Sweden’s Planned Nuclear Waste Storage Faces Problems

By Barbro Plogander
Epoch Times, January 2013

Sweden’s solution for storing its nuclear waste suffered a setback recently. While experts are very active, driving the issue, they have failed to excite the interest of the general public.

In Sweden, the new plan for disposing of waste from nuclear power plants is to put it in copper canisters and store it in bedrock. Considering how dangerous the radioactive waste is, corrosion of these canisters is a major issue.

In late January, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority reported that corrosion had occurred on small copper fragments they had put in oxygen-free water to test them. The report showed that the corrosion process does not stop at a certain point, as previously believed, but continues.

This was the latest setback for the waste-storage method, which has been widely criticized by experts. The news passed without much attention in Sweden.

The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) is responsible for all radioactive waste from Swedish nuclear power plants. Press officer Jimmy Larsson-Hagberg described the issue of storing nuclear waste into the unimaginably distant future as “a large puzzle. [There are] many equations, and many things to take into account.”

The copper canisters are deposited in individual holes in tunnels, some 1,500 feet down in the Swedish bedrock. Bentonite clay is used to embed the canisters to protect against corrosion and rock movement that could cause radiation leaks, Larsson-Hagberg said.

Professor Jonas Anselm at Linkoping University has studied the Swedish nuclear waste debate from 1950 to today, and he says the Swedish experts disagree on this matter.

Some are critical of the aforementioned solution, developed by the power companies and the nuclear industry that want to start building the facilities now. These experts have spoken and written directly to the power companies and leaders in the nuclear industry, as well as to authorities and individual politicians.

“This criticism has been a very positive force to correct and develop solutions for the final repositories,”
professor Anselm said.

Anselm explained that the general public is not very interested because the issue has become too technical and too difficult to understand.

Things were quite different a few decades ago, when Swedes were very passionate about different aspects of the nuclear issue, including the waste problem. The question of whether or not Sweden should keep its nuclear power plants came to a head in 1979, with the Three Mile Island incident, a partial meltdown at a nuclear facility in Pennsylvania, USA.

In a referendum a year later, the question was not if the plants should be kept or not, but only how fast they should be shut down. The nuclear issue was so contentious that three governments resigned over it.


Plan for nuclear waste storage should be met with caution, says farmers union president (January 2013)

Huron Bullet News
January 26, 2013

CENTRAL HURON  – The idea of storing high-level nuclear waste in Central Huron should be met with caution, says a local farmers union president.

:The decision to put all of Canada’s high level radioactive reactor fuel waste under some of Canada’s best farm land and beside the Great Lakes is one that should be considered very cautiously” said Tony McQuail, who is the president of the Huron National Farmers Union (NFU) Local 335.

In co-operation with the Huron District of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, Huron NFU has scheduled an information session on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. at the Regional Equine and Agricultural Centre of Huron, which is located in Clinton. It expects to have information on both the benefits and risks of storing the country high-level nuclear waste.

More than 20 communities, including the Municipality of Central Huron, have expressed an interest in learning more about hosting a deep geologic site to store the country’s high-level radioactive waste from nuclear electricity generation.

Brennain Lloyd of North Watch will present Deep Trouble: Nuclear Waste Burial in the Great Lakes Basin. There will be an opportunity for questions following the presentation.

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Nuclear Fuel Waste in Canada (January 2013)

Jan-Feb-2013-Vol23-No1, Watershed Sentinel

by Anna Tilman

Nuclear waste, especially nuclear fuel wastes from reactors, also called high-level radioactive wastes, is the greatest danger caused by the nuclear industry.  This fuel, otherwise known as irradiated fuel or “spent” fuel, contains hundreds of radioactive elements that are the products of fission in a reactor. Many of them are not found in nature. This fuel is lethal in seconds to anyone nearby. It will leave an indelible mark on the planet for eons.

Determined to allay long-standing public concerns about this waste, the nuclear industry  and  their  supportive  governments worldwide  have  advocated Deep Geological Repositories (DGRs) as the “final  solution”  to safely contain these wastes. To date, no DGR for spent fuel has been built or is operating anywhere in the world.

There is no assurance that this waste could be safely and permanently contained in DGRs. No computer models can accurately take into account all the complexities that could be encountered from burying this deadly waste deep underground or provide assurance that, over a million or more years, radioactivity would not be released. Natural systems are far too complicated and ever-changing for a complete, accurate model to be valid, or even possible.

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Corrosion of copper in distilled water, detection of produced hydrogen (January 2013)



Corrosion of copper in distilled water without molecular oxygen and the detection of produced hydrogen

In this report, results are presented for copper which has been exposed to pure anoxic water in the temperature interval of 21° C to 55 °C up to a total of 19 000 hours. Characterisations of copper surfaces after exposure have been performed ex-situ, meaning after termination of the experiment and exposing the specimen to normal atmospheric environment.

Ideally characterisation of surfaces should have been performed with the specimens in the reaction chamber without oxygen supply but this was not possible in the experimental set-up used. Thus it cannot be excluded that formed species on surfaces could have been altered during handling of specimens between exposure and surface analysis.

