Nuclear industry not doing us any favours

Dear editor,

The nuclear industry has been looking for a place to dump their toxic waste for over five decades and Northern Ontario has been the main focus of their efforts. Back in the early 1980s shortly after two mines closed Atomic Energy Of Canada Ltd.(AECL) came to Atikokan with the promise of good jobs and a booming economy. The trade-off was Atikokan would become the dumping grounds for their toxic waste. After a well balanced debate on the topic 85 per cent of the people in Atikokan rejected the idea of becoming the nuclear industry’s dumping grounds. At that time there was no “wellness” money or other benefits being spread around the community.

Since then the Nuclear Industry decided they needed an organization dedicated specifically to convincing people and communities that a place to dump their radioactive waste would be a good fit for this part of the country and we would prosper. They then created the Nuclear Waste Management Organization(NWMO). The mandate of the NWMO is to take over where the Nuclear industry’s(AECL) efforts failed in finding a place to dump their waste. The NWMO is an affiliation of the nuclear industry specifically in a public relations role. The NWMO is funded by the nuclear industry.  The tactics and strategy of the NWMO started out as the door to financial prosperity for any community that would become the dumping ground for nuclear waste. Why else would anyone want to take the risk that these toxic wastes pose, other than becoming prosperous? Ignace has received millions of dollars in “wellness money” from the NWMO and so has the Wabigoon First Nations. There is nothing else to gain, or is there? The main focus of the NWMO has been doling out money to these communities and still is, but the focus in the NWMO has changed in their public relations advertising. It has become somewhat “bizarre” to say the least. Examples of this is their very expensive and glossy messaging placed in regional news outlets across the NW of Ontario. Other than the prosperity touted by the NWMO they state Ignace will become a famous world wide tourist attraction because of the dump? Really? I can just imagine people lining up to get to the dump! Possibly something like tourists who come to see the bears at the dumps. On another subtler note, in January of 2022 the NWMO advertised for a NWMO Youth Worker within the Seine River First Nations. In reading the ad it talks about gathering the youth of the community to talk about issues. It also mentions setting up meetings with the elders, organizing a recreation night and a camping trip are also part of the agenda. There would also be meetings with the NWMO. Part of the duties would be knowledge of making cheque requisitions. Last but not least a condition of the job was signing an oath of confidentiality with the NWMO. All of these requirements sound like some type of a job for a social worker who would look after people’s mental well being in Seine River First Nations. Nowhere does the ad mention nuclear waste or a dump for the toxic waste. Why else would NWMO be in the Seine River First Nations?

Last but not least is the latest large glossy ad with Joanne Jacyk the NWMO manager of their environmental plan. The ad shows Joanne in a rubber raft on a lake somewhere sifting water from the lake through her fingers stating; MY work – My life and she listens to and learns from the water to find ways to protect it. If the water could talk I think it would say don’t dump your toxic waste here!! How ridiculous can the NWMO be and how gullible do they think the people of NW Ontario are? If Joanne Jacyk was serious she would not be working for an organization that creates some of the most toxic poisons known to mankind and telling us she will find a way to protect us for thousands of years to come. Never in the 30 years I worked with MNR protecting our natural resources did it ever enter my mind that burying toxins that could leak into our waterways was a good idea. It flies against all rational thinking and reasoning.

If the NWMO wanted to accomplish its goals and save the public a lot of money they should just come out and state what they are really about. They are “not” a social service, they are”not” an environmental group and they are “not” in the tourist business. They are a group of people who are looking for a place to dump Canada’s most toxic waste, at the expense of those who pay electrical bills. They are here in NW Ontario because nobody else wants the toxic dump. They are here in NW Ontario because of our population density and electoral boundaries. Not a lot of electoral seats to lose in this region. They are here to take advantage of economically depressed communities.

They are “not” here to do us any favours.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

James F. Kimberley
Atikokan Ontario