Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination

Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination

Member of the Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan United Conservation Clubs

8735 Maple Grove Road,

Lake, Michigan 48632-9511

Voice and Fax: 989-544-3318

Chapter Organizations: Huron Environmental Activist League Alcona County Environmental Coalition August 31, 2005

Nuclear Waste Management Organization

49 Jackes Avenue First Floor

Toronto Ontario Canada M4T 1E2

Tel .(416) 934-9814

Toll Free 1.866.249.6966 (within Canada)

Fax 416.934.9526 http://www.nwmo.ca/

To Whom This Concerns:

Please enter our statement for the record:

Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination is a non-profit, grassroots group with members mainly throughout Michigan, including but not at all limited to Alpena, communities in the Thumb area, including Bay City, also some of the suburbs of Detroit. Some of these cities are located directly on Lake Huron; others take part or all of their drinking water from Lake Huron as do many communities in Michigan - for example, the cities of Port Huron, Flint, and Detroit.

As there is a massive amount of irradiated fuel that would be stored in a possible centralized site, whether above or below ground, and as some of the possible sites for a centralizedstorage site for high level Canadian nuclear waste (as listed on page 160 of the study guide Choosing a Way Forward,) are Sarnia and the Bruce Peninsula, as well as areas near Lake Ontario - and as a major accident could impact Lakes Huron or Ontario and the adjoining Great Lakes and watersheds for long reaches of time, we believe that Great Lakes inhabitants, including residents of Michigan and other Great Lakes states, and including Native American tribes in these watersheds, (in addition to First Nations that have already been consulted,) should be part of the communication and hearing process that is taking place in Canada on this issue. To my knowledge there has been no such outreach. The International Joint Commission for the Great Lakes and Canada has reiterated over and over how citizens and governments of First Nation/Native Americans, Canada and the United States all share responsibility for the health and well-being of the entire Great Lakes Watershed.

The reason there has been no permanent high-level irradiated fuel/nuclear waste dump in either the U.S. or Canada to this point, is that it is extremely dangerous and lethal waste and will remain so for at least hundreds of thousands of years. No community has been willing to gamble with the health of their residents or the future health of the generations to come. Major accidents have happened with nuclear waste and with radioactive products such as occur with this waste, like plutonium. For example, accidents in the Ural Mountains and in Rocky Flats, Colorado, have rendered parts of those places uninhabitable and dangerous for centuries to humankind. The respective governments remain unable to clean up the most contaminated areas.

Long-lived radionuclides, many of which concentrate or bioaccumulate in the food chain, do not belong either being produced in nuclear power plants or stored nearby any of our precious and unique Sweet Water Seas. Moving these wastes great distances is worse as many more workers and communities are exposed to possible accidents and long-term contamination, as well as exposed to the threats of terrorism. Likewise, when these dangerous, lethal wastes are moved, the communities they pass through lose crucial civil rights as these wastes must be protected against terrorists by armed guards with orders to shoot to kill. First responders and firepersons responding to a spill or explosion with high level waste transport may be contaminated or sickened beyond use themselves. Stopping production of these wastes seems only logical. Fresh and uncontaminated water are extremely rare upon the face of the Earth. Potable water is a treasure that many hundreds of communities do not have.

Actually, a nuclear accident anywhere, whether with “product” or “waste”, is an accident everywhere. The wind, air, sea and land are all connected. There is no island one can conveniently take this lethal waste to, where it cannot eventually escape. We have condemned every generation following us to guarding this waste, and repackaging it when it leaks. And it will leak. Humankind has not made a container that will outlast these wastes. Indeed, the companies that make casks for high level wastes guarantee them for less than 100 years!!

CACC recommends:

Further manufacture of these lethal radioactive wastes should be limited by initiating a phase-out of nuclear power in Canada. This makes sense environmentally, as the lethal wastes generated by nuclear plants pose a critical environmental hazard to the entire Great Lakes Basin. Most of Canada’s nuclear plants lie within the Great Lakes region. It also would be a huge win economically for Canadians, as it is tremendously expensive to store these wastes, and we will hand off this storage bill to all successive generations in the foreseeable future, for a mere 40-60 years of energy. Nuclear energy with its inseparable long-lived lethal wastes seems excessive, extremely selfish and foolish. Will our legacy to future generations be piles of lethal poisons, a devastated watershed, and birth defects and cancers?

The massive subsidies that the Canadian government gives to nuclear power could be far better spent on alternatives that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

We also recommend that all waste management options should be based on surface or near-surface monitored and retrievable storage. Should an accident occur underground, deeprepository makes retrieval/repackaging extremely costly (in dollars and lives), dangerous and maybe impossible. We humans have no firm control over earthquakes, or deep underground water connections. As well, out of sight is out of mind. If we do not see the wastes, we lose awareness of them. As a pledge to future generations, we dare not ever lose awareness or responsibility for containing these lethal wastes. This pledge is expensive in dollars and time. This responsibility and pledge becomes more expensive and less possible the farther beneath the earth one tunnels to store this waste.

We agree that if the Canadian government chooses a centralized waste management option (above or below ground), there will be risks to communities along the transportation route, as well as the potential recipient community, including those within their particular water and windshed.

We recommend that these communities should have veto power and should receive funding from proponents for independent research and community education. We recommend that the government of Canada should ensure that no high-level waste is imported into Canada, thus limiting high risks of both terrorism and environmental devastation/contamination at border crossings and connecting waterways.

We strongly feel any final decision on the concept of high-level nuclear waste management should be given to the Minister of Environment in Canada. Any movement or management of high-level nuclear waste has the potential to affect the environment hugely for centuries. As well, the decision to implement this final concept should be made by a mandatory vote in Parliament - thus responsive, hopefully, to the people of Canada. This decision should also be considered in the light of treaties with First Nation communities and in the light of the Water Quality Agreements made by Canada with other Great Lakes governmental bodies, including U.S., First Nation, and Native American communities.

CACC also firmly believes that the government of Canada should contact all Native American tribes who occupy land adjacent to or within the U.S. border, if such land is within the Great Lakes Watershed, as well as U.S. state and local governments within the Great Lakes Watershed and include the above as possible stakeholders in this most serious undertaking. At the very least, hearings should be held in U.S. states and Native American communities adjoining the Lakes that have potential sited areas. I am aware that there has been outreach to First Nations who have treaty rights with Canada, but there are other Native American tribes that lie within the boundary of the Great Lakes that have not been approached. To my knowledge there has been no concerted effort to let these either these nations or U.S. Great Lakes residents know about the Canadian government’s potential plans.

Please consider our concerns. Please also place us on your mailing list.

Thank you, Kay Cumbow, Secretary

Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination

15184 Dudley Road,

Brown City, MI 48416

kcumbow@greatlakes.net

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