Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) members have noted ‘NO’ to a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for low-and-intermediate level nuclear waste at the Bruce nuclear site in Kincardine as proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG).
In a statement from OPG, they say that they respect the decision of the SON community and that OPG will uphold its 2013 commitment not to proceed with the DGR at the Bruce site without SON support.
Following the closing of the vote on January 31st, the results were: 1,058 ‘No’; 170 ‘Yes’ and 4 ‘Spoiled votes’.
OPG will now move forward to develop an alternate solution and explore other options while engaging with key stakeholders to develop an alternate site-selection process. Any new process would again include engagement with Indigenous peoples as well as interested municipalities.
OPG remains focused on waste minimization, including volume reduction, innovations in processing, and recycling where possible.
In a SON media release, it says that the vote marks a historic exercising of “our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and free, prior and informed consent in our Territory. The Communities have voted against the DGR.”
“This vote was a historic milestone and momentous victory for our People. We worked for many years for our right to exercise jurisdiction in our Territory and the free, prior and informed consent of our People to be recognized,” said Chief Lester Anoquot of the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation, “As Anishinaabe, we didn’t ask for this waste to be created and stored in our Territory, but it is here. We have a responsibility to our Mother Earth to protect both her and our Lands and Waters. Today, our People have voted against the DGR; tells us that we must work diligently to find a new solution for the waste.”
“We will continue to work with OPG and others in the nuclear industry on developing new solutions for nuclear waste in our Territory. We know that the waste currently held in above-ground storage at the Bruce site will not go away. SON is committed to developing these solutions with our Communities and ensuring Mother Earth is protected for future generations. We will continue to ensure that our People will lead these processes and decisions,” said Chief Greg Nadjiwon of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
SON will now begin working closely with OPG and others in the nuclear industry to find an acceptable solution for the waste.
This process may take many years.