Oshawa says no to nuclear waste burial (July 2015)

Oshawa council has jumped into the ring and voiced its disapproval of a project that would see nuclear waste buried deep underground on the Great Lakes basin.

The project, proposed to the federal government by the provincially owned Ontario Power Generation (OPG), would see low and intermediate nuclear waste buried and abandoned in a sarcophagus-like tomb near the shores of Lake Huron.  The site, beneath the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant site, is located in Kincardine.

The waste would be buried in limestone caverns approximately 680 meters below the ground.

The motion brought forth by Councillor Amy England requested council support sending a letter to government stakeholders and politicians to state that Oshawa is opposed to the idea.

“I think we have a moral obligation to act on this,” England said.

The radioactive waste can remain active for as long as 100,000 years and England says any contamination could affect generations down the line.

And being so close to Lake Huron, any breach could affect drinking water downstream.

“We’re not just talking about right now, but generations far from now,” she said. “We need to be prepared and support our drinking water for future generations.”

The motion carried through the council chambers unanimously.

Ajax, Toronto, Kingston and Brampton are among a conglomerate of cities that have made similar motions to voice displeasure over the planned waste burial.

2015-07-14 – By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express – as posted at http://oshawaexpress.ca/viewposting.php?view=8202

Holtec to start regulatory process for New Mexico used fuel store soon (July 2015)

Holtec International has unveiled the schedule for its proposed consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel, with start-up slated for 2020. Holtec sees the facility, to be built in south-eastern New Mexico, as the only solution being put forward to deal with the USA’s 70,000 tonnes of used nuclear fuel that is currently located in 35 states and at about 70 sites.

In April, Holtec and Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA) announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement covering the design, licensing, construction and operation of the facility that is to be modelled on Holtec’s HI-STORM UMAX dry storage system. ELEA will provide the land and local logistics support, including existing environmental characterization data.

In a webinar organized by Nuclear Energy Insider yesterday, Holtec International senior vice president and chief nuclear officer Pierre Oneid said the company would submit its letter of intent for the project to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) next month.

Holtec will request that NRC’s used fuel management office opens a Part 72 docket which, Oneid said, “will serve as a letter of intent that will make its way to NRC in August”. Part 72 refers to licensing requirements for the independent storage of used nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, and reactor-related greater than Class C waste.

That will mean a pre-application meeting with NRC can be expected by December and an application submittal to the agency by June 2016, Oneid said. “We expect, based on past experience and on our discussions with NRC, that it is reasonable to put a date like October 2018 for the safety evaluation report,” he added.

The licence might then be issued in January 2019, with the first phase of construction starting in April 2019. Operation of the facility could then begin a year later.

30 July 2015 – World Nuclear News – as posted at http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR-Holtec-to-start-regulatory-process-for-New-Mexico-used-fuel-store-soon-30071501.html

Spanish government, region lock horns over radioactive waste site (July 2015)

MADRID: Spain’s conservative government and the central region of Castilla-La Mancha locked horns Thursday over plans to build the nation’s first-ever temporary storage facility for highly radioactive waste.

The country’s nuclear security council on Monday approved a report that gives the green light for the facility to be built near the village of Villar de Canas in Castilla-La Mancha.

Enresa, the state-owned company responsible for Spain’s nuclear facilities, in 2011 chose the site from a list that included eight other communities which bid to house the nuclear dump.

But on Tuesday the new Socialist government of Castilla-La Mancha moved to block the construction of the facility by approving the expansion of a protected area for birds so it includes land earmarked for the radioactive waste site.
Read more at:

Report Warns of Huge Risks in German Nuclear Decommissioning Costs (July 2015)

Four years after Germany took the sudden decision to phase out nuclear energy production in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a new report commissioned by the Green Party warns that the sheer costs of decommissioning are a huge risk to the country.

The report by Professor Wolfgang Irrek and Professor Michael Vorfeld at the Hochschule Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences says Germany faces the most expensive and biggest demolition program in the country’s history.

