A former Winnipeg city councillor is calling on Premier Greg Selinger to oppose potential plans to haul radioactive waste through Manitoba en route to Creighton.
Donovan Carter recently told the Winnipeg Sun he believes Creighton will be chosen as the storage site for Canada’s nuclear waste.
That’s of grave concern for Carter, an anti-nuclear activist who is not convinced the material can be safely moved through Manitoba or other jurisdictions.
In November, Carter wrote an open letter asking Selinger to state his opinion on the possibility of the waste being hauled through Manitoba and stored near Creighton.
In response, the Manitoba government told The Reminder that it looks “forward to working cooperatively with the federal government and regulating bodies to ensure safe transportation route through our province.”
Carter told the Sun that this response worries him, as he wants the province to try and dissuade federal regulators from allowing the waste into Manitoba.
As it stands, the movement of nuclear waste is a federal matter, meaning no provincial or municipal government can legally prohibit the material from passing through their jurisdictions.
But Carter, who served on Winnipeg city council from 1988 to 1992, isn’t willing to accept that as the end of the story.
In the 1980s, Carter joined other activists who ultimately convinced the provincial government to ban the storage of non-Manitoba nuclear waste within provincial borders.
Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), tasked with finding a site to store Canada’s spent nuclear fuel rods, stresses that safety will be paramount in the transfer of the material.
At a public meeting in November, NWMO engineer Chris Hatton said the movement of the waste will be governed by international regulations.
Hatton said that in the decades such material has been transported on earth, not once has an accident resulted in a breached container.
An individual would receive a higher dose of radiation from eating a banana, he said, than from a nuclear waste transport truck going past his or her door each day.
Hatton said movement of spent fuel rods in Canada will begin in 2035 at the earliest, so there is ample time to ensure an adequate transportation system.
Creighton is one of 13 Canadian communities learning about the long-term possibility of storing nuclear waste.