Letter: What I learned at the open house – Saugeen Shores (October 2012)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 10:38:29 EDT AM

I spent 4 hours asking questions at the NWMO open houses.

The NWMO cannot tell me how many radioactive nuclear fuel bundles will be put in the DGR. In the five months I have been studying this, the NWMO has indicated 2 million, or 4.6 or 7.2 million fuel bundles. The six NWMO experts around the table were unable to give me a number. That is because of a possible new reactor at Darlington, they said. It could be 2 million, could be 4.6 million; could be more; this is up to the host community to negotiate. How does that work? I understood there was only one DGR for high level nuclear spent fuel; if we negotiate 2 million, where would the rest go? They didn’t have an answer. How is it that between six NWMO experts no one can tell me how many radioactive fuel bundles the DGR will need to hold? I asked how large the DGR would need to be, to accommodate these various numbers. Again, no answer. The NWMO is building the DGR for high level nuclear spent fuel, they have been studying this for 10 years, and they do not have concrete answers to these simple questions? Something is wrong here.

I asked the NWMO geologists about the limestone this DGR would be drilled and blasted into, in Saugeen Shores. They told me limestone has been studied for 10 years, and research and testing is still ongoing. Can they be certain that this limestone and the barriers in the DGR will hold this lethal waste safely for 100,000 years? No, they cannot say this with certainty. But they are not concerned. They are still doing research and testing with governments and professors across the world. “Adaptive Phase Management,” they say. This gives me great concern. The rock is safe and the containers and barriers will hold this lethal waste for 100,000 years, but they are still researching and testing this “fact.” Why?

The NWMO doesn’t answer difficult questions. They talk around them. They use the term “Adaptive Phase Management”; this means their answers are constantly changing. I now know what Adaptive Phase Management is: a slippery shield behind which the NWMO hides. It is like nailing jelly to the wall. This is very concerning; we are talking about the most dangerous thing humans have ever produced, and that it must stay completely isolated for 100,000 years. This DGR must protect us, and the 40 million people who drink the water from the Great Lakes from leaking radioactivity. The NWMO cannot say with certainty that it will.

A DGR for high level nuclear spent fuel has never been built anywhere in the world. The US cancelled their Yucca Mountain DGR for nuclear spent fuel, after spending $10 – 20 billion on it. The NWMO is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Is Saugeen Shores willing to be the DGR experiment? At what risk? Our lives, and those of 40 million people?

Beverly Fernandez


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