Swedish nuclear waste burial plan goes to next step in review (June 2016)

The regulator has now also assessed that SKB has the potential to comply with SSM’s nuclear safety and radiation protection requirements for the final disposal of used fuel in its proposed repository at Forsmark. The SSM has recommended to the Land and Environment Court that the repository system “should be deemed a permissible activity according to the Swedish Environmental Code”.

The SSM said it based its assessment on SKB having sufficiently demonstrated: the rationale behind the choice of Forsmark as the preferred location for the repository; the rationale behind the preferred method for final disposal; and its capability meet radiation safety requirements during the development and operation of the encapsulation and repository facilities.
The Swedish company SKB’s proposal for a deep geological repository for nuclear fuel waste is moving to the next stage in the review process, which began in 2011. In future steps, the SKB will have to demonstrate the repository’s radiological long-term safety.”

The review agency is expected to issue its final opinion 2017. The final decision to authorize the project will be made by the government, which will base its decision on the assessments of both the SSM and the Land and Environment Court. However, before the government makes a final decision, it will consult with the municipalities of Oskarshamn and Östhammars, which have the power to veto the application.

Source: Story published by World Nuclear News
Swedish regulator approves repository application

29 June 2016

The licence application by Sweden’s radioactive waste management company for an integrated system for the final disposal of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste has been endorsed by the country’s Radiation Safety Authority (SSM). A final decision to licence the facilities will be made next year.

Forsmark used fuel repository concept – 460 (SKB)
An artist’s impression of the planned repository concept, with its 66-kilometre network of underground tunnels (Image: SKB)

Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB) submitted applications to build the country’s first repository for used nuclear fuel, together with a plant to encapsulate the fuel prior to disposal, to the SSM in March 2011. The integrated facility – the encapsulation plant and the Clab interim storage facility – is referred to in SKB’s application as Clink. SKB has since made both clarifications and additions to the applications. The company has also submitted an application to extend the storage capacity of the Clab facility from the current 8000 tonnes of fuel to 11,000 tonnes.

The applications are being reviewed by the SSM and the Land and Environment Court in Stockholm. The SSM is considering questions of nuclear safety and radiation at the facilities as laid down in the country’s Nuclear Activities Act. The review undertaken by the Land and Environment Court is based on the Environment Code.

In March, the SSM gave a positive assessment of SKB’s application for its planned used nuclear fuel encapsulation plant next to the Clab interim storage facility in Oskarshamn.

The regulator has now also assessed that SKB has the potential to comply with SSM’s nuclear safety and radiation protection requirements for the final disposal of used fuel in its proposed repository at Forsmark. The SSM has recommended to the Land and Environment Court that the repository system “should be deemed a permissible activity according to the Swedish Environmental Code”.

The SSM said it based its assessment on SKB having sufficiently demonstrated: the rationale behind the choice of Forsmark as the preferred location for the repository; the rationale behind the preferred method for final disposal; and its capability meet radiation safety requirements during the development and operation of the encapsulation and repository facilities.

Ansi Gerhardsson, head of radiation safety at SSM, said: “We assess that SKB, at this stage of the authorization process, has adequately demonstrated the repository can be safe over the long term from the perspective of nuclear safety and radiation protection.”

She added, “The Authority carries out a stepwise authorization process, which means that if the Swedish government decides that a licence is to be granted, we will at each stage in the process examine whether SKB’s repository fulfils our safety requirements. For future authorization steps, SKB will need to carry out further development of its safety analysis report to demonstrate the repository’s radiological long-term safety.”

SKB president Christopher Eckerberg said, “SKB’s safety assessment shows that we have the conditions to build a secure repository that meets regulatory requirements for safety after closure. This has also now been confirmed by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.”

“For the next steps in the licensing process, SKB’s research and technology development will continue, partly in cooperation with Finland, where our method has already been approved by the authorities,” he said.

The SSM is scheduled to issue its final opinion on the repository and encapsulation plant in 2017. The final decision to authorize the project will be made by the government, which will base its decision on the assessments of both the SSM and the Land and Environment Court. However, before the government makes a final decision, it will consult with the municipalities of Oskarshamn and Östhammars, which have the power to veto the application.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

As posted 29 June 2016 at http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR-Swedish-regulator-approves-repository-application-2906164.html

Swiss news source clarifies that underground laboratory is in rock formation not under study in Canada (June 2016)

A story posted on the Swiss news site www.swissinfo.ch provides an interesting additional detail to the information regularly provided by the NWMO about the project. The NWMO regularly references the Swiss underground research project and their involvement, and in some instances includes the detail that studies involve Opalinus Clay, but in no instances found in our search of NWMO documents did the NWMO clarify that the laboratory itself is located in a broad band of Opalinus Clay, and not in a rock formation similar to those found at any sites the NWMO is investigating in Canada.

