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Concerned for our community

March 2, 2021

To the Editor:

In the past year, most people have become aware of the proposed Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for used nuclear fuel in South Bruce. 

It has yet to be determined if South Bruce is a viable site at all, in terms of willingness and technical soundness. What has been determined, without a doubt, is the varying opinions this project has brought from community members.

Some people are absolutely in favour as long as the borehole-drilling results show that we have the suitable geology. Some are unwaveringly opposed and feel they have learned enough. We see the yellow signs, we've read the pamphlets in our mailboxes and the letters submitted to the newspapers.  

And then, there are the rest of us - the Undecided. Many are silent. Truth be told, many are hesitant to speak up and admit that they are not ready to make a decision yet. You see, there is far more happening behind the scenes than many realize. 

I, personally, really did not put much thought into the DGR when it was initially brought to my attention. The whole concept was rather foreign to me and my knowledge regarding anything nuclear was lacking, at best. I joined a couple of groups on Facebook and would randomly glance over certain posts but again, many of the graphs, pictures and nuclear terms used, went above my head and I, simply, just assumed I would never understand, so why bother?

I was driving one day and I saw a yellow sign that said, "No Nuke Dump;” then, another one that said, "Welcome To Nukewater," right across from the “Welcome To Teeswater” sign. Another said, "Teeswater, A Place To Glow." I found them to be upsetting and, to be honest, a tad scary. Why put such an awful message out there about our home and is there any truth behind them? I decided that perhaps I should take the time to educate myself. 

As I started to talk to people about the project, I began to hear some pretty unsettling things: people trying to have others fired from their jobs, threats being made to discontinue supporting local businesses if they do not oppose the DGR, false information and rumours spread in attempts to ruin local businesses and residents’ reputations. 

These are but a few examples of what some locals have had to deal with. It also paints a pretty clear picture as to why so many choose to remain silent and fear speaking up. When you add in the misinformation spread around (councillors being bribed to promote the project, liquid waste being spread onto farm fields, barrels being tossed into an open pit, comparisons to Chernobyl and Fukushima, etc.), it is easy to see why many are fearful of this project.

Our community members should not have to fear being accused of being willing to jeopardize their health and that of those they love for "bribes." We should not have to be afraid to say we want to learn more before making an educated decision. We should not have to be worried about being verbally assaulted when helping out in the community for perhaps having a difference in opinion.   

I truly encourage everyone to take the time to learn more about the DGR project. Trust me, if I am able to have a better understanding of something that once was a foreign language to me, then anyone can.   

Before I took the time, I never really gave any thought about how or where our nuclear waste is being stored now. While the companies have done a great job with the safety measures taken, I realize that this storage was never implemented with the intention of it being permanent.

As South Bruce residents, it is of great importance we take the time to properly educate ourselves on all aspects regarding the DGR. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly and most certainly should not be rushed. 

Look at how our municipal council and Community Liaison Committee have been disrespected and insulted for all to see by the group, Protect Our Waterways, because they have refused to be bullied into agreeing to the group’s demands. Please keep in mind that our council members and their families drink the same water as those from Protect Our Waterways. Why would they ever make a decision if they thought it could ever potentially "poison" their own water?   

Recently, there has been a little more "push back" from the community members who have had enough of the misleading, fear-mongering, false information being spread, and the bully tactics that have been used. It was quite upsetting to hear that our school principals have been the targets for attack for allowing the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to speak to our children in our schools. As a mother of a child who took part in this discussion, I am quite thrilled that our principals recognize our kids are going to be greatly more impacted than we will be by the DGR.  

A recent letter submitted called it "grooming their young minds." This individual stated that the NWMO has resorted to propagandizing impressionable young minds. Our children have big yellow signs thrown in their faces, instilling fear into them, saying the NWMO wants to "poison" their water. They see the signs telling the NWMO to Get Out and that the organization isn’t welcome.

The DGR is a topic among many households and adults in the community. Why would our children not deserve the respect to be informed and educated on something that is affecting their community and may potentially be a huge impact on their future?

Please, don’t be persuaded to make a decision based on fear-mongering, misleading information and in some cases, flat out lies. There are many people in the community willing to help clarify information, dispel rumours and ensure residents are being told the truth. Ask around, and you will be directed to individuals who are willing to take the time to help everyone understand the risks and the benefits this project has to offer.

We are a community of family, friends, neighbours and co-workers. We all know individuals with experience in the nuclear industry. We should be asking them for their opinion, rather than painting them as biased and unreliable. None of the nuclear workers I know, personally, is naïve to the risks of nuclear, but they also don’t have deeply-rooted fears of those highly unlikely risks.

For, Against or Undecided .... our community would be much stronger if we all could remember one simple word - Respect.

Lindsay Gray

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