December 3, 1998
GOODALE ANNOUNCES GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PANEL ON NUCLEAR FUEL
Ottawa - The federal government will ensure producers and owners of
nuclear fuel waste take responsibility for safely and properly managing
their waste in the long term and that they meet this responsibility.
Ralph Goodale, Minister for natural Resources Canada, today outlined the
steps the government will take in response to recommendations of the
Nuclear Fuel Waste Management and Disposal Concept Environmental
Assessment Panel, also known as the Seaborn Panel. The Panel, which
reported to the government in March, after almost ten years, found the
nuclear fuel waste disposal concept developed by Atomic Energy of Canada
Limited (AECL) to be technically safe but that it did not have broad
"There will be no concessions made on the issues of safety and
transparency," said Minister Goodale. "Clearly, Canadians want nuclear
fuel waste to be handled in a safe and environmentally sound manner by
an organization they can trust. The federal government will take steps
to see that this happens."
One of the Panel's recommendations was the creation of a waste
organization to manage and coordinate all activities dealing with
nuclear fuel waste in the long term. The Panel also recommended that
the organization be subject to regulatory control, policy direction from
the federal government, and regular public review.
Minister Goodale also made it clear that the Government of Canada
expects that the producers and owners of nuclear fuel waste, in
particular Ontario Hydro, Hydro-Quebec, and New brunswick Power, will
establish and fully fund a waste management organization. The
organization should be a separate legal entity which operates at arm's
length from both the nuclear utilities and AECL.
The federal government has set out three fundamental policy objectives
for long term nuclear fuel waste management in Canada:
"We are determined to see that these three fundamental objectives are
met," said Minister Goodale. "We will be consulting all stakeholders
and interested parties, including Aboriginal people, to help identify
options, including legislative options, on how best to proceed. I will
return to Cabinet with the preferred option within 12 months."
- a dedicated fund for nuclear fuel waste be established by the
producers and owners.
- the waste management organization must report regularly to the federal
government on the process of waste management activities; and
- a federal review and approval mechanism must be established to provide
oversight and access to funds.
The Atomic Energy Control Board, Canada's independent nuclear regulator,
will make certain that health, safety, security and protection of the
environment will not be compromised.
Minister Goodale indicated that further development of the concept
should be undertaken at the Underground Research laboratory at Lac du
Bonnet in Manitoba. Taking steps to resolve the nuclear fuel waste
issue would further support nuclear energy, and particularly the CANDU
option, as a sustainable supply option for electricity.
For more information contact:
Natural Resources Canada