Trucks with radioactive cargo fail inspections

More than one truck in seven carrying radioactive cargo has been pulled off the road by Ontario transportation inspectors since 2010

By: John Spears Business reporter, Published on Fri Nov 15 2013

Since 2010, more than one truck in seven carrying radioactive material has been pulled off the road by Ontario ministry of transportation inspectors for failing safety or other requirements.

The information is contained in a notice quietly filed with a panel studying a proposal to store low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste in deep underground near Kincardine.

The information filed doesn’t specify what sort of radioactive cargos the trucks were carrying. In theory, it could have been anything from uranium fuel for nuclear reactors, to radioactive isotopes for medical use.

A spokesman for Ontario Power Generation said that none of its nuclear shipments has failed a vehicle inspection.

“We have zero tolerance” for failed inspections, Neal Kelly said. “We’ve got no infractions. Period.”

What the information does show is that since 2010, inspectors have examined 102 trucks carrying “Class 7 Dangerous Goods (Radioactive material.)”

Of those, 16 were placed “out-of-service,” which means the vehicle “must be repaired or the violation corrected before it is allowed to proceed.”

Among the violations:

Faulty brake lights; unspecified “load security” problems; flat tires; false log; damaged air lines; and driver with no dangerous goods training.

Critics of the Kincardine waste project have said not enough attention has been paid to the transportation of radioactive material.

A federal panel is considering a proposal by Ontario Power Generation to bury 200,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in chambers carved out of limestone 680 metres deep.

The billion-dollar depository would be constructed at the site of the Bruce nuclear plant on the shore of Lake Huron, north of Kincardine.

The site would not contain used fuel (although a separate process is considering sites for a used fuel disposal site in the area, as well as in other regions of Canada.)

The material destined for the site would range from mops and protective clothing – much of it incinerated – to components from reactor cores, which will remain dangerously radioactive for many thousands of years.

Some opponents of the site have closely questioned planners about transporting material to the site, which will contain waste from the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations as well as the Bruce plant.

That material is already being trucked to the Bruce site, and stored in warehouses or shallow underground vaults.

Brennain Lloyd of Northwatch said in an interview that the number of trucks pulled over until defects are remedies is “shocking.”

“It only heightens the need for a real substantive discussion on transportation and what are the transportation safeguards,” she said.

The lack of detail in the statistics adds to the need for further information, she said.

“I think it raises more questions than it retires, for sure,” she said.

Toronto city council joined the ranks of municipalities calling for the project to be halted this week.

In a motion adopted unanimously, councillors urged that “neither this proposed nuclear waste repository near Kincardine, Ontario, nor any other underground nuclear waste repository, be constructed in the Great Lakes Basin, in Canada, or in the United States.”

Councillor Mike Layton, who made the motion, said it’s impossible to guarantee the depository won’t leak over the millennia.

“We have a massive endowment of fresh water,” he said in an interview. “We shouldn’t be putting it at risk.”


Fears over nuclear-waste trains: Scotland (February 2013)

A meeting will be held at Dingwall next month to gather public views about the journeys, which started in December last year.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) plans to take 44 tonnes of spent fuel from the Caithness site for reprocessing at Sellafield.

For the full story, pick up a copy of today’s Press and Journal or read our digital edition now

By jane candlish

Published: 22/02/2013

Chalk River’s spent fuel rods to be shipped to U.S. (February 2013)

Move comes on heels of plan to transport toxic brew to South Carolina site

By IAN MACLEOD, Ottawa CitizenFebruary 13, 2013 8:09 AM

Highly radioactive nuclear reactor fuel rods are to be clandestinely shipped by road from Chalk River to the United States under a non-proliferation effort to rid the Upper Ottawa Valley site of bomb-grade uranium.

News of the spent fuel shipment follows a Citizen report Monday about separate preparations to transport a lethal brew of liquid weapons-grade uranium by armed convoy through Eastern Ontario to a South Carolina reprocessing site. It will be converted at the Savannah River Site into a form unusable for bomb-making.

Federal law prohibits officials from releasing details of the plans, including routing, timing and the number of transport truck trips planned.

As well, a 2011 federal government memo says the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) considers it unnecessary to hold public sessions that would allow citizens to ask questions and comment on the highly enriched uranium (HEU) repatriations to the U.S. The CNSC declined to comment on the memo Tuesday.

Documents from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission say an “expedited” approval is being sought for transport of the liquid HEU. It is believed to be the first time such a highly radioactive solution has been transported by road in North America and, according to U.S. commission documents, could happen as early as August.

