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KEBAOWEK, January 9, 2024 – Despite concerns expressed by First Nations and increased support from over 140 municipalities across Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has granted the license for the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) project at Chalk River. In response, Kebaowek First Nation strongly condemns this decision and calls on the federal government to intervene to stop this environmentally high-risk project.


"The Commission's decision is unacceptable, notably because it goes against the rights of Indigenous peoples and environmental protection. The Canadian government must act promptly and immediately assert the suspension of the project. The Commission's final decision is completely unfounded in concluding  the NSDF project will not cause significant environmental effects. While the decision states that CNL will take appropriate measures to safeguard the environment, the health, safety of individuals, and national security and to comply with national obligations, it is undeniable that the safety and health of people and the environment will be profoundly impacted for generations to come through this project, " reacted Chief Lance Haymond of Kebaowek.


It is worth noting that the NSDF would release radioactive and hazardous materials into a nearby wetland and the Ottawa River during its operation and after its closure. The mound is expected to degrade through a process of "normal evolution". The NSDF could also contaminate the river following earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and other extreme weather events. Not only is the Kichi Sibi sacred to the Algonquin Peoples, but the Chalk River site is also close to the sacred Algonquin sites of Oiseau Rock and Baptism Point.


In 2017, the Assembly of First Nations adopted a resolution stating that the CNSC and the Canadian government had not fulfilled their constitutional obligation to consult and accommodate First Nations regarding the NSDF. The Anishinabek Nation and the Iroquois caucus issued a joint statement on radioactive waste, asserting that "we must protect the land, water, and all living beings for future generations" and calling for no abandonment of radioactive waste, moving it away from major waterways, and eliminating the practice of importing or exporting radioactive waste.


In addition to the opposition of Algonquin First Nations to the project, over 140 municipalities in Quebec and Ontario, including Gatineau and Montreal, as well as several civil society organizations, have expressed their opposition to the NSDF plan. In 2021, the City of Ottawa adopted a resolution expressing its concern.


Kebaowek First Nation, committed to defending the rights of Indigenous peoples and protection of the environment, expresses its eagerness to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to ensure a careful consideration of Indigenous concerns and compliance with the obligations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the context of this project. The First Nation maintains its categorical opposition to the establishment of a permanent NSDF on unceded Anishinabe territory, emphasizing the crucial importance of protecting Indigenous rights, the environment, and cultural heritage. Faced with a lack of trust in the CNSC and its persistent failure to uphold UNDRIP, the First Nation calls on the federal government, including the Ministers of Environment and Natural Resources, to intervene and end the project.


"I want to be very clear: the Algonquin Peoples did not consent to the construction of this radioactive waste dump on our unceded territory. We believe the consultation was inadequate, to say the least, and that our Indigenous rights are threatened by this proposal. We demand the cancellation of the NSDF project. The focus should instead be on a real and successful cleanup of the site to permanently eliminate old radioactive waste," explains Chief Haymond.


For more information and to support Kebaowek First Nation’s efforts, visit:

To obtain the regulator’s decision visit: 



Kebaowek First Nation


For information and interview requests:

Mathilde Robitaille-Lefebvre

Media Relations



Justin Roy


Kebaowek First Nation


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