Thursday, September 21, 2023
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CNSC extends deadline for consultations

Two Algonquin nations assessing proposed nuclear waste facility

Zainab Al-Mehdar
Pontiac January 23, 2023
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has granted another extension to the deadline for the exchange of information and consultation on the proposed near-surface disposal site (NSDF) in Deep River, Ontario.
This comes in light of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Kebaowek First Nations submissions of letters to CNSC requesting an extension of time to submit documents and for an oral hearing to present their findings. In their letter, Kebaowek First Nations stated that their reasoning for an oral hearing is due to the fact that this is a big project and conclusion cannot be presented solely in a written submission given the additional work that has been occurring since the Procedural Direction.
They added, “we are a people of oral traditions and storytelling. An oral hearing to present our final submissions for the NSDF would ensure KFN’s meaningful participation in CNSC’s regulatory process. It would show that the CNSC understands and respect KFN’s culture.” On Dec. 20 Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg made its own procedural request echoing the same sentiment.
In a letter dated Dec. 22, the commission granted the extension for filing additional evidence and consultations with the two Indigenous groups to May 1, 2023.
As for the second request to present orally, the letter said: “the Commission will determine the hearing process in January 2023. The Commission’s decision and directions in this respect will be communicated to hearing participants through the registry by January 30, 2023.”
After hearing the news citizen activists expressed their gratitude for the work First Nations have been doing because they too have been advocating against the NSDF.
“We are really grateful to them for being so thorough in their investigation. So far as we know, they’re not finding anything that would make them change their mind that this is a good idea or that they’re willing to support it,” said Lynn Jones of the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area.
“It’s a chance for more sober reflection about whether this is really the way to deal with the federal legacy of radioactive waste scattered around the country,” added Ole Hendrickson, a scientist and researcher with the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area.

Over the past few months, Hendrickson told THE EQUITY he had been invited to speak at a community consultation in Maniwaki and mentioned he was grateful to be there and say a few words.
Through those experiences, he has met many people and has been able to share ideas and learn a lot.
He added that First Nation groups have been doing a lot of thorough work and have been given access to the area to do surveys and although Hendrickson can not speak on what they found he highlighted that it is an area with lots of resources. “Just secondhand, I’ve learned that it’s a very rich area in terms of the wildlife and biological diversity. A fairly special area in the Ottawa Valley.”
In regards to having an oral hearing, Jones shared that she hopes Indigenous peoples get a forum where they can share with the public what they found in their research.
The concern now is what happens after the May 1 deadline for the extended consultation. Jones mentioned that she reached out to the CNSC and they do not have those steps figured out.


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