City Hall committee on March 30: Motion to oppose radioactive waste mound at Chalk River

An important motion will be considered at the next meeting of the City Council’s environment committee on March 30 asking the city to oppose the creation of a 1 million cubic metre radioactive waste landfill at Chalk River. 

The Glebe, Lowertown, New Edinburgh and Hintonburg community associations have endorsed this motion. But we could really use help to persuade the councillors who are on the fence.

The motion was tabled by Theresa Kavanagh, seconded by Catherine McKenney. We hope it will be supported at the environment committee by Shawn Menard and Rawlson King.  You could really help by contacting your councillor – especially if they are one of the following on the Environment Committee: 

R. Brockington (Ward 16 River) email

J. Cloutier (Ward 18 Alta Vista) email

G. Darouze (Ward 20 Osgoode) email George

K. Egli (Ward 9 Knoxdale-Merivale) email

A. Hubley (Ward 23 Kanata South) email

S. Moffatt (Ward 21 Rideau-Goulbourn) email

Please consider contacting them by March 29.    If the motion doesn’t pass the environment committee, it will go no further.

Note that both Keith Egli and Riley Brockington answered a 2018 pre-election survey by Ecology Ottawa by saying that they would oppose the Chalk River nuclear waste facility.  So in their case, it’s a matter of holding them to their campaign promises.  Other City Councillors who promised in that survey to oppose the radioactive waste mound were: Matthew Luloff; Laura Dudas; Jenna Sudds; Glen Gower; Jeff Leiper (he supports the Kavanagh motion); Mathieu Fleury and Carol Anne Meehan (both support the motion).

You can make a presentation (5 minutes max) at the Environment Committee, or watch it on Youtube. The details are in Annex A of the attached Agenda. To register to make a presentation, email the committee coordinator whose email is at the top of the Agenda.

You can also share this overview of the Chalk River radioactive landfill on social media:  


The Chalk River site is a federally owned nuclear research campus next to the Ottawa River, and the radioactive waste plan has been developed by a consortium of SNC-Lavalin and two US corporations contracted by the federal government.

While approving the plan falls under federal jurisdiction, over 140 municipalities (including Gatineau and Montréal), have passed motions opposing the waste plans. The municipalities certainly have a responsibility and concern for clean drinking water and the Ottawa River.   

Here are a few key points:

• The proposed facility for permanent nuclear waste disposal at Chalk River will discharge effluent (with very high levels of tritium) via Perch Creek into the Ottawa River, the City of Ottawa’s primary source of drinking water.
• The majority of these toxic wastes will be radioactive for thousands and even millions of years, and some will be radioactive enough to require lead shielding.  Disposing of them above ground does not meet international standards. Nor does entombing an old reactor in cement and grout (at Rolphton ON, a few kms upstream of Chalk River).
• These plans are opposed by First Nations, including Anishinabek Nations in both Ontario and Quebec.
* Fifteen former AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) officials and scientists have criticized the plans, and over 140 municipalities, including Gatineau and Montreal, have passed motions opposing them.

• The City of Ottawa should be proactive and anticipate issues that could affect our access to clean drinking water, as well as water for sanitation and fire services. We should consider the potential costs, systems and training needed in the event of a major spill. Now is the time to act before final decisions are made.
• If done poorly, the resulting problems could be irreversible and harm many future generations. There are better solutions for responsible waste management that could create many good jobs, avoid health risks to millions, while protecting our water.

Attached is the motion that has been tabled by Ottawa City Councillors Kavanagh and McKenney. Please let me know if I can answer any questions or if you have any suggestions.

Janet Graham

Council of Canadians – Ottawa Chapter