Concerned Citizens Converge on Legislature to deliver Radioactive Waste and and Anti-Nuclear Petition

Sierra Club of Canada — Prairie Chapter

November 19th 2007

(Edmonton) Concerned citizens from Peace River, Whitecourt and other communities in Northern Alberta converged on Edmonton this morning to deliver leaky radioactive waste barrels to the Alberta Legislature to protest the proposed nuclear reactors slated for their communities, raise awareness about the dirty and dangerous impacts of nuclear energy, and demand Premier Stelmach keep Alberta Nuclear Free. Members of the Peace River Environmental Society and the Grimshaw community loaded up a wagon with fake radioactive waste barrels on November 18th, and took the toxic cargo on the road, stopping along the way in Valleyview, Fox Creek and Whitecourt, as well as High Prairie, Slave Lake and Athabasca, to bring attention to their struggle to stop nuclear reactors from being built in their community before converging for a rally in Edmonton. At the Legislature steps, the crowd of concerned citizens delivered the waste barrels to demonstrate that the impacts of nuclear energy will be in the backyard of all Albertans and that many issues with the dirty and dangerous energy are still unaddressed. The citizens also presented their MLA, Frank Oberle, with a anti-nuclear petition with over 1300 signatures from the Peace River area.

”We want the legislators and the people of Alberta to know that there are more than 1,300 people in the Alberta Peace Country area who oppose construction of a nuclear power plant in our area at this time," said Brenda Brochu, president of the Peace River Environmental Society. "Our members have looked very carefully at the proposal put forward by the Energy Alberta Corporation. We believe that such a development could destroy other industries and activities already established in the area. It could also cause irreparable harm to human health and the health of all other species." Trudi Keillor, co- chair of Citizens Against Nuclear Development, comprised mainly of landowners living near the proposed site in Grimshaw, agrees. "We did not ask for and do not want a nuclear facility in the North Peace area, in Alberta or in Western Canada," she said. "The nuclear industry is not environmentally friendly, period. In reality, we are simply exchanging one environmental problem for another. Nuclear reactors leave behind an incredibly toxic legacy with long-term consequences on human health and the environment".

Since Energy Alberta announced its plan to build a nuclear reactor outside of Grimshaw, public opposition to the project has been growing, with many residents in the region, as well as throughout Alberta, feeling concerned over issues of nuclear waste, damage to water sources and aquifers, and the health and safety of their families and those in their community. In Whitecourt, local politicians continue to ignore the concerns of their constituents and push for the nuclear industry to set up in their area. Concerned citizen groups in Peace River and Whitecourt have been working hard to educate their communities and elected officials about the true impacts of nuclear energy - from the lack of a safe long term nuclear waste disposal method, to mounting concerns over the long term health impacts of radiaction, to the ecologically destructive impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle. Shannon Kusch, spokesperson for the Whitecourt Tipping Point Project, points out that with increasing education, there has been increasing opposition to nuclear energy. "It is very encouraging to see that as fellow Albertans learn the dirty truth behind the nuclear industry, they are saying "NO WAY NUCLEAR." However, its reprehensible that the education about the true dangers of the nuclear industry has to be initiated and funded by concerned citizens' pocketbooks rather than by the councils and politicians who have so openly invited this toxic nuclear industry to their dinner tables."

Environmental organizations continue to push the Alberta government to come out against nuclear energy in Alberta. “Premier Stelmach and his government have been silent on this issue, and local elected officials have been ignoring the concerns and demands of their constituents. Opposition is strong and rising from across this province to nuclear energy, and the people of Alberta will not be fooled by propaganda and slick marketing from the nuclear industry", said Leila Darwish, Associate Director of the Sierra Club of Canada Prairie Chapter. "From the destructive impacts of mining and the toxic legacy and lack of a safe plan for managing nuclear waste, to the growing concern over health impacts from low level radiation and potential accidents, our government needs to realize that there are safe and clean energy solutions out there, from energy conservation to renewable energy, that do not leave a toxic legacy for Alberta's future generations or put local communities at risk."


Contact Info: Leila Darwish
Associate Director, Sierra Club of Canada, Prairie Chapter
Ph: (780) 439-1160