Energy Minister confronted with Liberal nuclear waste legacy

Clean energy advocates deliver barrel of ‘nuclear waste'

Press release - September 26, 2007
Greenpeace activists delivered a mock barrel of radioactive waste to the constituency office of Dwight Duncan today to draw attention to the million year legacy of radioactive waste that will be created by the Liberal's $40 billion nuclear energy plan. Activists outside the office held "Nuclear – Wrong Answer" signs and unfurled a banner reading "Stop The Waste: No More Nuclear Power."

Greenpeace activists deliver a barrel of 'nuclear waste' to the constituency office of Energy Minister Dwight Duncan. The demonstration highlights the million year legacy of radioactive waste that that will be created by the Liberal's $40 billion nuclear energy plan.

"Dwight Duncan needs to state publicly where he plans to store Ontario's stockpiles of radioactive waste before he creates yet more waste for future generations. If he is not comfortable storing waste in Windsor, he owes it to Ontarians to say where it will be stored," said Bruce Cox, executive director of Greenpeace Canada.

As energy minister, Dwight Duncan is responsible for the government's plan to spend over $40 billion building 14,000 MW of nuclear stations - the largest nuclear building boom in the world - that will increase Ontario's production of radioactive waste. Despite this massive commitment to nuclear power, the government has failed to say where it would put the high-level radioactive waste (spent fuel) from its nuclear energy plan, often passing on responsibility to the federal government.

"Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan's biggest legacy will be a million years of radioactive waste," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. "Passing the buck to the federal government is not an option. You make it, you own it," said Stensil.

This government needs to take responsibility for its policies and tell Ontarians where and how this waste will be stored for a million years before building new reactors."

Before the release of their energy plan in 2006, some high-profile Liberals made public statements against storing waste in Ontario. Premier McGuinty said Ontario "would have its say" if it was selected for a radioactive waste dump. Ontario Northern Affairs Minister Bartollucci has said that Northerners will "raise hell" if the federal government tries to dump waste in the North.

"The nuclear waste problem is not solved, so it's unethical for the McGuinty government to move forward with its nuclear plans," said Stensil. "We have the technology, know-how and resources to build a clean energy supply. All that's lacking is the political will."

There is already over 30,000 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste at reactor sites in Ontario. A federal agency, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), is currently looking for a community to step forward to permanently take the waste.

Environmentalists say that solving the problem of radioactive waste is similar to any effective and socially acceptable waste management strategy: it depends on stopping nuclear waste production.

Bruce Cox is speaking this evening about energy issues at the University of Windsor.