By Phil McNichol, Lucknow Sentinel
Monday, August 27, 2012 3:10:02 EDT PM
There”s a good chance a community in Bruce County on or near the Lake Huron shoreline will be picked as the host site for the long-term underground storage of Canada’s growing stockpile of highly radioactive and dangerous “used” nuclear fuel.
Most (80%) of the 2.3 million bundles of used fuel currently in storage under water or in specially built dry containers are at three nuclear plants in Ontario, on the shores of Lake Huron (Bruce Nuclear) and Lake Ontario (Pickering and Darlington). By the time the proposed Deep Geological Repository (DGR) is ready that number could be as high as 7.2 million bundles. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has estimated a DGR big enough to store that amount of used nuclear fuel would cost $24.5 billion in today’s money.
Yet, the Southampton Curling Club, with enough chairs set up for 600 or 700 people, was only half full for last Saturday’s “No Nuke Dump” town hall event, organized by the Save Our Saugeen Shores (SOS) citizens’ group.
A few local reporters were there, but none from the big city or national media. Just one member of Saugeen Shores’ municipal council, Taun Frosst, was there. The absence of area provincial and federal politicians was noted. Most obvious was the empty chair reserved for the “NWMO.” The organization had been invited to participate in a panel discussion, but didn’t send anyone.
Five of the 19 communities in Canada that have formally notified the NWMO of their interest in being chosen as the “willing” host site for its proposed Deep Geological Repository (DGR) are in southern Bruce County, near the Bruce nuclear plant.
The keynote presenter at the SOS event was Dr. Gordon Edwards, a recognized Canadian and international expert on nuclear safety for many years.
His power-point presentation was indeed powerful and certainly informative, even for an old hand who’s been
following this issue, and nuclear safety in general for years. The questions and concerns he raised should have been heard by anyone with an interest in the DGR proposal, and nuclear energy in general, for that matter.
And that means not just everybody in this part of southern Ontario, but everybody in Canada, and even the world, Cheryl Grace told me right after the SOS event ended. “It’s a world issue,” said the SOS founding member and spokesperson, while trying to put the best face on a disappointing turn-out and especially the lack of media coverage.