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Canada’s high-level nuclear waste could be trucked to SRS (February 2013)

Liquid nuclear waste containing bomb-grade highly enriched uranium would be trucked from Canada for disposal at Savannah River Site under a first-of-its-kind proposal under development by the National Nuclear Security Administration and other agencies.


The Augusta Chronicle
Rob Pavey
February 12, 2013 8:20 PM EST

The material from Atomic Energy Canada Limited’s Chalk River Laboratory is part of a nonproliferation effort aimed at recovering U.S. origin highly enriched uranium distributed to research facilities in other countries. SRS confirmed at a recent citizens advisory board meeting that planning for such a shipment is underway.

The Canadian lab has used this uranium for decades to produce molybdenum-99, a source of technetium used medical diagnostic procedures. The process involves dissolving targets in acid, which yields a highly radioactive waste that contains residual highly enriched uranium.

Transporting highly radioactive liquid waste has never been attempted, according to environmental groups who are seeking an environmental impact study before the material can be moved.

“This proposed shipment of liquid high-level waste appears to be unprecedented,” said Tom Clements, the southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

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Nuclear Dump in Bruce – Transportation Risks (December 2012)

Monday, December 10, 2012 12:32:18 EST PM


This is the third of my five-part letter explaining why I am opposed to the building of a high-level, deep geological repository (HL-DGR) in Bruce County for the disposal of exhausted fuel rods from nuclear reactors.

In parts 1 and 2, I argued that Bruce County is a completely inappropriate location for a HL-DGR because: (1) it is in the midst of an agricultural and recreation/tourist region, (2) the stigma associated with nuclear waste might depress the county’s economy and also reduce land values, (3) a HL-DGR would create an imbalanced and boom-bust economy and (4) deeply buried nuclear waste has the potential for contaminating the environment and endangering human health.

In this, Part 3, I discuss the transportation risks associated with a HL-DGR and also the flawed site selection process in Bruce County.

Transportation risks.

A HL-DGR in Bruce County would be a centralized repository, serving the nuclear industry in all of Canada.  Thus, it would draw an estimated 53 road shipments per MONTH of highly dangerous radioactive material into the region from reactors and research laboratories in Manitoba, southern and eastern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.  Under the NAFTA agreement, the HL-DGR might also receive shipments from the United States which does not have a DGR.

Shipments to Bruce County from the west would have to be transported around Lake Superior and northern Lake Huron/Georgian Bay by rail or truck  – alternatively, by ship across the lakes.

Shipments from eastern Canada would have to be transported along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River and through the Greater Toronto Area, if not also through the St. Lawrence Seaway which traverses the densest populated regions of the country and is also adjacent to the border with the United States, raising (as does the use of the Great Lakes Waterway) international issues.

A centralized HL-DGR, no matter where located, involves extensive transportation of highly dangerous radioactive material.  And regardless of assurances about safety, accidents happen.  Locating a DGR in Bruce County creates an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence, as well as to the people living in their vicinity.

Flawed site selection process in Bruce County.

I believe that the search to find a location for the HL-DGR by Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is flawed in Bruce County because payments made to municipalities surrounding the Bruce generating station for their support for a low- and medium-level DGR at the Bruce generating station are a possible incentive for municipal interest in a high-level DGR.

Four of the five municipalities in the county that have expressed an interest in learning more about the HL-DGR have received, are currently receiving and have been promised, under the terms of the hosting agreement for the LM-DGR mentioned above, substantial sums of money (two one-time lump sum payments, in 2005 and 2013, and annual payments of smaller amounts through 2034) for supporting that facility at the Bruce generating station.  These municipalities stand to lose that money if they do not: “… in good faith, [exercise] best efforts to achieve any of … the milestones … to permit the construction and operation of the … [low- and medium-level DGR].”   This places municipal councils in an awkward position, if not a potential conflict of interest situation, with respect to the proposed HL-DGR.  Ontario Power Generation insists that the two projects are separate and distinct.  However, the hosting agreement for the LM-DGR may have influenced the decisions of local councils to express an interest in the HL-DGR  – councils being unwilling perhaps to jeopardize the hosting agreement by not also supporting NWMO’s search process for a HL-DGR and, simultaneously, also risk being left out of a potential future agreement (and financial benefits) for that repository.

Council’s response to criticism, at least in the case of Saugeen Shores, that it took action without prior consultation with the public for a project that is beyond the scope of the official municipal plan, is that the NWMO process incorporates an “Out option” at any time during steps 1 through 5 of the ten-step process, although council has not also suggested when or how that option might be triggered.  Thus, in Saugeen Shores at least, council seems interested in the potential financial benefits of a HL-DGR but appears to have no other considerations on behalf of the municipality; nor does it appear willing to take a leadership role in organizing community discussions, or even a referendum, independent of NWMO.

