Nishnawbe Aski Nation – “Nuclear waste is a poison that will damage our homelands”

Date of publication: 
6 January 2012

NANTHUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy is standing firm on the position of a Nuclear Waste Free Zone on all NAN First Nations traditional territories. “We do not support the NWMO nine-step selection process and continue to oppose nuclear waste sites in Northern Ontario,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “We have a mandate from the Creator to protect our lands and waters and have been doing so for thousands of years. Nuclear waste is a poison that will damage our homelands.” Several Northwestern Ontario mayors have already met with officials from the NWMO over the possibility of using their towns for the storage of nuclear waste. While no site has been selected, some of the communities have already conducted feasibility studies over the economic prospects of the initiative.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has initiated a nine-step site selection process in several non-First Nation communities to determine the best places to dispose of nuclear waste.

NAN however disagrees with allowing lands to be used as dumping grounds for nuclear waste. In November 2009, after becoming aware that Canada had been considering deep geological disposal of nuclear waste in the Canadian Shield, NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly unanimously passed a resolution declaring NAN a Nuclear Waste Free Zone and rejecting NWMO’s site selection process.

The Canadian government, through the NWMO developed a site selection process. NAN has reviewed this process and has found it to be in contravention to Article 29 (2) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which states: “shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.”

NAN encourages all communities in northern Ontario to join in declaring their communities Nuclear Waste Free Zones.