BY DAVID GEARY, THE STARPHOENIXMARCH 9, 2015 7:47 AM
As a member of the Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan I welcome the decision by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to abandon its search for a high-level nuclear waste repository in this province.
NWMO’s nuclear waste burial proposal in Creighton and 21 other towns has unfortunately led to angry debate and deeply polarized feelings within many communities.
The waste burial proposition contains much unproven and highly speculative science and technology. Aspects of it were even criticized by NWMO’s International Technical Review Group. As well, its computer models cannot show the validity and predictive values needed over the required longtime scales (millennia).
Deficiencies also remain in the geological and hydrogeological concepts. Other serious problems include the risk of accidents and contamination during transportation of the fuel bundle casks, security and terrorism concerns, and the threat to the public and workers of radiation exposure.
Another concern, if such a deep geological repository is established, is that it could open the door to Canada being forced to take radioactive waste from other countries – for example, under NAFTA regulations.
However, we must do something about managing Canada’s high level radioactive waste. One rational proposal, endorsed by more than 150 environmental and scientific organizations, is Hardened On Site Storage at or near reactor sites, where scientific, technical and security expertise is already located. On-site storage combined with rolling stewardship would keep nuclear waste safely isolated from the public and the environment, contained and secure, but still in sight for ongoing monitoring.