Lots to think about.

In Part 4 of my five-part letter explaining why I oppose a HL-DGR in Bruce County, I will discuss corporate convenience and scientific issues.

Peter L. Storck

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Nuclear fuel rod fragmentation under accidental conditions (December 2012)

December 3

This paper deals with fuel rod fragmentation during a core meltdown accident in a Nuclear Power Plant. If water is injected on the degraded core to stop the degradation, embrittled fuel rods may crumble to form a reactor debris bed. The size and the morphology of the debris are two key parameters which determine in particular heat transfer and flow friction in the debris bed and as a consequence its coolability. To address this question, a bibliographic survey is performed with the aim of evaluating the size and the surface area of the fragments resulting from fuel rod fragmentation. On this basis, a model to estimate the mean particle diameter obtained in a reflooded degraded core is proposed. Modelling results show that the particle size distribution is very narrow if we only take into account fuel cracking resulting from normal operating conditions. It leads to minimum mean diameters of 2.5 mm (for fuel particles), 1.35 mm (for cladding particles) and 2 mm (for the mixing of cladding and fuel fragments). These results are obtained with fuel rods of 9.5 mm outer diameter and cladding thickness of 570 μm. The particle size distribution is larger if fine fragmentation of the highly irradiated fuel rods during temperature rise is accounted for. This is illustrated with the computation by the severe accident code ASTEC, codeveloped by IRSN abd GRS, of the size of the debris expected to form in case of reflooding of a French 900 MW reactor core during a core meltdown accident.

Nuclear Engineering and Design,  Volume 255, February 2013, Pages 68–76

  • Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, IRSN/PSN-RES/SAG/LESAM, Cadarache Nuclear Center, BP 3, 13 115 St Paul Lez Durance cedex, France

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Nuclear waste disposal up for debate in northern Ontario (November 2012)

MP hosting meetings across region to shed more light on plans to store nuclear waste in north

CBC News Posted: Nov 12, 2012 8:25 AM ET 

A northern Ontario MP is holding a series of town hall meetings about the possible transportation and disposal of nuclear waste in northern Ontario to make sure everybody knows what the project entails.

Blind River, Elliot Lake, Spanish and the Township of the North Shore have all passed initial screenings in the search to find a home for Canada’s first nuclear waste disposal site. But Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Bruce Hyer said he’s concerned the project hasn’t been discussed enough in communities that might be close to the transportation corridors used to move the waste.

“While I feel the Nuclear Waste Management Organization has done a pretty good job of consulting with the towns that actually think they might like the repository, they have not done an adequate job at all of consulting with the wider community,” Hyer said.

He’s looking to move that discussion further along through a series of town hall meetings.

“Deferring the discussion with the communities along the likely transportation routes is not a good idea. It’s my contention that not just a few small towns [should] decide whether this waste comes to northern Ontario.”

If it’s approved, more than 600 shipments of nuclear waste would be transported annually to the new long-term disposal site.

A spokesperson with the NWMO said communities on the transportation routes will be consulted, but that won’t happen for another five years, when the current assessment stage is over.

Michael Krizanc said it will still be at least another decade before the location for the nuclear disposal site is chosen.

On Monday night, Hyer will hold a town hall meeting in Sudbury at St. Andrew’s Place on Larch Street from 7-9 p.m. Another meeting will take place in Sault Ste. Marie on Nov. 13.

Hyer said he will hold a number of other town hall meetings in northwestern Ontario over the next few weeks. So far, Hyer has held townhall meetings in Oshawa and Parry Sound.


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MP hopes of better understand feelings toward nuclear waste transportation (November 2012)

2012-11-12 at NOON

By Jeff Labine,

Bruce Hyer has gone on tour to see how people feel about possibly transporting 50,000 tonnes of nuclear waste through their community.

The independent MP for Thunder Bay – Superior North started his tour of northeastern Ontario with a stop in Oshawa on Thursday then moved to Parry Sound. Hyer then continued to Sudbury on Monday where he will hold a town hall meeting.

His final destination will be in Sault Ste Marie on Tuesday.

Hyer picked Parry Sound, Sudbury and Sault Saint Marie because of the potential impact a nuclear disposal site could have on them.

He said the Nuclear Waste Management Organization hasn’t had discussions with communities about a transportation route.

“It doesn’t matter where it is because we’re talking about 600 more trucks a year or 60 trains a year for decades to transport all of these materials and its high level nuclear waste,” Hyer said.

