1. Waterkeeper would like to express its disappointment that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (hereafter, "the CNSC") turned down our request for a one business-day extension to the public comment period. We feel that the additional day would have provided us with the opportunity to be of greater assistance to the CNSC during this environmental assessment process.
2. Waterkeeper respectfully disagrees with the suggestion made by Ms. Heather Jarrett on June 23, 2005 that this public comment period has been ?considerably longer? than the usual 30-day comment period. The document was officially released for public comment on May 11, 2005 (per CNSC web site).
3. Waterkeeper respectfully disagrees with the CNSC's position that extending the public comment period would ?not be wise.?
4. Furthermore, Waterkeeper would like the record to reflect our concerns that the CNSC would imply that a project of this magnitude does not warrant a one-day extension to facilitate public input.
Scope of the project
5. The Cameco proposal can best be described as the intent to make, move, burn, and bury enriched uranium fuel in Ontario.
6. Despite the magnitude of the project, every stage of this proposal is being subjected to separate environmental assessments. Each individual environmental assessment ? all screening level assessments bears little resemblance to the principals of natural justice.
7. Waterkeeper submits that the public deserves a fair, transparent, thorough, and sober examination of the proposal. Our position is consistent with the CNSC's January 8th, 2004 CNSC decision on Cameco's SEU blending proposal. In that decision, the CNSC felt that the transport, manufacture, handling, and long-term disposal of SEU ought not to be scoped components of the Cameco SEU blending project because the subsequent facilities for the fabrication and use of SEU fuels may vary depending upon market conditions and thus [could] only be considered on a generic or non-site specific basis.
8. In response to intervener requests to expand the definition of the regional study area for the Cameco SEU project to include transportation routes and reactor sites, the CNSC decided that without being able to identify a specific reactor and the corresponding transportation route, assessment would be theoretical, conceptual, and generic only, and sufficiently addressed as an incremental effect through the scope of the assessment.
9. Now, all facts are known and the conditions of the January 8th decision are satisfied. With the Bruce A and B reactors identified, the SEU project is no longer theoretical. It is now known where SEU will be produced, by what routes it will be transported, who will be using it, and where it will be disposed. Accordingly, it is now necessary to scope the project as the use of SEU Ontario throughout Ontario.
The Review Panel
17. Waterkeeper requests that the CNSC rule in favour of referring the use of SEU and all activities performed in connection to the use of SEU throughout Ontario to the Minister of the Environment for a review panel because there is public concern.
18. The Responsible Authority's Guide has identified what sorts of events qualify as 'public concern' within the meaning of the CEAA. It indicates that public concerns can be expressed in many ways, including:
a. correspondence and telephone calls to the Minister, local MPs, the Agency, or the department;
b. media coverage of public concerns;
c. community events, such as demonstrations or meetings about the project;
d. formal interventions, and
e. informal communication.
19. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has filed affidavit evidence in support of its position that there exists significant public concern about SEU. Evidence in support of public concern is as follows:
20. At least 8 different federal or provincial Ministers and MP's have been contacted by at least 4 different citizen's groups in regards to their concerns about SEU use in Ontario.
21. At least 27 presentations have been made to at least 3 different Town Councils by 4 different citizen's groups in regards to their concerns about SEU use in Ontario.
22. More than 30 informal communications have been delivered to Town Councils in regards to citizens? concerns about SEU use in Ontario.
23. Close to 300 media articles about SEU in local and regional newspapers throughout Ontario.
24. There have been at least 75 informal meetings and/or public events hosted by citizen groups throughout the province in regards to their concerns about SEU use in Ontario. Attendance at these meetings ranged from 3 to 300 people.
25. There have been at least 34 formal written or oral submissions made to the CNSC by concerned citizens in regards to SEU use.
26. There have been more than 50 informal communications to the CNSC by concerned citizens in regards to SEU.
27. At least 7 formal requests have been made to federal and provincial Environment Ministers, MP's and to the CNSC by citizens' groups for a review panel on SEU use throughout Ontario.
28. At least 431 individual citizens directly affected by the use of SEU in Ontario have declared that they believe that a review panel on SEU is necessary.
29. On the basis of the affidavit evidence, the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper submits that there is sufficient public concern as defined within the Responsible Authority's Guide to warrant a reference to the Minister of the Environment by the CNSC.
30. Waterkeeper understands that these arguments are familiar to the CNSC. As one Cameco Corporation spokesperson recently stated, 'They [citizens] don't provide new information.' (Northumberland Today, June 21, 2005).
31. Waterkeeper argues that it is time for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Cameco Corporation to finally hear the desperation behind the public's consistent pleas for an informed decision-making process.
32. The environmental impacts of generations of nuclear industry operations in the town of Port Hope are real. They have been severe. As the draft report indicates, air, water, and soil are all contaminated. The community of Port Hope deserves a fair interpretation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in order to provide the public with the best protection that Canadian environmental laws offer.
33. In keeping with the principles of natural justice, the purposes of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, CEAA-related policies of the Government of Canada, and the general public interest, Waterkeeper submits that the SEU proposal must be referred to a review panel.