We the Nuclear Free North
The scene is serene, beautiful and clean. But all this is at risk of eons of contamination. Our voices, together, can prevent this.
Plans are being made and studies conducted into burying highly radioactive nuclear fuel waste in the heart of Northwestern Ontario – on Treaty 3 lands – in “Sunset Country”. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has revised the siting decision date to 2024.
Our alliance is honoured to have received the name Tataganobin: looking far ahead into the future. Learn about who we are, and the origin and meaning of this name, which may be used by all people working together to protect Aki (Mother Earth).
Who we are
We the Nuclear Free North is an alliance of people and groups opposed to transporting and then burying all of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste in Northwestern Ontario. Read more.
Canada’s nuclear industry makes up the members of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). The NWMO is studying the possibility of burying all of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste in one of two Ontario locations. One potential location is an area 40 km west of Ignace. If the plan goes through, an estimated 100,000 tonnes of highly radioactive nuclear fuel waste would be shipped to the selected site, repackaged and buried. Learn more about the nuclear waste abandonment issue.
Our primary concerns
- The issue of informed consent, or “willingness”.
How is consent to be defined? What level of consent is needed? Who should be consulted?
- Lack of scientific evidence for safety of burial.
The stakes are high – can we experiment? A mistake could contaminate our waterways for hundreds of thousands of years.
- Dangers of transportation and repackaging.
Dangerous waste will be transported up to 2,517 km, and the highly radioactive and hazardous material unpacked and repackaged on-site.
We believe that responsible stewardship of these wastes close to the sites of their production is the best management alternative.
How am I at risk?
Those along the transport routes are at risk from both incidental gamma ray exposure and consequences of container breach from collisions
Radioactive fuel waste will be repackaged on-site, an enormously risky procedure that could release radioactive material on the surface, where it could move into local waterways
Radioactive fuel waste will be buried in the bedrock (for the first time in the world) – if containment fails, radioactive material could be released into NW Ontario watersheds, eventually reaching Lake Winnipeg and Hudson Bay
Read more: Nuclear Waste and Health
Local residents are concerned
“The whole thing will fail. It might take a thousand years, but it will fail. No matter what kind of a container, no matter how solid that container you put into the ground, sooner or later it will rot and it will break – and whatever is in it will spread.”
Elder Roy Ignace
Resident of Ignace, Ontario
- The NWMO is not an public agency – it is a group of nuclear power companies
- There are no operational deep geological repositories (DGRs) for nuclear fuel waste anywhere in the world
- The highly radioactive wastes will be transported by truck or rail for thousands of kilometres
- There is no safe level of exposure to radiation
- Certain radioactive components of nuclear waste are water soluble
Recent videos exploring the nuclear fuel waste issue
Kenora Nuclear Waste Educational Forum
October 2022 – Chief Jeff Copenace (Sabaskong F.N.) and other presenters and participants from NW Ontario described concerns about the proposed DGR west of Ignace.
Rodney Brown sings “Freight Train Derailed”
November 2022 – Rodney Brown has revised his song “Freight Train Derailed”, in light of today’s nuclear waste issue in NW Ontario.
“Ask the People How They Feel” by The Wonderful Core Band
Winter 2021 – the Wonderful Core Band protests transportation of nuclear fuel waste to NW Ontario.
Siting of the Proposed Repository
Spring 2022 – NW Ontario resident Paul Filteau questions the numerous land tracts withdrawn from mineral claims, describes watersheds that would be at risk, and probes the social justice of the NWMO’s activities.
Willingness and Consent
Spring 2022 – NW Ontario resident Wendy O’Connor questions the assessment of community consent for the proposed repository, contending that the process is not adequately inclusive of all groups affected.
“The Span of Half-Lives” music video
November 2022 – This video by We the Nuclear Free North member Wendy O’Connor protests the proposed deep geological repository in NW Ontario.
Deputation to Thunder Bay Council
September 2022 – WTNFN and Environment North member Dodie LeGassick made a deputation to the City of Thunder Bay Council on the dangers of nuclear fuel waste transportation.
History of Local Nuclear Waste Opposition
Spring 2022 – NW Ontario resident Peter Lang recounts the history of the nuclear waste issue in the Thunder Bay area.
Concerns with Living on the Transportation Route
Spring 2022 – NW Ontario resident Pauline Hyatt expresses her concerns about the proposed transportation of highly radioactive nuclear fuel waste past her home near Thunder Bay.