The energy companies have set aside around $42 billion for decommissioning and disposal — money paid through the electricity price, by the German consumer. The “nightmare scenario”, the report says, is that these funds are nowhere near enough.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150729/1025173010.html#ixzz3hIeb89xg

Digging Deeper: Ignace and the NWMO Nuclear Waste Burial Plan | August 12 @ 2 & 7 pm


In November 2010, the Municipality of Ignace became the first municipality in Canada to “express interest” in the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s program to find a location and then construct a “deep geological repository” for the burial of all of Canada’s highly radioactive nuclear fuel waste. In November 2013, as part of “Step 3” of the NWMO siting process, 647 square kilometres of crown land in four blocks surrounding Ignace were set aside for detailed study as potential nuclear waste burial sites.

Concerned about nuclear waste coming to Ignace? Let’s talk about it.

Wednesday, August 12th
Drop In and Information Sharing 2 – 5 pm
Presentation and Community Roundtable 7 – 9 pm

Multi-Purpose Room, Ignace Public Library
36 Highway 17 West, Ignace

Hosted by Northwatch, a public interest group based in northeastern Ontario. For more information about Northwatch’s work and concerns about nuclear waste, visit www.KnowNuclearWaste.ca orwww.nuclearwaste.ca. Information about Northwatch is atwww.northwatch.org or tel 705 497 0373

UPDATE: Hearings on Russian radwaste repository proceed transparently – to a point (July 2015)

A public hearing on laboratory whose studies could lead to a deep geologic repository for radioactive waste in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region of Siberia drew some 400 participants Friday, Russia’s National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (RosRAO) said.

The Onkalo nuclear repository in Finland. (Photo: Carnegiecouncil.org)

A public hearing on laboratory whose studies could lead to a deep geologic repository for radioactive waste in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region of Siberia drew more than 400 participants Friday, Russia’s National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RAO) said.

The hearings were held in the closed nuclear city of Zhelenogorsk, according to local Krasnoyarsk Region television broadcasts. The locale  of the hearings – which was a major Cold War producer of bomb-grade plutonium –meant only residents of the city could attend without seeking special permission from authorities.

Applications for non-residents to enter the the closed city routinely take several weeks to be reviewed. Foreign parties who might have expert advice to offer on the repository lab aren’t allowed to enter the city at all.

According to Krasnoyarsk television,  the 446 participants in the hearing approved  plans to move ahead with the laboratory, with 254 voting for it, 49 against and 29 abstaining. Another 112 attended simply to listen, said the television report.

Read story at http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/radioactive-waste-and-spent-nuclear-fuel/2015-07-hearings-russian-radwaste-repository-proceed-transparently-point

Feds allege Xcel contractors falsified weld tests at Monticello nuclear plant (July 2015)

Contractors in Monticello, the report says, didn’t follow testing protocol on casks holding nuclear waste. 

Federal investigators have accused two former contract employees for Xcel Energy Inc. of willfully violating procedures and falsifying reports about safety-related tests of casks filled with high-level nuclear waste stored at the Monticello, Minn., nuclear power plant.

 The findings released Monday by investigators for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also allege that Xcel officials did not monitor the work of the contract employees as they placed dye on welds to look for cracks in late 2013. The improper testing was discovered by an NRC inspector who checked videos of the work.
 After the problem was discovered, Xcel said, the casks were rechecked before most of them were placed in a concrete bunker outside the reactor building. They could remain on the site for years because no permanent national storage site has been built for such waste.

Both of the unnamed technicians were testing for cracks on welds sealing the lids on six casks that had been filled with highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods. Test procedures called for placing dye on the welds for 10 to 15 minutes and then looking for cracks.

But the resident NRC inspector, and later other investigators, discovered from videos that the workers waited for far less time, as little as 23 seconds. Yet both workers falsified forms, reporting they waited 10 minutes, the investigative findings said.
The technicians said they hadn’t read the rules or gotten bad information from a supervisor. One worker told investigators that “he was rushing himself because he had heard contractor management complain about employees working too slowly.” The NRC said the technicians’ supervisor “apparently was not routinely on site and did not review the videotapes.”

By Star Tribune – JULY 27, 2015 — 9:20PM  – Read Story – http://www.startribune.com/feds-allege-xcel-contractors-falsified-weld-tests-at-monticello-nuclear-plant/318734611/

Regional Government Blocks Nuclear Waste Dump Hours After Spain’s Nuclear Council Gives Go Ahead (July 2015)

The regional government in Castilla La Mancha, led by Socialist Party (PSOE) First Minister Emiliano García Page, has moved to block the construction of a nuclear waste dump in the town of Villar de Cañas just hours after Spain’s Nuclear Security Council gave the green light for preliminary construction work to begin.