“That’s a lot of waste. Many people are surprised by the amount and the frequency of the trucks.”

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is looking to finding a suitable spot for a nuclear storage facility. The multibillion-dollar infrastructure project will require a surface area of 250 acres for the buildings and a depth of 500 metres.

Hyer said he’s doing this tour on the transportation route because the NWMO has so far refused to do it.

The organization only held meetings in towns that were interested in being a host community and not in neighbouring communities that would be affected by the route, he said.

“What I am doing is not an adequate substitute by any means for the MWNO doing this in a more complete way,” he said. “I’m getting a sense of the general public’s feelings and what their concerns are and I’m also raising awareness.

“I’m hopeful that what it will do is to broaden the discussion and start a different kind of discussion. You can read a lot of reports but a first hand, live interaction I think is important. I’m listening more than saying. I’m not saying much other than the very basic facts.”

Hyer plans to head back to Thunder Bay once he finishes his town hall meeting in Wawa.

Hyer then plans to hold another town hall meeting in Thunder Bay over the weekend, but likely on a different issue — bringing Via rail back to the North.

That meeting is scheduled for Saturday at the 55 Plus Centre on River Street at 2 p.m.

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Where will the nuclear waste go? Local MP launches nuclear waste route tour (November 2012)

November 13, 2012
By Stephanie Simko, Staff Writer
The Argus (Thunder Bay Student Newspaper)

The nuclear industry in Canada is coming close to finalizing a site which will house the country’s accumulated waste -waste that will remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), responsible for approaching communities and pitching the potential economic benefits of housing nuclear waste while skirting environmental disadvantages, has settled on a list twenty-one potential communities. Thirteen of these perspective repositories are within the region of Northwestern Ontario, including Ignace, Nipigon, Schreiber, Wawa, Manitouwadge and Elliot Lake.

“It’s one of the biggest decisions that these community residents will ever have to make, and Northwestern Ontario will be greatly impacted,” says Independent MP Bruce Hyer, who launched his town-hall style tour earlier in November. Hyer will be holding meetings in Southern and Northern Ontario to hear from citizens, hoping to raise awareness of the opportunities and risks associated with nuclear waste. Though he maintains an ambivalent stance on his own personal or professional opinion about the long-term storage solution for nuclear waste, Hyer is choosing to focus his energies on getting the NWMO to consult communities along the transportation corridors of the nuclear waste.

“Regardless of the location that’s chosen, people in a number of communities are likely to see trucks or trains loaded with nuclear waste passing near-or through-their town someday.”

Hyer notes that many citizens are not aware of the fifty thousand metric tonne stockpile of nuclear waste waiting to find a permanent storage site. “The communities on the transportation route will bear some risk on any potential nuclear waste spill or accident, so they should have a say sooner rather than later.”

Officials estimate close to fifty-three shipments a month by truck, ship, or train could be seen over the next thirty years as more than two million used nuclear fuel rods – similar in size to a fire log – are transported to their final destination.

Hyer held his first meetings in Parry Sound, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie earlier in the week, and plans to visit the Pickering Nuclear Power Plant on Monday; more details and future legs of the tour will be announced within the month.

A visit to Thunder Bay will undoubtedly include discussion of Ontario Power Generation’s transition from coal-generatedto nuclear power, a conversion projected to be completed by 2015. “Shutting out people that will be impacted won’t help us come to a satisfactory solution. With the scale of this particular problem and long-term impacts faced, this is one decision that has to be done right.”

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SKB launches new nuclear fuel vessel (October 2012)

 30 Oct 2012

Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company, SKB, has launched its new vessel, the  “M/S Sigrid”, at Galati shipyard, Romania.

The M/S Sigrid has been designed and built by Dutch owned Damen Shipyards which owns the Galati shipyard, for the transportation of nuclear fuel and radioactive waste from SKB’s nuclear power facilities in Oskarshamn and Forsmark.

The new vessel is somewhat larger than its predecessor, M/S Sigyn, measuring LOA 99.5m, with a top speed of 12 knots, allowing it to transport up to 12 nuclear waste containers and 20% more cargo than its predecessor.

Bo Sundman, director of operations, SKB, said: “The launch marks an important milestone in the project. 20 months ago, this vessel was nothing more than a drawing. Now she is a reality. The vessel is the result of hard work and good project management.”

SKB’s newest vessel includes a double hull, radiation protection, four engines and other multiple systems and is designed to operate more efficiently.

The M/S Sigrid is expected to arrive at the Port of Oskarshamn in summer 2013.

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