“Nuclear waste is no match for ancient rock”, By Celia Luterbacher, St Ursanne, as posted on Swissinfo.ch

A special type of clay found beneath Swiss soil could solve the dilemma of what to do with the thousands of cubic metres of waste that will remain after Switzerland’s five nuclear power plants shut down.

If you join one of the subterranean tours at the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory in St Ursanne, canton Jura, the first thing you will see as you make the 300-metre descent is a dark tunnel lined with seeping, moist rock.

Go on a bit further, and suddenly the walls of the tunnel become bone dry. This marks the geological transition between limestone and Opalinus Clay – and for the Mont Terri Project (MTP) scientists, it’s as good as striking gold.

Read full story

As posted 27 June 2016 at

Borehole Backers Abandon Spink County After Local Opposition (June 2016)

Redfield, SD | Organizers of a federal effort to assess whether nuclear waste can be stored deep underground have abandoned Spink County as a potential site because of local resistance.

A spokesman for Battelle, the nonprofit [sic] managing the project, said Tuesday that county commissioners made it clear they were against hosting the experiment before organizers applied to move forward.

Commission Chairman Dave Albrecht says there’s been “overwhelming opposition” to the plan from the beginning.

The U.S. Energy Department project is meant to help determine whether deep rock is suitable for nuclear waste disposal, but it would not involve any actual waste.

Still, organizers faced opposition. Before that, officials in Pierce County, North Dakota, voted to formally oppose allowing the experiment there.

Battelle spokesman T.R. Massey says there are alternative sites, but declined to reveal where.
News General

June 21, 2016, © 2016 Associated Press. As posted at http://www.keloland.com/news/article/news/borehole-backers-abandon-spink-county-after-local-opposition

NWMO message man MIke Krizanic is leaving the scene

CFNO (Al Cresswell): Longtime Nuclear Waste Management Organization employee Michael Krizanc is calling it a career. The NWMO’s communications director is retiring at month’s end. He’s being replaced by Bradley Hammond. The former Ontario Ministry of Energy staffer says he’s looking forward to the challenge.

BRADLEY HAMMOND (New Communications Director for the NWMO): It’s one of the most fascinating projects out there in Canada right now. It represents some meaningful opportunities for the communities that are involved. And I think the direction of the organization is a positive one, and I’m really thrilled to have the opportunity to get together, and learn from Mike as we’re out on the road, and you know, learn from the communities that we get a chance to interact with and be in. So it’s a pleasure so far.

CFNO: The NWMO is seeking a community in which to house a deep geological repository, one that would house nuclear waste. There are currently nine Canadian communities still in the running, including the towns of Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, and White River.

Source: Station: CFNO FM (Your Hometown Sound) City: Marathon
Program: Regional News DATE: 2016-Jun-17 7:01AM

Government launches review of environmental and regulatory processes to restore public trust – CNSC gets mention under “scope of review”

Environmental assessment processes as conducted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission are to be included in a review of federal environmental assessment announced today by the Government of Canada.

June 20, 2016, Ottawa – The belief that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand in hand is central to the health and well-being of Canadians as we work to get resources to market and develop infrastructure projects responsibly in the twenty-first century.

The Government of Canada took a first step to deliver on its commitment to review and restore confidence in Canada’s environmental and regulatory processes in January 2016 with the launch of an interim approach and principles for projects currently undergoing an environmental assessment.

Today, a comprehensive review of environmental and regulatory processes was launched by the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

To ensure an efficient process, the review is being closely coordinated across government departments and will focus on the following components:

· Rebuilding trust in environmental assessment processes;

· Modernizing the National Energy Board; and

· Restoring lost protections and introducing modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.

Consultation will be at the core of this review. The Government believes that rebuilding trust begins with a coordinated, open and transparent process based on scientific evidence, working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, and provinces and territories, and taking into account input from a range of stakeholders, including the public, industry, and environmental groups.

Canadians are invited to learn more and share their views at Canada.ca/environmentalreviews.

