionals to explain the CNSC’s role in the Canadian nuclear industry, with a particular view of clarifying the difference between their monitoring and inspection activity, as well as the entirely separate mandate of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

According to CNSC senior project officer, Julie Mecke, the commission regulates uranium mines and mills, nuclear processing and research, nuclear power generation, nuclear medicine, nuclear substances and transportation, waste management, the environment, national security and international commitments.

“The CNSC is the regulator and we do inspections at mines, mills, storage facilities, nuclear power plants and decommissioned mines,” said Mecke. “As far as nuclear waste is concerned, we manage it, we monitor it. When an application does come forward from the NWMO we will review the feasibility of the proposal.”

Listening to the questions being asked, it became clear that many of the citizens who attended the open house were eager to learn if a time line for the selection of a disposal site was looming in the near future. All members of the CNSC technical team present were clear about distancing the commission from any speculation.

“That (time lines) is the responsibility of the community and the NWMO,” Mecke remarked. “Once the community reaches a clear acceptance, a broad-based declared desire to host a site, they can go to the NWMO. If that organization sees merit in the community proposal they can present it to us. To date, that hasn’t happened.”

The CNSC has not received an application (to host) a (nuclear waste) disposal site from the NWMO.

A table stacked with CNSC informational and promotional material, coupled with another filled with refreshments, assisted the technical team in successfully developing a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

At the 1:30 p.m. presentation, there were no overt displays of what could be characterized as anti-nuclear protest. Rather, a pervasive attitude of acceptance and industry promotion stood out.

Menke was also to be in the city as a guest speaker at the October meeting of the Elliot Lake Community Liaison Committee.

By RICK SMIT, For The Elliot Lake Standard, Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:51:35 EDT PM as posted at http://www.elliotlakestandard.ca/2016/10/19/canadian-nuclear-safety-commission-hosts-local-open-house