6,000-page megapetition dumps on nuke vault plan at Kincardine (January 2016)

A petition — so big that, with accompanying comments, it would have run 6,000 pages — is in the federal environment minister’s in-box to argue against a deep nuclear waste storage vault along the Great Lakes near ­Kincardine.

The document represents “a very strong voice” opposed to the underground nuclear-waste repository, said Beverly Fernandez, head of Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, which has lobbied against the plan by provincial electricity producer Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is expected to rule this spring whether to endorse OPG’s plan, already green-lighted by a federal review panel, to bury low-grade radioactive waste from Ontario’s nuclear plants in a proposed limestone vault deeper than the CN Tower is high.

The petition has the backing of Southwestern Ontario’s ranking mayor, Mike Bradley of Sarnia, who worked with organizers. He notes his city is the largest along Lake Huron, its shore a little more than a kilometre from where the deep-burial vault would be drilled in the Bruce Peninsula’s rock.

“I would like the new Trudeau government to send a strong environmental message about being protectors of the Great Lakes and deny application for the repository,” Bradley said Wednesday.

OPG says the rock below lands at the Bruce Power station — the provincially owned but privately run complex that is the world’s largest operating nuclear plant — is impermeable, so stable it hasn’t changed in tens of millions of years.

The waste would include dry material that has come into contact with the nuclear-generating process, but would not include spent fuel rods.

But critics say if there’s a need for below-ground nuclear-waste storage, it shouldn’t be anywhere near the Great Lakes, a source of drinking water for 40 million people in Canada and the U.S.

More than 180 Canadian and U.S. communities representing about 20 million people, including Toronto and Chicago, have logged their opposition to the proposal.

Read full story

By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press, Wednesday, January 20, 2016 10:18:37 EST PMWith files by Dan Brown, The London Free Press

Petition opposing nuclear waste burial sent to Canadian leaders (January 2016)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Opponents of a plan to bury waste from nuclear power plants less than a mile from Lake Huron have submitted a petition with more than 92,000 signatures to Canada’s top environment official.

Ontario Power Generation wants to bury 7.1 million cubic feet of low-
and intermediate-level nuclear waste about 2,230 feet deep near Kincardine, Ontario.

The company says the waste would be entombed in rock and wouldn’t endanger the lake. But opponents contend it’s too risky.

A Canadian advisory panel endorsed the project last year. But after the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a decision was delayed until March 1.

Beverly Fernandez of a group called Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump says the petition was sent this week to Catherine McKenna, the minister of Environment

The Associated Press, Published Thursday, January 21, 2016 7:12AM EST, as posted at http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/petition-opposing-nuclear-waste-burial-sent-to-canadian-leaders-1.2746110

German jibe at ‘dirty’ Swedish nuclear waste site (January 2016)

The chairman of Germany’s nuclear waste committee sharply criticised Sweden’s proposed site for radioactive waste on Tuesday (19 January).

“I have seldom seen such a disorderly and also dirty situation as there,” Michael Mueller told a group of journalists at a seminar organised by non-profit organisation Clean Energy Wire.

Sweden is planning to store highly radioactive waste underneath the site of a nuclear plant in the coastal town of Forsmark, around 100 km north of Stockholm.

Last year, Finland approved the construction of an underground repository at the island of Olkiluoto, and other countries have yet to begin the process of selecting a site where radioactive waste can be stored permanently.

Michael Mueller leads Germany’s commission on the storage of highly radioactive waste materials, which is in charge of defining criteria on the basis of which the German government can decide where to build its long-term storage facilities for radioactive waste.

He said a European approach to the problem was preferable but unlikely.

“I think it would be good if there was a European solution, but only if everybody accepts the standard that we go for the best possible solution. But if I look at Europe now, I see that the positions diverge so widely that I find it very hard to imagine a European solution is possible,” he said.

“I can tell you, with our commission we have travelled to different countries. What I saw in Sweden, I didn’t really find this very convincing. Even less in Finland, where it seems the solution is you buy a peninsula, you start drilling and see what happens. This is nothing that would be possible in Germany.”

READ FULL STORY

By Peter Teffer, EU Observer, Berlin, 20. Jan, 16:55 as posted at https://euobserver.com/energy/131924

DOE drilling project studies ND rock 16,000 feet down (January 2016)

Two entities with a great deal of experience in the Bakken will be working with the Battelle laboratories on a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) drilling project in North Dakota that’s not looking for oil.

Battelle’s partners on the DOE research project near Rugby, North Dakota, are the University of North Dakota (UND) Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), Schlumberger and Solexperts, a Swiss geologic testing company. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization.

Rod Osborne, Battelle’s energy business line manager, said that although some of the drilling done by Schlumberger will be similar to that in the Bakken for oil and gas, its purpose is to gather data on crystalline bedrock formations 16,000 feet below the surface. DOE will study their suitability for nuclear waste storage.

In fact, Osborne said the site was selected because it was far from oil and gas activity in the Williston Basin.

“DOE didn’t want to go into an area that already had a lot of drilling activity,” he explained. “They wanted it in a seismically inactive area with no known faults or fractures deep underground.”

READ FULL STORY

By Patrick C. Miller | January 20, 2016, The Bakken Magazine, at http://thebakken.com/articles/1440/doe-drilling-project-studies-nd-rock-16-000-feet-down

Why we should care about the smelly water in Flint, Michigan (January 2016)

The water crisis there puts the spotlight on opposition Ontario Power Generation’s plan to store low level nuclear waste near Lake Huron.

Just try to overstate the water crisis in Flint, Mich.

