Port Elgin Man Wants Inquiry Into Canada’s Nuclear Regulators

A midwestern Ontario man is calling on the Prime Minister to convene a Public and Judicial Inquiry after an anonymous letter questioned the integrity of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

Port Elgin Lawyer John Mann says a thorough and independent investigation is needed after an anonymous letter from CNSC staff alleged CNSC management withheld critical information during nuclear operator license hearings.

Mann says we need a meaningful probe which must culminate in a public and judicial inquiry.

Mann claims that the CNSC was the leading cheerleader for the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) nuclear waste burial project throughout the public hearings, and adds the system is rigged in favour of the application.

He says the application for the Deep Geologic Respository (DGR) should be dismissed in favour of a new process with a new Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that will act as an independent watchdog.

John Mann says billions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted in the search for a host site to bury high level nuclear waste, while there was no search for an alternative site for the Kincardine DGR.

He says the Environment Minister should wait for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to study alternative sites to bury spent nuclear fuel before deciding on the fate of the planned burial site in Kincardine for low and medium level nuclear waste.

The Environment Minister has delayed a decision on the DGR at Bruce Power until OPG looks at alternative sites.

Mann also questions why it’s safe to bury nuclear waste in Kincardine, while Saugeen Shores was deemed unsuitable to bury spent nuclear fuel.

He says we should be spending the money on investigating ways to reuse the energy left in nuclear fuel for more power.

Mann says we all benefit from nuclear power, and perhaps the region should become a centre where world experts could search for a way to re-use spent fuel.

Mann says burying the problem out of site in a Deep Geologic Repository right beside a major drinking water system doesn’t make sense.

He explains, “The OPG DGR was based upon the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico that only lasted 15 years before it fell apart, and it’s still not open.”

Mann wonders why there is a need to spend billions on two separate nuclear waste repositories, when both low level and high level radioactive waste are currently stored together at the Bruce Power Site.

He also suspects that when the time comes, regulators will decide it’s better to bury the spent nuclear fuel in the planned repository for low and medium level waste in Kincardine, rather than trying to transport all of the waste elsewhere.

Mann has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Environment Minister Katherine McKenna, and Premier Kathleen Wynne, along with the presidents of the CNSC, The Nuclear Waste Management organization, and Ontario Power Generation.

Here is a copy of John Mann’s Letter:

Subject: A Public and Judicial Inquiry must be convened to investigate the alarming news released yesterday questioning the integrity of the CNSC in its role as Citizen and Taxpayer watchdog.
July 20, 2016

Hi Minister McKenna, Prime Minister Trudeau, Jeffrey Lyash, CEO and President of OPG, Premier Wynne, Ken Nash, President of NWMO, and Michael Binder, CNSC President:

A Public and Judicial Inquiry must be convened to investigate the alarming news released yesterday questioning the integrity of the CNSC in its role as Citizen and Taxpayer watchdog:

1. On July 19, 2016, the news media reported [2 links below] that CNSC staff alarmingly claim that CNSC management withheld critical information during licensing hearings for Bruce Power and Darlington. As a result Minister McKenna must be very concerned about CNSC’s role in the OPG DGR process that is now tainted by these alarming reports questioning the integrity of the CNSC. A thorough, meaningful, and independent investigation must be conducted, culminating in a Public and Judicial Inquiry.

2. The 2 links set forth below raise concerns that the CNSC has become a cheerleader for the nuclear industry instead of a watchdog. This is very concerning to all Citizens and Taxpayers who rely on CNSC as their watchdog over the OPG DGR process. It has been crystal clear throughout this entire process that Michael Binder, the President of the CNSC, has been the leading cheerleader in favour of the DGR. Commencing with CNSC’s participation in the unlawful closed secret DGR meetings conducted by Bruce County Council from 2005 through 2012, and culminating with Michael Binder’s infamous statement [over 7 years ago in 2009 at one of the unlawful closed secret DGR meetings] that he hoped to see all of the mayors of our Bruce County Community at the “ribbon cutting ceremony opening the DGR”! Is this a statement from a concerned watchdog or a supportive cheerleader? And made in secret, outside the hearing of any Citizen and Taxpayer and years before the Public Hearings commenced! Michael Binder apparently wants to assure that his name will be placed on the entryway of the OPG DGR for clothes and rags.

3. Throughout the OPG DGR Public Hearings CNSC was the leading cheerleader in favour of the OPG DGR. In fact the Record reflects that CNSC was more favourable about the OPG DGR than OPG. The Record clearly shows that CNSC never questioned anything about the OPG DGR. At no time did CNSC act as a watchdog on behalf of Citizens and Taxpayers. This is unacceptable.

