HEATHER BOA Bullet News CLINTON – There are no red flags to exclude Central Huron as a possible location for long-term underground storage of the country’s high-level nuclear from spent fuel cells, according to an initial screening review.
A desktop review of readily available information available from resources like the Ontario Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Library, provincial ministries of the environment, natural resources and culture and information from the low- and medium-level nuclear waste repository licensed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at the Bruce Power site (its Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Safety Report is currently in public comment period) were used to determine whether there were showstoppers that would make the community unsuitable for a deep geological repository, said Bob Leech, a geologist from AECOM, a consulting firm hired by Nuclear Waste Management Organization. He delivered his findings to Central Huron Council during a meeting held at the Central Huron Community Complex to accommodate local residents who wanted to hear the presentation. Public meetings are scheduled for March 26 and 27.
Leech said it’s a “layer cake geology” of about 32 layers in this eastern flank of the Michigan Basin, with the Precambrian Canadian Shield at its base. More than 1,000 water wells, spent oil and gas pools now used to store natural gas, sand and gravel pits, and fingers of salt that extend inland from Lake Huron all occur in rock layers above the 450-million-year-old shale, dolostone and limestone layers where the underground storage facility will be built. The facility, with shafts and buildings, will require about 100 hectares – or nearly 250 acres – of surface land, with the large caverns built at least 500 metres below ground would require anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 square kilometres of rock.
Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, who is the director of NWMO’s APM Geoscience, said abandoned mines and areas where resources like gold exist in the rock formation aren’t considered for the underground storage site.