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Bloc Quebecois, environmentalists wary of proposed nuclear waste disposal plan

Bloc Quebecois, environmentalists wary of proposed nuclear waste disposal plan
From CTV - August 11, 2017

CHALK RIVER, Ont. -- A proposed nuclear waste disposal site on land around Chalk River Laboratories is too close to the Ottawa River, says Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet.

A significant percentage of Quebecers use the river for their drinking water and a leak could be catastrophic, Ouellet told reporters while touring the nuclear facilities in Chalk River, Ont., earlier this week.

"Radioactivity, just like heavy crude oil, does not go away," she said. "You ca not say, 'we have contamination, we are going to clean it up.' It ca not be cleaned."

Chalk River Laboratories, which produces medical and commercial isotopes, is owned by the federal government.

Ottawa subcontracts the management of the site to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a consortium of four engineering and tech companies including SNC-Lavalin and Rolls-Royce.

CNL says it wants to consolidate all the nuclear waste around the site in one location, so it can be monitored, contained and isolated.

Soil around the site, as well as underground water, have been contaminated and CNL says is looking for a way to dispose of the material as well as the waste produced by the laboratory in future.

"The risk of doing nothing is significant because we have structures made of wood that are contaminated along the bank of the Ottawa River and we have plumes of contaminated underground water close to the river," said Kurt Kehler of CNL.

"The goal is to put all the material in a closed area."

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