Representatives of a coalition of NB and Maritime environmental and health organizations concerned about the risks of Canada’s continuing reliance on nuclear energy will attend Thursday’s “CNSC 101” session in Saint John to let Canada’s nuclear regulator know that many Maritimers do not think the CNSC is doing an adequate job of protecting Canadians and Canadian communities from the risks of accidents at nuclear power plants including Pt. Lepreau.
“For all practical purposes the CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) is an integral part of the nuclear industry it is supposed to regulate. We need a more independent organization to oversee Canada’s nuclear activities. Canada needs to learn from what has happened in Japan and apply these lessons here. Our country should join the growing international consensus that nuclear power is inherently unsafe, unstable and unsustainable. In Canada, as in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and other countries, nuclear power should be phased out as quickly as possible. Our communities should not have to face the risks that have destroyed the hopes and dreams of so many families and communities in the region around Fukushima in Japan”, says Romey Heuff of St. George, who chairs the recently formed Lepreau Decommissioning Coalition (LDC).
Heuff adds that “CNSC almost never comes to New Brunswick. It makes most of its decisions about Pt. Lepreau from its offices in Ottawa. That’s why we’ve got to insist that CNSC’s brief time in Saint John this coming Thursday be focused on CNSC’s responses to the questions New Brunswickers and other Maritimers are asking about the risks of nuclear power. We’ll be raising these questions at the ‘CNSC 101’ session this week. CNSC needs to answer Maritimers’ questions, not just tell us about their agency’s procedures and how these are supposed to protect us.”
“CNSC 101”, a public explanation by the nuclear regulator of the procedures which it says “protect the health, safety, security and environment” of Canadians from the risks posed by nuclear power plants, will take place this Thursday, June 23, 2011 at the Saint John Hilton hotel at 1 Market Square in Saint John from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
LDC co-chair Larry Lack of St. Andrews says the group will ask the CNSC questions about “why they are not requiring the same safety standards for the refurbished Pt. Lepreau that would be required for new reactors, why they are allowing steam pipes that could be damaged by an accident to run directly over the plant’s control room, whether they are supervising the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s efforts to store nuclear waste in NB and the other provinces that have nuclear power plants, and other matters of urgent concern to people and communities in the region that could be affected by a serious accident at Pt. Lepreau.”
The Lepreau Decommissioning Coalition includes the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada, Greenpeace Canada, ECOPEI, the Passamaquoddy First Nation, the International Institute of Concern about Public Health, Fundy Baykeeper and the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.