UOI OFFICES, NIPISSING FN, Jan. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says that First Nations in the Anishinabek Nation Territory have been opposed to nuclear waste storage sites since 2004.
"We always hear non-Native communities saying they don't want certain projects or developments in their backyard. Well, First Nations don't want nuclear waste in our backyard," says Madahbee. "Representatives from Chiefs in Ontario have been attending information sessions held by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and this is not the proper consultation we are entitled to."
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands and territories of Indigenous Peoples without free and prior consent.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is federally mandated to assume responsibility for the long-term management of Canada's used nuclear fuel. A Deep Geological Repository Program is seeking long-term storage for Canada's growing amount of high-level spent nuclear fuel bundles.
Since the Nuclear Industry started using nuclear reactors to produce electricity in the early 1970s, they have accumulated about two million spent fuel bundles, a number that could fill six NHL-sized hockey rinks.
Three of the five sites in Northern Ontario involved in NWMO's 10-year selection process - Wawa, Horne Payne and Schreiber - are in Anishinabek Territory. Elliot Lake, Blind River and the Township of North Shore have also expressed interest in becoming storage sites.
Historical uranium mining and processing within Anishinabek Nation Territory has resulted in significant and long-term consequences not only to the environment, but also to the people who live and thrive off the land and waters for their livelihoods.
The Grand Council Chief said there is absolutely no guarantee that the Government, Industry or NWMO can provide assurance that a natural hazard such as an earthquake, volcanic activity, rock fracture, corrosion, ice age or any other naturally- occurring disaster can be avoided - only their unproven scientific theory.
NWMO is offering to provide a Jan. 26-27 all-expenses paid junket for journalists to participate in an "information-sharing" exercise in Toronto and Ottawa, including a tour of the Pickering Nuclear power-generating plant.
Grand Council Chief Madahbee said Anishinabek Nation Resolution 2010-30 declared that our communities were united in their opposition to both export of nuclear waste and deep geological nuclear waste disposal.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.
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