Late last week, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, Gary Lunn, announced his Government’s support of a scheme -stalled over the last few years – that would effectively bury nuclear waste in underground storage facilities.

In a move criticized by environmental campaigners – such as Greenpeace Canada – the Government of Canada has accepted the approach recommended by Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) for managing used nuclear fuel in Canada.

“Good governance depends on responsible decisions, and we are taking steps toward a safe and long-term plan for nuclear power in Canada for future generations,” said the Canadian minister who is seen as a vocal and strong proponent of nuclear power.

The new plan has unsurprisingly met some opposition from environmentalists, who point out the potential dangers of waste and byproducts, which may create harmful effects for hundreds of thousands of years.

They say that rather than the government re- investing in nuclear, that it would be better to invest money into alternative energy sources including solar, wind, and biofuels.

Minister Lunn, however, insists that this is a safe approach for the long-term, saying that nuclear power is a clean energy source that emits virtually no greenhouse gases.

“[What we our proposing] is also designed to take advantage of emerging energy technology, including the possibility of recycling the fuel,” said Minister Lunn.

Similar plans in the US for an underground storage in Nevada have been delayed and stalled – even with support from the Bush administration and Congress.

Globally, the nuclear industry continues to struggle with criticism that it produces a waste stream that will remain dangerous for thousands of years, and will not provide adequate means of storing it.

No details of proposed locations were announced.

Dana Gornitzki

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