NWMO Planning A Drilling Program In Ignace Area This Year

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization says it plans to conduct some more extensive testing in the Ignace area this summer.

Ignace is one of nine locations that have been short-listed for a long-term nuclear waste storage site.

Spokesperson Pat Dolcetti says it’s just part of their on-going site selection process.

Dolcetti says prior to the drilling program they will be consulting with area residents and first nation communities to get some feedback about locations being considered for testing.

Posted on February 10, 2017 12:27 PM CKDR FM Dryden at http://www.ckdr.net/news/1412128979/nwmo-planning-drilling-program-ignace-area-year

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Pipeline leaks due to human error an increasing problem, says NEB

Data shows an average of 20 leaks per year over the past three years were the result of improper operation

CBC News | January 29 | Human error — whether it’s burying a pipeline too shallow or not fastening bolts tight enough— is increasingly a factor contributing to pipeline leaks, federal data suggests.

Figures compiled by the National Energy Board show that in the past three years, incorrect operation — which covers everything from failing to follow procedures to using equipment improperly — has caused an average of 20 leaks per year. That’s up from an average of four annually in the previous six years.

“It’s both probably one of the most difficult things for an organization to deal with, but also the most important,” said Mark Fleming, a professor of safety culture at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

Fleming said operators have made improvements in safety practices, but to achieve the higher levels of safety required by other industries such as the airline or nuclear power sectors would require extreme attention to detail.

‘Within the first year or two things fail’

What may seem inconsequential at first can later contribute to a disaster, Fleming said.

“It’s like a ball balancing on the top of a pyramid,” he said.

“Safety, particularly very high levels of safety, requires constant attention and effort. And the tendency is for it to degrade.”

Pipelines installed in the U.S. in the past five years have the highest rate of failure of any built since the 1920s, and human error is partially to blame, said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Washington-based Pipeline Safety Trust.

“A lot of new pipelines being put in the ground just aren’t being installed right, or things don’t get tightened up quite enough, so within the first year or two things fail,” said Weimer.

The consequences of the improper management of pipelines have come to bear in several spills in recent years, resulting in oil coursing down rivers, gushing onto city streets and contaminating many hectares of Canadian wilderness.

Recent examples

Alberta Energy Regulator investigations into Plains Midstream Canada, for one, found that the company hadn’t inspected its pipelines frequently or thoroughly enough, did a poor job of managing the ground around its pipelines and hadn’t properly trained control room staff.

A subsequent audit found the company had improved its safety practices, but not before those failures helped contribute to a 4.5-million litre oil spill in 2011 near Peace River, followed by a 463,000-litre oil leak into the Red Deer River a year later.

In 2015, a Nexen Energy pipeline south of Fort McMurray, Alta. burst, spilling about five million litres of emulsion including about 1.65 million litres of oil near its Long Lake oilsands operation. The AER’s investigation into the incident continues, but Nexen’s preliminary conclusion was that the pipeline design was incompatible with the ground conditions, and wasn’t installed properly.

“There’s been a lot of learnings in our industry that have resulted from some very unfortunate incidents,” said Patrick Smyth, vice-president of safety and engineering at the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.

Financial implications of safety

Smyth said CEPA, which represents pipeline companies like TransCanada and Plains Midstream, have improved their safety practices in recent years.

He points to the fact that CEPA members spilled only about 2,500 litres of oil in 2015, with companies implementing stricter safety practices and using better inspection tools to prevent leaks.

But even as companies make improvements on safety, Fleming said getting pipelines towards the higher safety standards of industries like airlines will likely require significant financial sacrifice.

“To be able to do that, you need to have a very cautious approach to doing work, and that’s something that’s hard financially,” said Fleming. “It does have some cost implications that we are often very uncomfortable talking about.”

By Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press Posted: Jan 29, 2017 10:31 AM MT Last Updated: Jan 29, 2017 10:31 AM
As posted at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/human-error-pipeline-spill-neb-1.3957370

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Nuclear Waste On-Line | February 2017 Webinar Series | Tuesdays @ noon

Nuclear Waste On-Line | 2017 Webinar Series
View this email in your browser
Nuclear Waste On-line is a series of on-line presentations about nuclear waste in Canada.