4. The system is rigged in favour of approval of the OPG DGR Application. OPG and CNSC are good friends. They are twins in a journey of cheerleading for the final approval of the OPG DGR Application. No Citizen and Taxpayer can trust CNSC in light of the Record that has been presented. There is no way a Citizen and Taxpayer can find CNSC to be credible, reliable, and trustworthy, and it is not safe to rely upon CNSC’s oversight of the OPG DGR Application.

5. Similarly, as a result Minister McKenna cannot find CNSC to be credible, reliable, and trustworthy, and Minister McKenna must conclude that it is not safe to rely upon CNSC’s oversight of the OPG DGR Application.

6. A thorough, meaningful, and independent investigation must be conducted, culminating in a Public and Judicial Inquiry. Citizens and Taxpayers require it.

Oh and by the way Minister McKenna, Prime Minister Trudeau, Jeffrey Lyash, Premier Wynne, Ken Nash, and Michael Binder:

I forgot to mention that pursuant to the Constitution of the Joint Review Panel [JRP]:

“3.1. The JRP will consist of three members. Two members will be appointed by [Michael Binder] the President of the [Canadian Nuclear Safety] Commission [CNSC] with the approval of the Minister of the Environment [the Minister that Minister McKenna has recently replaced].”

“3.2. The Minister of the Environment [that Minister McKenna has recently replaced] will propose to [Michael Binder] the President of the Commission [CNSC] a candidate as a third member of the JRP who may also serve as a temporary member of the Commission [CNSC].”

“3.4 . . . . The selected candidate will then be appointed by the Minister of the Environment [Minister McKenna’s predecessor] as a member of the JRP.”

“3.5 The members of the JRP are to be unbiased and free of any conflict of interest in relation to the Project . . . .”

Add this to the alarming email sent yesterday and set forth below wherein the very integrity and trustworthiness of the watchdog CNSC is obliterated by CNSC’s own staff. As a result, the following additional astonishing points are confirmed and have been confirmed throughout the JRP Record presented by Citizens and Taxpayers:

1. Michael Binder, President of CNSC, handpicked all 3 members of the JRP! So much for the CNSC handpicked JRP members being “unbiased and free of any conflict of interest in relation to the Project.” As a result the JRP should have recused itself from the DGR proceedings when requested. There is no way the JRP could be an unbiased, neutral, and independent fact-finder in the process. Stop insulting Citizens and Taxpayers – Dismiss the OPG DGR Application immediately! – particularly in light of the blistering attack in the media on CNSC cheerleading rather than watchdogging!

2. The 3 JRP members are members of CNSC a key witness in the DGR proceedings and CNSC is forever tainted by the media attack this week set forth in the email following this one. Again the

3 JRP members are inexplicably tied to CNSC and not independent that is a cornerstone to the foundation of any neutral tribunal in our Free and Independent Democracy and meaningful Due Process.

3. Minister McKenna’s predecessor as Minister of the Environment appointed the 3rd member of the JRP who was approved by Michael Binder, President of CNSC! So much for Minister of the Environment McKenna being “unbiased and free of any conflict of interest in relation to the Project Review.” There is probably an actual or inferred bias, but at the very least Citizens and Taxpayers are left with an “appearance of bias” or a “reasonable apprehension of bias” related to Minister McKenna’s role as adjudicator reviewing the JRP recommendation to approve the OPG DGR Application! As a result stop insulting Citizens and Taxpayers – Dismiss the OPG DGR Application – or recuse yourself – particularly in light of the blistering attack in the media on CNSC cheerleading rather than watchdogging!

4. Rod Serling could not make this stuff up. Fiction has never been this strange. It is embarrassing and humiliating. Yet none of you care, and there is nothing you will do about it, and there is nothing we Citizens and Taxpayers can do about it! Shameful and despicable.

5. And also don’t forget that the JRP used the same lawyers as CNSC during this DGR process. Conflict of interest come to mind?

6. And also do not forget that the Chairperson of the JRP worked in the [critical] past for one of the key witnesses in the DGR process appearing before the JRP, and she also performed some work for OPG. Bias, appearance of bias, or reasonable apprehension of bias come to mind in a reasonable Citizen and Taxpayer participating in the OPG DGR process?

7. Where have Public Servants gone? Where has Woodward and Bernstein gone? Stop the madness! We are better than this. Our Community deserves it and requires it. The World expects it. We must all step to the plate and stop this embarrassment that gets worse every day more obscene Taxpayer dollar waste is generated on this incompetent, inept, and incomprehensible OPG DGR boondoggle! Dismiss the OPG DGR Application now. Most Respectfully, John Mann, Citizen, Registered Participant, Saugeen Shores