June 16, 2012

Radioactivity is everywhere.

In comic books, its properties are magical, turning simple spider bites into transfers of superhuman abilities.

In cartoons, it makes things ooze and drip and glow an eerie green.

And in real life, it evokes just as much fear. Especially when coupled with nuclear waste.

“(Nuclear waste storage) isn’t a hole in the ground where leaky drums are sitting,” said Jo-Ann Facella, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s director of social research and dialogue.

“When we go into communities for the first time, often times, people have pictures of nuclear fuel in their minds. It’s important to help people understand what (nuclear waste is.)”

The NWMO is not only responsible for nuclear waste awareness, it’s also creating a plan to dispose of it. Or, at the very least, bury it deep in the ground where it can sit for up to one million years. Right now, the organization is looking for suitable sites, a search that has brought it to Northern Ontario several times. Of the 18 communities currently interested in hosting a nuclear waste repository — a 500- metre-deep structure that would hold used fuel bundles for hundreds of thousands of years — 11 are in Northern Ontario. They include Elliot Lake, Blind River, the North Shore and Spanish.

“We wait for communities to approach us,” Facella said at a two-day media conference, which took place in Toronto and Ottawa. “It’s going to affect people. Not just communities that are (chosen), but (those) on the transportation route.”

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One thought on “Communities interested in waste repositories (Sudbury Star)

  1. Having read this story elsewhere and having spent nearly 40 years in journalism and the newspaper business, I was horrified to read that this reporter’s way to a two-day news conference all the way to Toronto was paid for by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. No wonder so many of us have become cynical about both journalists and the nuclear industry. If NWMO wanted to be legitimate, even if had been asked to pay, it should have refused. That would be real honesty, not the dreaded spin-doctoring. Despite its highly paid professional and, I assume, skilled promoters, NWMO still doesn’t get it. I saw one of these promoters pass a model of a spend-fuel bundle around to a class of school children as though it was as benign as a jar of cookies; then tell them deep burial was perfectly safe. And I don’t care if the reporter made an effort to get “both” sides of the story, it’s wrong to accept free rides and red-carpet treatment from NWMO.

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