This fifth annual webinar series uses on-line meetings to provide expert presentations and opportunities for discussion of topics of interest to members of the public concerned about the generation and proposed burial of highly radioactive nuclear fuel waste.
@ noon on February 7, 14, 21 & 28

For details please visit www.KnowNuclearWaste.ca or www.nuclearwaste.ca

HOW TO CONNECT WITH OUR WEBINARS

  • All workshop are being presented using an on-line system called Zoom.us; please note that this is a change in systems from the service used for the previous four years – we think you’ll find it even more “user-friendly”!
  • You have the choice of listening through your computer, or listening through your telephone; to listen in by telephone, call the number provided when you register
  • The presenters’ slides and some additional information will appear on your computer screen
  • You will be able to ask questions by using the “chat” function through your computer connection; if numbers allow you will also be able to ask questions over the phone or using your computer’s audio connection
  • If you have questions following the workshop, please send them by email or call us

SOME EXTRA TIPS FOR WEBINAR USERS

  • Watch this video to learn about joining a Zoom meeting.
  • To join by computer, click on the meeting link you will receive in the meeting invitation or confirmation of registration.
  • First time participants will be asked to install an application on their system; this takes less than one minute and consumes minimal space.
  • To join by telephone select a Canada or U.S. number in the meeting invitation or confirmation of registration

Know Nuclear Waste is a public interest information project. Led by Northwatch, the project is delivered in collaboration with concerned residents in communities being studied as possible burial sites for high level nuclear waste and with other public and expert organizations.

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Holtec unveils fuel basket for fast-track decommissioning

24 January 2017

Holtec International has unveiled a new “proto-prompt” decommissioning strategy, which the US company says could see the conversion of a nuclear power plant site to greenfield status within about five-and-a-half years after the plant is shut down.

Holtec's heat dissipating fuel basket, made from Metamic HT (Image: Holtec)

Holtec said it was prompted to develop the strategy to address concerns about the risk of accidental pool drainage, with the associated risks of a zirconium fire. The company said such a scenario, while “non-credibly improbable, stalks the decision-making process of every nuclear plant owner preparing to draw down its workforce after ceasing operations”.

When a reactor is shut down, its used nuclear fuel is usually stored in an at-reactor pool for several years to allow it to cool sufficiently to be transferred to another suitable long-term storage facility or for disposal.

Holtec’s strategy relies on the use of its friction-stir welded fuel basket made of Metamic HT, an aluminium boron carbide metal matrix composite. The welds do not suffer from distortion typically seen with conventional welding process.

The basket has over ten times the thermal conductivity of conventional stainless steel fuel baskets, which shortens the required cooling period of used fuel, prior to transfer to dry storage, from about seven years to two-and-a-half years. This would enable a shuttered plant site to be returned to its pre-plant state within about 66 months after the reactor’s shutdown, the company said.

The strategy will eliminate the fuel and high-level waste “as the obstacle to demolishing the plant” and allow a site to be restored more quickly, it added.

Holtec first announced development of its latest used fuel storage baskets in January 2014.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

As posted at http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR-Holtec-unveils-fuel-basket-for-fast-track-decommissioning-2401178.html

NOTE THAT THIS SOURCE IS A PROPONENT OF NUCLEAR POWER AND THE INFORMATION HAS NOT BEEN VERIFIED. I

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OPG report on planned nuclear waste bunker blasted as ‘inadequate’

Opponents of a planned nuclear waste bunker have hit back at a report affirming the Lake Huron shoreline as the best place to locate the facility.

They also claim the federal government is trying to limit scrutiny of the Ontario Power Generation report and ignoring concerns about the project from the United States and elsewhere.

The report, done at Ottawa’s request for more information, did not look at other specific sites but concludes it would cost billions of dollars and set the project back decades if it was forced to bury the toxic waste anywhere other than at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, near Kincardine, Ont.

