NWMO responds to local group's concerns, expands well testing

·2 min read

TEESWATER – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) says they are listening to the concerns of a local group.

Protect Our Waterways-No Nuclear Waste (POW-NNW) is claiming vandals are targeting them due to comments made by an official at the organization.

Retiring Vice-President of Site Selection, Ben Belfadhel, wrote a scathing letter to the editor in response to a flyer that the POW-NNW sent out to local homes in September 2020.

The flyer drew attention to the NWMO's proposed deep geological repository (DGR) for high-level used nuclear fuel in the Teeswater farmland.

In the letter, Belfadhel called the group “not willing to listen,” a comment that POW-NNW believes escalated the ongoing dispute between “pro-DGR,” people who formed their own organized group called “Willing To Listen,” and “anti-DGR” people.

“We want to be clear that Protect Our Waterways is a very important part of the community of South Bruce and we are committed to continuing to engage with them,” the NWMO’s new Vice-President of Site Selection, Lise Morton, said in a press release.

“Right from day one we have welcomed public discourse about Canada’s plan,” she said. “Not only did we consult Canadians through a comprehensive study, but we have been in active dialogue with community members in both siting areas and with First Nations and Métis communities nearby.”

POW-NNW responded with their own media release, demanding an apology.

"Until the NWMO publicly apologizes for labeling Protecting Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste as the 'unwilling to listen group,’ they remain responsible for all vandalism against the property of the people who don't support their plan,” states the POW-NNW release.

“Any statements that NWMO makes to the contrary sugar-coat their so-called process, that the community is supposed to sit and listen to whatever they say and not ask any questions. The NWMO does not tolerate public debate.”

In other NWMO news, water well testing is expanding to include more wells in South Bruce, near the proposed DGR site.

“The program, which involves participating local landowners having water from their wells collected and analyzed by Tulloch Environmental, a third-party organization under NWMO contract, was recently expanded to include more wells and sample parameters based on community input from South Bruce,” a press release said.

“Water does not just support local industries like agriculture; it supports life itself,” said Joanne Jacyk, section manager of environmental assessment, NWMO. “We understand how important it is to the residents and rights holders. That is why we are working to protect it – and the environment – for the very long term.”

Interested landowners in the vicinity of the proposed site are encouraged to reach out to the NWMO for more information.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times