El Mundo reported a regional government cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning had decided to increase the size of a nearby natural park and bird protection area from 2,500 acres to 62,000 acres, thus prohibiting any construction work from beginning in the area.

On Monday, Spain’s Nuclear Security Council gave the green light to the construction of a nuclear waste dump in Villar de Cañas (Castilla La Mancha), where radioactive waste is to be stored for up to 100 years.

The council said that the design of the nuclear waste dump should be reinforced compared to earlier proposals to take into account the geological environment near the town.

The council’s decision will be sent to the Industry Ministry for administrative approval for the commencement of the building and infrastructure work.

The decision to propose Villar de Cañas as the location for the dump was one of the first taken by Mariano Rajoy’s new Popular Party government when it came to power in 2011.

Schreiber Area Communities Recognised for Nuclear Waste Assessment (July 2015)

Posted 23 July 2015 by NNL Staff in Featured

THUNDER BAY The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced today that it will recognize communities in the areas of Schreiber, Ontario, and Creighton, Saskatchewan, that actively participated in recently concluded Preliminary Assessment studies and engagement for Canadas deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel.

Schreiber is no longer being considered as a potential site. The community exited the process in March 0f 2015 due to unsuitable geology.

Eligible communities will each be recognized with an investment of $250,000 toward their community well-being.

The NWMO concluded Preliminary Assessment studies in both areas in March 2015, after geological field studies showed limited potential for finding suitable sites in either area.

Schreiber and its neighbouring Ontario communities of Terrace Bay and Pays Plat First Nation were active participants in this phase of work.

Terrace Bay and Pays Plat First Nation were involved in the process as neighbouring communities but were not being considered as host communities.

The communities still involved in the process are Ignace, Manitowadge, Hornepayne, White River, Elliot Lake, Blind River and in Southwestern Ontario, Central Huron, South Bruce, and Huron-Kinloss.

Along with Creighton, Denare Beach in Saskatchewan and Flin Flon in Manitoba actively participated in studies in that area. Each of these communities is eligible for the recognition funding.

We are pleased to provide this investment in the well-being of these communities as they conclude their involvement in the site selection process, said Kathryn Shaver, NWMO Vice-President, APM Engagement and Site Selection.

The communities we are recognizing today helped advance our understanding of the geology in their area and its potential to safely and securely contain and isolate Canadas used nuclear fuel. By coming together to help advance Canadas plan, they have shown the way for collaboration, inclusiveness and decision-making, said Ms. Shaver.

Administered by the communities, well-being reserve funds could be used to support initiatives such as: projects, programs or services for community youth; scholarship programs for community youth; projects or programs to support community and strategic planning; projects, programs or services for Elders and community seniors; projects or programs to support community sustainability; projects or programs to support community economic development; and projects or programs to support energy efficiency.

Each eligible community will be required to establish a Community Well-Being Reserve Fund or similar mechanism to administer the funding.

Studies are continuing in the areas of nine Ontario communities that requested preliminary assessments as part of the NWMOs site selection process. Should the NWMO screen out additional areas from the site selection process during the Initial Studies phase of Preliminary Assessments, communities in close proximity to study areas that had been actively engaged would also be recognized.
– See more at: http://www.netnewsledger.com/2015/07/23/schreiber-area-communities-recognised-for-nuclear-waste-assessment/#sthash.8OtYM5by.dpuf

Braid: Is Notley handing Quebec a veto over Energy East pipeline?

Its sounds like theres a deal for getting the Energy East oil pipeline built.

The deal is: If Quebec likes Albertas climate change policy, Quebec will approve the pipeline.

Or, to look at the negative angle, if Quebec doesnt like the policy, the province will block the project.

This bottom line for pipeline approval is not directly related to pipeline safety, wildlife, environmental protection, routes, First Nation concerns, National Energy Board rulings, or beluga whale habitats.

Its a whole new hurdle that implies one province can block a national project because it disapproves of policy in another province 3,200 kilometres away.

Premier Rachel Notleys meeting Monday with Quebecs moderate Liberal Premier, Philippe Couillard, showed where the hammer swings ­ in Central Canada, not Alberta.


More from Don Braid, Calgary Herald

Published on: July 14, 2015 | Last Updated: July 14, 2015 9:34 PM MDT