That regulatory authorities would turn a blind eye to what can simply be described as knowingly poisoning children through lead excrescence from water pipes is an atrocity of epic proportions. And one that will play out over the years and decades. Any child who drank Flint water has been exposed to lead. The number runs close to 10,000…

I’m betting that Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is paying close attention to all this. Why? Two words. Lake. Huron.

The flip side of the dirty water Flint River scandal is the historic reliance on water from the Great Lakes. DWSD was piping Lake Huron water to Flint and the planned KWA pipeline would do the same. The bigger picture: about 40 million Canadians and Americans rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water.

The flip side of the dirty water Flint River scandal is the historic reliance on water from the Great Lakes. DWSD was piping Lake Huron water to Flint and the planned KWA pipeline would do the same. The bigger picture: about 40 million Canadians and Americans rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water.

Long before the Flint story broke, political opposition was mounting in Michigan to a plan this side of the border that would see Ontario Power Generation sink a so-called deep geological repository little more than a kilometre from the shores of Lake Huron on the edge of the Michigan Basin…

Excerpted; Read the full story

By: Jennifer Wells Business Columnist, Published on Tue Jan 19 2016, as posted at http://www.thestar.com/business/2016/01/19/why-we-should-care-about-the-smelly-water-in-flint-michigan.html

Orillia wades into nuclear debate (January 2016)

Orillia council wants Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to explore more alternatives for the disposal of its low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste.

A letter to the federal minister of the environment and climate change will be drafted by the mayor’s office, requesting all options be explored when it comes to storing nuclear waste.

Currently, the waste’s final home is proposed to be a deep geologic repository (DGR), constructed near the Bruce Power nuclear station on Lake Huron.

Deciding on the wording of the motion was a bit of a process.

Coun. Tim Lauer initially called for the mayor’s office to stress the importance of seeking alternatives to the DGR. Coun. Ted Emond, however, had a different concern.

“I’m encouraged by Coun. Lauer’s motion that suggests that alternatives ought to be looked at, but I find it inappropriate when someone says ‘be against something’ but doesn’t come forward with a viable alternative solution that we can consider,” Emond said. “The science of this has been researched — and I do understand there is opposition to it — but I expect that, regardless of what solution ultimately comes forward, there will be opposition to it.”

Emond put forward an alternative of his own, wanting the letter from the mayor’s office to request OPG review all of the options available for construction. The wording of Emond’s suggested amendment drew the ire of Lauer, who felt it took his own amendment in a different direction.

“That’s a completely different thing,” Lauer said. “‘To seek alternatives how to construct this pit.’ I don’t get that. That’s … a huge difference.”

During a quick break, council and city staff came up with wording that appeased everyone.

For the past decade, OPG has been planning to construct a DGR in Kincardine’s north end, just more than a kilometre inland from Lake Huron, to house low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. Low-level waste includes items used at nuclear facilities, such as mop heads, gloves, clothes and floor sweepings. Intermediate-level waste includes used filters and resins, and reactor components.

A vocal opposition group, Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, has called on municipalities throughout Ontario and Michigan, among other jurisdictions, to support resolutions calling on the project to be cancelled. The issue first came before the local council last summer and, as Lauer admitted, fell under the radar at the time. Emails from a concerned resident convinced him to bring the item up back to the council table for reconsideration.

As of Dec. 21, more than 180 jurisdictions bordering the Great Lakes had passed resolutions calling on OPG to not build the DGR so close to Lake Huron. Of those jurisdictions, none are in Bruce County, where the DGR is proposed to be located.

patrick.bales@sunmedia

Patrick Bales, The Orillia Packet & Times, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, As posted at http://www.orilliapacket.com/2016/01/19/city-wades-into-nuclear-debate

Cask drops and fails in Chalk River Nuclear Reactor Fuel Rod Bay (January 2016)

An item was posted on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissions public registry describing an incident at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory. In summary, a cask was being loaded in the fuel bay at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory and when dropped into place (note: according the report available this was a planned drop) the bottom plate fell off and fell to the pool floor. The incident is significant because a) this is a cask approved for the transport of liquid highly enriched uranium, b) under investigation it was found that the welds were faulty and the welders unqualified, and c) because of the these failures the cask was out of compliance with the criteria used to approve it as the cask for the transfer of the liquid highly enriched uranium.

No notice of this incident has been found on the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s system.

Excerpt from notice:
On November 2, 2015 CNL informed NAC of an issue with a caddy assembly in the CNL rod bay
pool. During the loading operation in the CNL rod bay pool, the caddy assembly bottom plate to tube
weld failed after an NRX fuel element was lowered and released into the caddy assembly. The fuel
element was lowered until it was approximately 6 – 8 inches above the caddy assembly bottom. It
was then released to drop the remaining distance so it would be fully seated in the bottom of the
caddy assembly. At the instant of contact, the fuel element broke loose the bottom plate of the caddy
assembly and fell to the fuel pool floor. This weld joint failure is reportable under 10 CFR
71.95(a)(3) because two shipments of NRX fuel in similar caddies were completed with conditions of
approval in the Certificate of Compliance (CoC) were not observed in making a shipment.
Specifically, license drawing 3 15-40-175, Revision 1 calls out this weld and the weld inspection
acceptance criteria.

Columbia Hi Tech (CHT) constructed the caddy assemblies and has entered this issue into their
corrective action program as CAR-l15-052. Upon investigation it has been determined by CHT that
two of the qualified welders used to construct the caddy assemblies were not qualified for the
specific caddy assembly bottom plate to tube weld joint configuration. Thus, the acceptance criteria
identified in Note i to license drawing 3 15-40-175, Revision 1 was not met. Not meeting this criteria
results in not meeting the condition of approval listed in the CoC where the caddy assembly is to be
constructed in accordance with the license drawing.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, posted December 15, 2015, at https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML16005A115