TORONTO – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced it would host the Canadian Radioactive Waste Summit this year, releasing the information in a press release on March 18.
The NWMO invited interested Canadians and Indigenous peoples to attend the free, online event, which will be held from March 30 to April 1.
The event “will bring together people from across the country to share their views on the guiding principles and priorities that should inform the development of an integrated strategy for the long-term management of radioactive waste in Canada,” states the press release.
“The summit begins the process of creating a plan for low and intermediate waste, for which no long-term plan currently exists,” said Salima Virani, NWMO’s regional communications manager – Indigenous.
The NWMO aims to provide a shared space for diverse voices and perspectives. They invited speakers representing Indigenous people, civil society organizations, industry, municipal officials, youth, and international organizations.
“This event is intended to be the beginning of the public engagement process to help inform the integrated strategy, and we are striving to have a multiplicity of voices to enrich the dialogue, regardless of their point of view,” Virani told the Wingham Advance Times.
A previous attempt to build a low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste deep geological repository (DGR) in Kincardine was cancelled because the NWMO and the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) kept their word that they would not build the DGR without a willing host.
The Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) overwhelmingly voted no to the project in January 2020.
“Radioactive waste is being safely managed today, but there are gaps in long-term plans, specifically for low-level and intermediate level radioactive waste. Developing an integrated strategy means that we are not leaving this to future generations to resolve,” said Karine Glenn, strategic project director for the NWMO.
“The summit is open to everyone. It is important to us that we engage a variety of voices in the process to identify and build common ground on which the strategy can be built, as well as understand points of difference. Our goal is to better understand the key considerations that matter to Canadians and Indigenous peoples.”
Following the summit, the NWMO will host a series of engagement activities and hold technical workshops “to explore the values, priorities, and the merits and trade-offs of different options for Canada’s radioactive waste.
Summaries of the information they hear from the public will be made available throughout the process, the release said.
These activities will take place from April until September.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times