One activist group called the report a “completely inadequate” response to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who must approve the proposal.

“This is the fifth time that OPG has side-stepped a specific government request to study alternative sites,” Rod McLeod, a director of SOS Great Lakes, said in a statement. “At what point is the federal government going to stand up and do its job?”

Critics are also angry that the government is allowing just 30 days for public comment on a report OPG had the better part of a year to produce.

“It appears to me the government perhaps does not care to hear what the public thinks,” McLeod said.

Scores of Great Lakes communities have passed resolutions or otherwise expressed opposition to OPG’s proposed deep geologic repository, currently estimated to cost about $2.4 billion. The plan calls for about 200,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate nuclear waste to be stored in bedrock up to 680 metres underground about 1.2 kilometres from Lake Huron starting in 2026.

American Congressman Dan Kildee, a vocal critic of the project from Michigan, said the risk of poisoning drinking water — despite OPG’s insistence the rock bunker would contain the waste for thousands of years and is safer than above-ground storage — is simply too high.

“Surely in the vast land mass that comprises Canada, there must be a better place to permanently store nuclear waste than on the shores of Lake Huron,” Kildee said in a statement.

The OPG report maintains that trucking the radioactive material — potentially from one end of the province to the other — would pose more of a health and safety risk than burying it at the Bruce site, where much of it is produced.

Critics, who argue similar storage bunkers elsewhere in the world have failed, are especially scornful of OPG’s assertion — based largely on an analysis of Google searches — that most people in the province have little interest in the project. Among other things, they cite an online petition that close to 100,000 project opponents have signed.

“Their claim is in direct conflict with evidence presented at the environmental hearings as well as ongoing public opposition,” said Ellen Dailey, a doctor based in Erie, Pa., and another SOS Great Lakes director.

OPG also has a record of biased surveys, such as one that showed overwhelming support for the repository in Kincardine itself — making it the required “willing host,” opponents argue.

Among other things, they note OPG is paying Kincardine and nearby municipalities — home to one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants and many of its employees — $35 million to support the project. They also argue a survey of local residents was skewed by a preamble that called the project safe and economically beneficial without mentioning any potential risks.

The federal government has delayed its decision on the project since a review panel approved it in May 2015. McKenna is now slated to decide either late this year or early next.

The Canadian Press

Published Tuesday, January 10, 2017 2:35PM EST http://london.ctvnews.ca/opg-report-on-planned-nuclear-waste-bunker-blasted-as-inadequate-1.3235490 

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OPG identifies most of Ontario as alternate ‘location’ to bury nuclear waste:

Ontario Power Generation was asked by the federal government to identify “actual locations” as alternates for its plan to bury nuclear waste. It’s now up to the minister as to whether they’ve done that.

A report recently released by Ontario Power Generation includes Ryden’s Border Store, just across the border in Minnesota, as one of the coordinates in an area designated as an alternate location for burying nuclear waste.
A report recently released by Ontario Power Generation includes Ryden’s Border Store, just across the border in Minnesota, as one of the coordinates in an area designated as an alternate location for burying nuclear waste.

Ryden’s Border Store, located about 800 metres from the U.S./Canada border in Grand Portage, Minn., has been run by the Ryden clan since 1947 and still does a brisk business in currency exchange, parcel pickup, beer and T-shirt sales and such.

Two years ago Larry Ryden’s daughter, Lori Boomer, took over the place. Everyone calls her Sam. Summertime is super busy with fishermen headed north to the “wild blue yonder,” she says. (Canadian beer is expensive, she notes.) Christmases are always crazy with thousands of parcels needing to be processed for pickup.

Here’s a question Ms. Boomer is ill-equipped to handle: if Ontario were to ship 150,000 cubic metres of low level and intermediate level nuclear waste her way, would she have a place to bury it? “Well, one, I’m not going to accept it obviously. Two, my government’s not going to accept it. It’s absurd.”