The results from the surface analysis of exposed copper specimens indicate that the reaction products are predominately comprised of oxide and hydroxide. Furthermore, based on the visual appearance, the reaction products formed are solid and of a three dimensional character. Moreover, depth analysis by ion sputtering shows that hydrogen is present at greater depth from the surface and inwards compared to oxygen. This indicates that corrosion of copper in anoxic water involves a mechanism in which hydrogen atoms present in water molecules form hydrogen gas which partly dissociate and diffuse into the copper metal as hydrogen atoms

Author: G. Hultquist, M.J. Graham, O. Kodra, S. Moisa, R. Liu, U. Bexell and J.L. Smialek
Publisher: SSM
Language: English
Publication date: 13-01-18
No of pages: 28
Possible to order: Yes
Price per publication: 100 SEK (incl. VAT)
Download: 2013:07 Corrosion of copper in distilled water without molecular oxygen and the detection of produced hydrogen [2836 kb]

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NWMO Community Liaison Committees set up websites (undated)

NWMO Posting

Community Liaison Committees set up websites to communicate with residents about the site selection process

Community liaison committees are an important resource for communities in Step 3 of the site selection process. Independent of the NWMO and comprised entirely of local residents, these working groups perform several important functions, including helping residents to learn more about Canada’s plan for managing used nuclear fuel over the long term, the site selection process and the preliminary assessments being conducted during Step 3. The committees’ websites are one of the ways they are communicating with residents. The NWMO has assisted these committees by providing the basic architecture for these websites.

You can visit each committee’s website to learn more about the work they are doing on behalf of their communities:
Creighton – http://clcinfo.ca/creighton
Ear Falls – http://clcinfo.ca/earfalls
Hornepayne – http://clcinfo.ca/hornepayne
Ignace – http://clcinfo.ca/ignace
Pinehouse – http://clcinfo.ca/pinehouse
Schreiber – http://clcinfo.ca/schreiber
Wawa – http://clcinfo.ca/wawa

Read as posted by the NWMO

More Powerful Guns May Guard Spent Nuclear Fuel: U.S. (January 2013)

Tue, 01/22/2013 – 8:34am
Evan Brandt, The (Pottstown) Mercury

LIMERICK, Pa. (AP) — Machine guns may be coming to a nuclear plant near you.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a rule that would allow security guards to wield machine guns and “enhanced weapons” to guard spent fuel rods being stored at nuclear power plants.

The cost of the weapons upgrade, training and background checks envisioned in the NRC rule could cost the industry between $26.5 million and $34.7 million, according to NRC estimates.

The new rule, if made final, could be used by Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station to upgrade weaponry if needed, according to NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

Any upgrades, and subsequent costs, would be voluntary but in making industry costs estimates “NRC staff assumed that all licensees and certificate holds who fall within the proposed designated classes of facilities would take advantage of making us of enhanced weapons protection,” according to the announced of the proposed rule in the Jan. 10 edition of the Federal Register.

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NWMO Presentation to Manitouwadge Town Council – Jan 9th 2013 – Complete video (January 2013)

Ontario News North

Written by admin on 21 January 2013

MANITOUWADGE, ON  – Jan 9th, 2013 OntarioNewsNorth.com attended the regular meeting of Council as Nuclear Waste Management Organization representatives were attending to present their resultfs from initial screening.  Editor Karina Hunter recorded the full meeting

Read summary / view video


CTV London: Nuclear waste disposal concerns (January 2013)


An anti-nuclear waste group has found an unlikely ally in Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne. Scott Miller reports.

CTV news story about opposition to DGRs 1 and 2 growing in Bruce County, including the launch of the Blue Water Alliance; ends with interview with Duncan Hawthorne of Bruce Power, suggesting there is some form of common purpose between the citizen opposition to nuclear waste burial and Hawthorne’s support for the reprocessing of nuclear waste as an “alternative” to burial. What the story fails to mention is that reprocessing produces larger volumes of also highly radioactive liquid nuclear fuel waste, and brings with it a multitltued of environmental and worker exposures and proliferation risks. None of the groups opposing the nuclear waste burial schemes have expressed any support of reprocessing.

Bruce County group opposes burying nuclear waste near Lake Huron (January 2013)

Frances Barrick, Waterloo Record staff, Wed Jan 16 2013 12:03:00

Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump Inc., a group of concerned ci

Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump Inc., a group of concerned citizens, have launched the next stage of an anti-nuclear waste dump campaign via an electronic billboard on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto.

A Bruce County-based group opposed to burying nuclear waste near Lake Huron is taking its fight to Canada’s largest city.

A billboard along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway says “bad idea” to a plan to build an underground repository to store low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste at the Bruce nuclear plant near Kincardine.

“We feel this is a national issue and we want to bring this to the attention of all Canadians,” Beverly Fernandez, spokesperson for Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump Inc., said of the sign on one of Canada’s busiest commuter routes.

The Ontario Power Generation is in the midst of seeking approval from the federal government for this project, which would be built about one kilometre from the shores of Lake Huron. Approval is expected in about nine months, she said.

“It defies common sense to bury radioactive waste beside a source of drinking water that 40 million people rely on,” said Fernandez, a Southampton resident.

This project is separate from plans by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste in a “willing” community in Canada.

Five communities in Bruce County are vying to host a deep geological repository, which would store all of Canada’s used toxic waste. Saugeen Shores, which includes Southampton, is one of the five communities.

Fernandez said her group’s concern is approval of the Kincardine project “would pave the way” for the high-level nuclear waste proposal to be located somewhere in Bruce County.

The group has also launched an online petition intended for federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, who has final approval of the project. The petition is at www.gopetition.com/petitions/stopthegreatlakesnucleardump.html.

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