See this news release in full at . The reference to the CNSC is under “Scope of the Review” in the document at

Mayors renew push against nuke DGR (June 2016)

Sarnia Observer | Mayors along the Great Lakes Basin renewed their push this week to keep nuclear waste from ending up near their drinking water supply.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, representing about 120 municipalities, passed a resolution Wednesday calling for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to recognize “the value of staying as far away as possible” from the water source for 40 million people.

In February, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna called on OPG to further study its plan for a repository in 450-million-year-old rock near Kincardine.

She tasked OPG with looking at different sites, updating cumulative environmental effects, and updating mitigation commitments.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley wasn’t at the conference in Niagara Falls, New York, but was one of a group of mayors who vetted the resolution – including calls for OPG to respond in a “thorough and comprehensive manner” to McKenna’s request for more information, for national governments in Canada and the United States to evaluate “social acceptability” of any proposed repository for nuclear waste, and for both countries to designate radionuclides (radioactive particles) under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

“It’s our hope that (Canada’s) government will reject (OPG’s proposal) and say it should not be in the Great Lakes Basin,” Bradley said, noting nearly 200 municipalities, First Nations and environmental groups have signed resolutions in opposition.

OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly said the corporation plans to provide the update to McKenna by year’s end.

It’s considering two other sites, in sedimentary rock in central Ontario, and granite rock in central-east Ontario, he said.

“The study is not to seek a new willing host community,” he said. “We still firmly believe that Kincardine is the best site for this DGR (deep geologic repository), but we are looking at two geological regions in the province.”

A joint review panel previously gave the proposal – to bury and seal in the rock irradiated materials like incinerated mops and clothing, and used reactor filters – its stamp of approval.

“We have a responsibility to deal with the waste and not pass it onto future generations,” Kelly said, adding there is scientific support for the proposal as the “safest solution.”

Bradley said approving the project would be politically perilous.

“The groups that I’ve been involved in, all the different organizations that have been against this, it’s massive across the whole Great Lakes region,” he said. “All we’re saying is we understand the need to care of the waste, we just do not believe it should be in the Great Lakes Basin.”

TKula, By Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer,Friday, June 17, 2016 5:29:23 EDT PM, as posted at http://www.theobserver.ca/2016/06/17/mayors-renew-push-against-nuke-dgr

How much radiation is OK in an emergency? (June 2016)

The New Mexican | New guidelines proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would significantly increase the amount of radiation that people can ingest in the days and years following a radiological accident — levels far higher than existing limits set by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

Watchdog groups, academics and even some EPA officials worry the change could severely compromise public health.

The agency’s proposal, released in early June and open for public comment until July 25, suggests a two-tiered system to advise the public when water is too dangerous for consumption after a radiological release — an event ranging from an accident at a nuclear power plant, such as the 1979 reactor meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania, to a roadside spill of Cold War-era transuranic waste from Los Alamos to a deliberate act of terrorism. The agency has capped the proposed limits at 500 millirems per year for people over 15, and no more than 100 millirems for younger children, the elderly, and pregnant or nursing women.

The new emergency guidelines are at least 25 times higher than the current guidelines, which cap public consumption of radiation at 4 millirems per year. Opponents of the proposal say it will allow radiation exposure equivalent to 250 chest X-rays each year without medical need or consent. Others, however, say the limits are conservative and far more restrictive than international standards.


By Rebecca Moss, The New Mexican,Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2016 11:00 pm | Updated: 11:26 pm, Sat Jun 18, 2016, as posted at http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/how-much-radiation-is-ok-in-an-emergency/article_b2eee300-1f19-5374-a83d-5f95c5df1853.html

Documentary about nuclear workers (June 2016)

A documentary about St. Louis nuclear workers will screen at 7 p.m. June 22 at Carmike Cinemas 12 in Kennewick.

The film, called The Safe Side of the Fence, “tells of the story of the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works workers who helped refine the uranium for the worlds first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction for the Manhattan Project,” a news release said.

“As a result of their work, the Mallinckrodt workers would become some of the most contaminated nuclear workers in history, and St. Louis would face the challenge of cleaning up some of the worlds first nuclear waste,” it said.

For more information on the film, go to http://www.thesafesideofthefence.com.

Read story here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article84254982.html#storylink=cpy

“Two New Studies: Good News For Nuclear” (but bad for the world! and northern Ontario in particular) June 2016

OTTAWA, June 13, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canadian Nuclear Association is pleased with the release of two new independent studies commissioned by the Ontario government on the benefits of advanced nuclear technologies.