The hunt for an appropriate site for a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) to house waste from Ontario’s nuclear facilities is not a subject to be taken lightly. Everything from mops to materials close to the reactor core, such as ion exchange resins that bear a “significant amount” of Carbon-14, a radionuclide that has a half life of more than 5,700 years, is slated for permanent burial.

And let’s be clear — Ms. Boomer has not been contacted on a whim. A report recently released by OPG cites Ryden’s GPS co-ordinates as one of the plot points in one of two contemplated alternate locations for the DGR. Equally curious, the co-ordinates for the second alternate include a stately two story brick home in Chaplin Estates, near Yonge St. and Davisville Ave.

This is worth digging into.

On Dec. 28, Ontario Power Generation submitted the results of its federally mandated assignment to present technically and economically feasible alternate locations for the DGR — alternate, that is, to OPG’s preferred strategy to inter the waste from the Bruce, Darlington and Pickering nuclear power plants at Bruce Nuclear near Kincardine.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will take until Jan. 16 to determine “whether OPG’s information is complete and that it conforms to the Minister’s information request.” A 30-day public comment period will follow.

When the federal Environment Ministry requested the study, 11 months ago, it sought details as to “specific reference to actual locations.” While OPG responded in April that it intended to assess two feasible “geological regions” in the province, “without providing specific reference to actual locations,” it says now that in this document and the main submission it is using specific references to actual locations.

The common reader may see the word “location” to mean, as it is conventionally defined, a particular or exact place.

OPG has provided something quite different and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna now must decide whether the power giant has come up with an evaluation that is good enough.

Let’s remember that the proposed Bruce site will be dug nearly 700 metres deep in limestone host rock a distance of 1.2 km from Lake Huron. The town of Kincardine is on side. Opposition voices on both sides of the border have been loud, particularly as it concerns protecting the Great Lakes.

The dominant question: is Bruce the best spot? And a corollary: wasn’t granite — the Canadian Shield in northern Ontario — discussed long ago as potentially the appropriate geology for toxic waste? The issue may pertain not just to low and intermediate waste, but ultimately the disposal of spent fuel rods, a headache for the generations that has yet to be effectively addressed.

OPG has defined two alternate locations — one a “crystalline” rock location, which OPG has used interchangeably with granite, and the other a sedimentary rock location. Fourteen GPS co-ordinates, including Ryden’s Border Store and a spot in Lake Erie, have been provided to define the first of these. When mapped, the 14 form the perimeter of this so-called “crystalline alternate location.” Plotted by the Star’s Matthew Cole, the result is a 726,052-square-kilometre land mass covering roughly 73 per cent of the province.

OPG makes the accurate assertion that taken to a finer decimal point, which is not noted in the report, the location perimeter moves just a titch this side of Canadian border. So Ryden’s is off the hook. What this should spur in McKenna’s office is an examination of how carefully OPG undertook the assignment and whether the vast result is of much use.

Jerry Keto, the OPG vice-president who signed off on the reports, was unavailable for comment. In his stead, OPG spokesperson Kevin Powers responded to the question as to whether OPG has fulfilled its mandate. “We do believe we have met the minister’s expectations,” Powers says. “The minister asked for a study of the environmental effects of two technically and economically feasible alternate locations. We distinguish between sites and locations. A site would be identified through a multiyear, multiphase, consent based exercise, which would be the equivalent of starting over again to find a willing host community. Instead we approached this as we would as if this were the early screening step of a siting process, so what geological locations are technically and economically feasible. But ultimately it will be up to the minister to determine whether or not this has met her expectations.”

In making its case for the Bruce site, the report estimates that it could take two decades to secure an alternate location, a process of marrying evidence-based science to a willing host community. It additionally projects increased costs should an alternate site be chosen, including transportation costs, depending on distance, of between $380 million and $1.4 billion.

As to the geology, the report raises the possibility that a crystalline location could be more fractured and thereby more permeable than Bruce. This is of particular importance with the intermediate waste, concluding that a “likely” result would be sooner groundwater contact, releasing, by example, Carbon-14 “sooner than expected in sedimentary rock.”

