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Proposed nuclear waste dump located on Indigenous territory, Saskatchewan, Canada

A proposed nuclear waste dump on traditional Indigenous lands was successfully stopped due to collective efforts in mobilising against the project.


The federal Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) in Canada is trying to find a site in the Saskatchewan province which they can use for nuclear storage waste produced throughout the country [1]. NWMO have three proposed sites they are evaluating, including Pinehouse, The English River First Nation and the township of Creighton [1]. However, local communities have express a lack of communication from the NWMO regarding the details of a proposed nuclear waste facility in their territories [1]. Although Saskatchewan has the largest reserves of uranium in the world it has never been involved in the storage of nuclear waste before, only uranium mining practices [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Proposed nuclear waste dump located on Indigenous territory, Saskatchewan, Canada
State or province:Saskatchewan
Location of conflict:Athabasca Basin
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Uranium extraction
Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Uranium
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2007, the federal government of Canada decided to find a suitable site for a used nuclear fuel repository, which was proposed to house all of Canada's nuclear waste. The dump would last around 100 years with a multi million dollar investment [1].

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Level of Investment:16,000,000,000.00 to $24,000,000,000.00
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:4,101
Start of the conflict:27/07/2011
End of the conflict:2016
Company names or state enterprises:Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) from Canada - Proposing a nuclear underground fuel storage dump in Saskatchewan.
Relevant government actors:Uranium Development Partnership.
Federal Government.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The Committee for Future Generations :
Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan:
Council of Canadians:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Dene, Cree & Metis people.; University of Regina.
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although the project was stopped in Saskatchewan, the NWMO is still seeking out a site for the nuclear storage unit, and therefore could present some of the same concerns that were presented in this case.
Sources & Materials

[6] Not in our backyard; northern Saskatchewan residents protest nuclear waste dump. (Global News, Jennifer Graham, 16th August 2011).
[click to view]

[7] An interview with northern Saskatchewan residents resisting a nuclear waste dump on their land (Briarpatch, Don Kossick & Briarpatch Staff, 1st January 2012).
[click to view]

[2] Sacred land, unholy uranium: Canada's mining industry in conflict with First Nations Committee for Future Generations, (30th March 2016).
[click to view]

[1] Northern Sask. residents protest nuclear waste dump (The Canadian Press August 17, 2011).
[click to view]

[3] First Nations communities' struggle against uranium mining in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada

(Committee for Future Generations 22 September 2018).
[click to view]

[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Last update14/09/2021
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