Chalk River: Quebec refuses to support cities opposed to nuclear dump

Quebec Environment Minister Isabelle Melançon refuses to support the 82 municipalities of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal which, in support of the city of Gatineau, have expressed their opposition to the installation of a nuclear dump in Chalk River , Ontario, near the Ottawa River. Ms. Melançon believes that their approach is not the right one, that she would condemn her government to inaction if she supported it.
The minister was willing to “take note” of the resolution passed by these municipalities, but not to support it strictly speaking, as demanded Wednesday Martine Ouellet, independent member of the National Assembly and leader of the Bloc Québécois on the federal scene.

Like her predecessor David Heurtel, Isabelle Melançon believes that opposing this project at this stage would not solve anything; that the important thing at the moment is that Quebec gets all the answers to the questions it asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission last September about this possible installation in Chalk River, near the Ottawa River, a tributary St. Lawrence. The project is supported by the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.

Martine Ouellet was alarmed: “There is a risk of nuclear contamination of the St. Lawrence River, which is supplied by all the bordering municipalities,” she told the National Assembly. She knows that the project has changed in nature, that it is no longer a question of medium-intensity nuclear waste, but rather, from now on, of low intensity.

But “even low-level waste is dangerous for the contamination of the Ottawa River.”

Like its predecessor, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change is concerned. “For me, it is worrying, as it is, of course, for Quebeckers.”

“What we are checking with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is what can we do? How can we improve? For us, it is important for Quebec to play a role. It is my role as Minister of the Environment to follow this work with a lot of attention. ”


In September, the Quebec government called on the developer of this radioactive waste dump to redo his homework. He had addressed a series of questions to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which was looking into and still looking at this so-called Waste Management Facility project near the surface.

The Ministry of the Environment found the information provided so far incomplete. He even questioned the location chosen by the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.

He is still waiting for answers to some of the technical questions he has raised. For example, why a “near-surface waste facility” rather than a “geological waste management facility” or a “surface concrete vault”? He had also asked to evaluate the possibility of removing this potential dump from the Ottawa River system.

The Couillard government is driven by the idea that Quebec alone can not defeat the project, since it will be located in Ontario. Last year, while he was being followed by the Parti Quebecois, he noted that Quebec’s independence would not change that risk.

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