Yet a companion report on the potential environmental effects prepared by Golder Associates states that “the deep bedrock zones are expected to exhibit very low permeability.” Just like the Bruce site.

Rod McLeod, provincial deputy environment minister in the David Peterson government and the province’s chief Crown prosecutor before that, is a director of SOS Great Lakes, the group that has been loudest in its opposition to the Bruce DGR. “OPG has never answered the question,” McLeod says of the years-long location discussion. He spools all the way back to 2003. “They didn’t answer it then, they didn’t answer it at the first hearing in 2013, they were given a second chance at a new hearing in 2014. They are simply stalling.”

Will McKenna ultimately relieve OPG of the traditional requirement to identify, study, analyze and reject alternate options? And if so, on what basis, besides expediency?

Rod McLeod’s view is that it’s “absolute madness” to “dig this hole beside the drinking water source for 40 million Canadians and Americans.”

OPG insists that, at least according to its own social media analysis, Ontarians aren’t bothered. “The topic is not a popular one, nor is it generating large volumes of curiosity,” the report states, adding that interest in the DGR has “flatlined.”

The public now has little more than a month to change that perception, should it care to.

By JENNIFER WELLS, Business Columnist, Tues., Jan. 10, 2017, jenwells, as posted at https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/01/10/opg-identifies-most-of-ontario-as-alternate-location-to-bury-nuclear-waste-jennifer-wells.html

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Nuclear waste needs a home Opinion

OPINION PIECE | It’s easy to say “no” when someone wants to bury nuclear waste in your backyard.

Who, after all, would leap at the prospect of living close to high volumes of radioactive material if they thought there was any chance it could hurt them?

So it is as understandable as it is predictable that thousands of Canadians and Americans object to the plan by Ontario Power Generation to store hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of radioactive waste in an underground bunker at the Bruce Nuclear power plant outside Kincardine.

Topping their fears is the concern, however remote, that this waste could leak into and contaminate nearby Lake Huron — a great source of drinking water as well as a vacation playground.

But it is also true that for nearly 50 years a steadily growing stockpile of nuclear waste has been stored in what was only meant to be a temporary facility at this nuclear power plant.

For reasons of health, safety and security, a permanent solution must be found. And the only way for this to happen is for someone, somewhere, to say, however reluctantly, “yes.”

Ontario Power Generation proposes burying this waste in a bunker in bedrock 680 metres deep and about 1.2 kilometres from the lake. In May 2015, an environmental review panel approved the project.

But last February, well aware of the vocal opposition, the federal government asked Ontario Power Generation to provide information on locating the nuclear waste repository somewhere else.

That report is now in and — no surprise here — it found no perfect solution.

There are other 900-hectare sites across Ontario that are geologically suitable for housing a nuclear waste bunker. But trying to pick one would open the door to a host of new problems.

The biggest risk that a new site would pose would come from the need to truck up to 24,000 shipments of the hazardous waste hundreds, possibly thousands of kilometres to it from Kincardine.

Given the high number of shipments, there is a distinct possibility of one or more road collisions, which would increase the risk of radioactive exposure to the workers and the public.

Finding a community ready to embrace such a project would be challenging, too. In contrast, the municipality of Kincardine, which has benefited economically from the local nuclear power plant, will welcome the radioactive waste bunker.

In addition, moving to a new location would add up to $3.5 billion to the project’s cost because of the need to buy and prepare new land as well as to safely package and ship the waste.

And while the storage bunker at the Bruce Nuclear power plant would be ready by 2026, an alternative site might not be ready for use before 2055.

This is a tough issue. Ontarians benefit greatly from nuclear power, which generates more than half of the province’s electricity and without contributing to climate change. But it would be irresponsible for them to leave this nuclear waste above ground indefinitely.

Perhaps it’s time to trust the scientific experts — as hard as that might be.

And perhaps, when no solution to a problem is perfect, it’s best to choose the least-bad option.

OPINION, Waterloo Record, January 6 2017, as posted at http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/7051956-nuclear-waste-needs-a-home/

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