The first study, “Feasibility of the Potential Deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Ontario”, assesses SMR siting requirements, technological maturity, and economics. The second study, “A Feasibility Study on the Recycling of Used CANDU Fuel”, explores the prospects to reuse and recycle used CANDU fuel – determining their feasibility, and potential implications for policies…

“The government of Ontario’s initiation of these studies is a further sign that it sees the potential of nuclear to help meet environmental and economic goals,” said CNA President John Barrett….


Natural Resources Canada co-funded the two independent studies, initiated by the Ontario Ministry of Energy (MOE).

Both studies have been released to the public by Ontario, and are online http://ontarioenergyreport.ca/data-catalogue.php#Supply (under the “supply” drop down menu) for your interest.

SOURCE Canadian Nuclear Association, as posted at As posted at http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/cnw/release.html?rkey=20160613C3107&filter=5611

The SMR report is at http://ontarioenergyreport.ca/pdfs/MOE%20-%20Feasibility%20Study_SMRs%20-%20June%202016.pdf

The “recycling” report is at http://ontarioenergyreport.ca/pdfs/MOE%20-%20Feasibility%20Study_Used%20Fuel%20Recycling%20-%20June%202016.pdf

Analysis: Generations saddled with Pinawa nuclear burial (June 2016)

The decommissioning plan for the Pinawa nuclear site has suddenly changed. The overly optimistic scheme to restore this beautiful Whiteshell environment to its original state has stalled. Manitobans for generations to come will have to deal with a rotting hulk of radioactive concrete because the reactor itself will not be taken apart and moved off-site.

In the same way officials at Chernobyl and Fukushima have entombed their damaged reactors in concrete, the defunct WR1 nuclear reactor near the Whiteshell appears to be headed for the same fate. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), which operates the site, refers to the plan as “in-situ,” which essentially means leaving all the underground reactor parts where they are and covering them up with “grout” or concrete.

The original detailed decommissioning plan established in 2013 was to remove the reactor vessels and primary heat transport system. The altered “in-situ” plan, soon to be approved by officials in Ottawa, appears to be motivated in part by the desire to speed up the process to save money and most likely because the reactor components are so radioactive.

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) had plans for “greenfields” (land accessible to the public) for the Pinawa site but these have reached a proverbial brick wall. Pipedreams and high hopes have always been the hallmark of the nuclear industry, but as Tokyo photographer Jan Nakasuji stated in the Japan Times when commenting on the Fukushima nuclear crisis (which followed the 2011 earthquake and tsunami): “Human beings succeeded in gaining nuclear power by using highly developed technologies. But when that power gets out of control, people can only take simple and primitive measures to fix it.”

The WR1 was a research reactor that was started in 1965 and ran until 1985, but not without major leaks and accidents. The reactor experienced the failure of a valve in 1979 that resulted in more than 2,700 litres of radioactive oil being released into the Winnipeg River. In 1980, close to 700 litres were released.

The most significant event, however, was a cracked fuel rod, which proved to be a near-catastrophic event resulting in an extensive radiation release within the containment area. This could well be the reason for sealing the lower components as they may be too hot to handle. A full public disclosure of this accident has yet to be made.

Significant decisions are being made by CNL, an offshoot of the federal Crown corporation AECL, which is dismantling both the Pinawa and Chalk River nuclear sites under the nuclear legacy liabilities program. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr (responsible for AECL) recently referred to this arrangement as a government-owned, contractor-operated model, and it doesn’t appear his department wants much to do with it.

To date, $1.4 billion has been spent to end the risks and liabilities of AECL which, ironically, created many of these monumental boondoggles in the first place. Manitoba has the High-Level Radioactive Waste Act that prevents the permanent disposal of nuclear waste. Perhaps it is time Premier Brian Pallister let AECL and CNL know they will be breaking the law by entombing their reactor, and threaten to fine them the required penalty of $1 million per day.

Essentially, it has become too difficult and expensive to dismantle and dig up the radioactive waste at the Pinawa site, and the result is the province will wind up with a de facto nuclear waste facility.

Yet-to-be-born Manitobans will be saddled with the responsibility for monitoring this sarcophagus. The WR1 and its concrete tomb will be around a lot longer than King Tut’s grave.

Dave Taylor is a freelance writer and an instructor at the University of Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Free Press, By: Dave TaylorPosted: 06/11/2016 4:00 AM, as posted at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/generations-saddled-with-pinawa-nuclear-burial-382560931.html