What to do with spent nuclear waste – Letters to the Editor (September 2012)

Excerpts from Letters to the Editor of the Toronto Star in response to September 1st story by John Spears “Nuclear waste seeks a home” Published on Saturday September 08, 2012


This article, and the opinion piece by John Spears, is a good beginning. But what he neglected to give much attention to is the fact that what is being proposed is a central repository for all of Canada.

This means that spent fuel rods will have to be transported from eastern and central Canada, not to mention southern Ontario, to whichever of the 20 communities is selected for the facility – transported presumably by road, railroad and/or the St. Lawrence seaway and the lower Great Lakes.

Thus, the decision about where to place the facility is not solely a community concern but one that also affects everyone who lives along the transportation corridors that will move the fuel rods. It should be a regional decision as well, if not also national because under the NAFTA agreement the facility might be available for use by the United States as well.
Peter Storck, Southampton    Read story

The excellent exposition by John Spears on the logical and passionate sides for and against deep geological repositories (DGRs) of low- to high-level nuclear waste omits the possible productive elimination of nuclear fuel waste using now-available fast-neutron reactor (FNR) facilities.
Peter Ottensmeyer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Medical Biophysics University of Toronto Read story

Let’s be clear: all nuclear waste is lethal. Labeling high or low is strictly marketing. The OPG (Ontario Power Generation) and NWMO (Nuclear Waste Management Organization) are quietly targeting and paying under-resourced and under-prepared Great Lake communities to bury Canada’s for-profit nuclear industry’s deadly waste on the shores of the world’s largest body of fresh water, drinking water for more than 40 million people in two countries, and have the audacity to promise storage for 100,000 years, monitored for only 150 years, using untested science?

This is a national issue and cannot be left in the hands of a municipality.
Elizabeth Allan, Southampton  Read story

There is an alternative to burying nuclear waste: “burning” it in a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR). LFTRs have many advantages over conventional solid fueled uranium reactors, such as their very safe, low pressure, meltdown proof design as well as the ability to consume our stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel including the dangerous transuranics like plutonium, americium, etc.
Bruce Konyer, Lindsay Read story

Your article on nuclear waste asks readers to picture that we have “lived in the same house for more than half a century, and never taken out the garbage.” That is indeed pretty much the case with spent fuel in Canadian nuclear plants. Just about every spent fuel bundle is indeed stored at the same plant that burned it to make electricity.But that is where the analogy stops working…
Steve Aplin, consultant to nuclear industry clients, Ottawa Read story

The OPG and Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) processes for siting low, intermediate, and high level radioactive used nuclear waste in two deep geological repositories (DGR) is a deeply flawed process: It preys upon small northern towns desperate for jobs and industry, and, most importantly, the process is undeniably undemocratic. It is a process that seeks to bury low and intermediate radioactive waste in a separate DGR from high-level radioactive waste, when they can both be buried in one DGR together. The cost of this duplication is up to $24 billion.
Beverly Fernandez, Southampton Read story

In his diligence to cover all the angles of this sad nuclear saga, John Spears forgot to dig into the issue of where the up to $24 billion is coming from, the figure with which the NWMO is bribing those municipalities competing to host the nuclear waste repository. He seems to take it as a given that that huge amount is already sitting in a special bank account waiting to be doled out at each stage of the proposed project.
Ziggy Kleinau, Senior Energy Researcher, Great Lakes United, Binbrook Read story

I read John Spears’ article on burying radioactive waste with incredulity. If executed as planned, this would be the most heinous crime ever perpetrated by man as it would be against the interests of future generations and many life forms on earth. It is hard to imagine going back 100,000 years in man’s history, let alone 100,000 years into the future. There is no way we can have any confidence in a man-made structure lasting 100,000 years. Is it to be buried where it can be accessed and thereby by vulnerable to terrorist acts? Is it to be buried to be inaccessible so that if it leaks all is lost?
John Cook, Tottenham Read story

James Lovelock, one of the most respected environmentalists, offers to, “accept all of the high level waste produced in a year from a nuclear power station for deposit on my small plot of land.” He claims this would act as a long-term heat source for his home. In effect he is pointing out that this is a resource to be exploited for years or even generations to come.
Hugh Jones, Toronto Read story

Yes, this is a problem. One answer is stop producing this waste, though this is not likely to happen any time soon. Another answer is to treat the waste.
Jack Goering, Port Hope Read story

I would like to suggest a way of disposing of nuclear waste with some clear advantages over the current idea of burying it. We could send it much deeper into the Earth without having to dig at all. The conveyer belt is already up and running. It is the Cascadia Subduction Zone, just off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Here, the Juan de Fuca Plate (ocean floor) is continually diving under the North American Plate, as North America moves west, driven by the expanding North Atlantic Ridge.
Alan Craig, Brampton Read story

The article on radioactive fuel storage briefly touched on a few issues that I’d like to elaborate upon. Since the 1960s, Canadian nuclear reactors have been producing radioactive waste, and also since then the AECL has been researching options for long-term storage.

Bob Spies, Port Perry Read story

Thank you for the front-page article on nuclear waste, one of the biggest invisible elephants in our room. Burial in the Canadian Shield is now apparently the decision, the only question being who will take it for the up to 100,000 years needed for the fuel bundles to become harmless? In 1998, the federal government;s panel assessing the environmental impacts of such burial issued the report on its nine years of nation-wide testimony from scientists, host communities, civic leaders, First Nations, the nuclear industry –  everyone involved. The panel could not reach agreement.
Constance Moore Gardner, Toronto Read story