HEATHER BOA Huron News CLINTON – Plans for an underground storage facility for the country’s high-level nuclear waste from spent fuel cells used to produce electricity are based on the best science available today, says a communications specialist from the organization charged with the task of managing Canada’s used nuclear fuel over the long-term.
“Canadians said that we have to take action now and leave options open for future generations if there are better ways,” Michael Krizanc, noting that people wanted a solution for the waste so that they would not leave a legacy for their children.
The current design would allow the spent fuel cells to be retrieved from underground if a better solution becomes available.
At this time, the spent bundles are placed in dry storage after seven to 10 years of cooling and lowering radioactivity levels in pools of water. In Ontario, the bundles are stored aboveground on an interim basis. They will all be moved to this single underground facility.
Residents living in the Municipality of Central Huron are having their first look at what it would mean to host an underground storage facility during an open house at the Central Huron Community Complex, after council learned earlier this month that there are no show stoppers in a desktop initial screening to keep it from being a host site. Yesterday, in the first of a two-day open house, about 45 people reviewed display boards, took home literature and asked questions from specialists in social research, geoscience, aboriginal affairs and communications.
Krizanc said the turnout was typical of the first open house held in 18 communities that have expressed an interest in hosting the site and passed the initial screening to see whether readily available reports and studies indicate any show stoppers that would make the potential host community unsuitable. Central Huron and the other potential host communities are now in what’s referred to as Step 3, a point in the process where they can either opt out or ask for a more comprehensive assessment of whether their site is suitable or not.
The NWMO expects to whittle down potential sites to one or two during this step, which will consider the long-term effects on the environment, the community and the neighbouring communities. It will invest $200 million or more in those one or two communities that proceed further. If need be, the process will begin anew if a suitable site can’t be found, Krizanc said.
“There’s no fixed timetable to this. We’re going to take the time to do it right,” he said.
The public open house runs at the Central Huron Community Complex until 7 p.m., with display boards, literature and available to answer questions. To see more information on the open house, click here.
NWMO is funded by Ontario Power Generation, NB Power, Hydro-Québec and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
More information is available on its website.