NWMO:No showstoppers to exclude Central Huron as potential host for nuclear waste (February 2013)

HEATHER BOA Bullet News CLINTON – There are no red flags to exclude Central Huron as a possible location for long-term underground storage of the country’s high-level nuclear from spent fuel cells, according to an initial screening review.

A desktop review of readily available information available from resources like the Ontario Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Library, provincial ministries of the environment, natural resources and culture and information from the low- and medium-level nuclear waste repository licensed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at the Bruce Power site (its Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Safety Report is currently in public comment period) were used to determine whether there were showstoppers that would make the community unsuitable for a deep geological repository, said Bob Leech, a geologist from AECOM, a consulting firm hired by Nuclear Waste Management Organization. He delivered his findings to Central Huron Council during a meeting held at the Central Huron Community Complex to accommodate local residents who wanted to hear the presentation. Public meetings are scheduled for March 26 and 27.

Leech said it’s a “layer cake geology” of about 32 layers in this eastern flank of the Michigan Basin, with the Precambrian Canadian Shield at its base. More than 1,000 water wells, spent oil and gas pools now used to store natural gas, sand and gravel pits, and fingers of salt that extend inland from Lake Huron all occur in rock layers above the 450-million-year-old shale, dolostone and limestone layers where the underground storage facility will be built. The facility, with shafts and buildings, will require about 100 hectares – or nearly 250 acres – of surface land, with the large caverns built at least 500 metres below ground would require anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 square kilometres of rock.

Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, who is the director of NWMO’s APM Geoscience, said abandoned mines and areas where resources like gold exist in the rock formation aren’t considered for the underground storage site.

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Cumbria rejects proposed underground storage for Nuclear Waste (February 2013)

Opinion Letters

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 2:31:12 EST PM


On Jan. 30, headlines in United Kingdom read, “County of Cumbria rejects, underground nuclear storage dump.” But, in our community you won’t hear about this from NWMO or any of the champions of the DGR.

Cumbria County, a rural area with six or seven districts, is similar to Bruce County, with municipalities like Saugeen Shores, Huron Kinloss, and others.

Similarly, Cumbria hosts a large nuclear facility employing 10,000 people. This facility in a coastal community opposite the Isle of Man is known as the “nuclear coast.”

Like Saugeen Shores, Cumbria is a major tourist destination, with its Lake District National Park; and 36,000 people dependent on tourism for employment. They have unique and world-renowned landscapes which needs to be cherished and protected, not unlike the pristine beaches and world-renowned sunsets in our special community.

In recent years, a proposed underground nuclear storage dump for their nation’s spent nuclear fuel has brought controversy and divisiveness, which sounds like an echo of our experience in Saugeen Shores.

On one side, strong support from unions, their families and the labour party who championed an opportunity to bring 1,000 new jobs with this $20 billion dollar project. Yes, and like here, there was strong opposition from local groups, and environmentalists, including the Lake District National Park authority.

Unfortunately that is where the similarities end.

Unlike Saugeen Shores there was significant apprehension and dialogue about the problems and risks associated with bringing all of their nation’s spent nuclear fuel to a seaside community.

Specifics included concerns about the stigma effect of a nuclear waste dump. Conservative leader Eddie Martin stated “While Sellafield (the nuclear site) and the Lake District have co-existed side by side successfully for decades, we fear that if the area becomes known in the national conscience as a place where nuclear waste is stored underground, the Lake District’s reputation may not be so resilient.” He warned of radioactivity risks and the huge potential blight on tourism, Cumbria’s biggest earner.

Their councils listened to concerns of professor Stuart Haszeldine, a geologist from the University of Edinburgh, who said, “This has been a very short sighted policy, run by driving local councils into volunteering for the wrong reasons: financial inducements. A lot of information is being suppressed in the process to entice councils into accepting technically flawed sites.”

In the end it appears the seven to three county council rejection of the nuclear dump was a result of numerous concerns, including the safety of burying nuclear waste in unproven geology.

Ed Martin is quoted, “Cumbria is not the best place geologically in the United Kingdom — the government’s efforts need to be focused on disposing of waste underground in the safest place, not the easiest.”

Years of research has shown granite rock in Canada’s north as the safest place for underground storage; yet the local champions of the DGR want to bring all of Canada’s nuclear waste to Saugeen Shores, because its easier and more cost effective for OPG. 

Ken Robertson
Residents Association 

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Speaker cautions about dangers of nuclear waste deep geological repository (February 2013)

About 50 people came out to a public meeting on Feb. 9, to hear why Central Huron should reconsider hosting a deep geological repository to house nuclear waste.

By Melissa Murray, QMI Agency

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:49:59 EST AM

Brennain Lloyd, project coordinator of Northwatch, a regional group that has looked into the issue of housing nuclear waste in the Canadian Shield for over 25 years, came to the REACH centre to explain that housing nuclear waste has both economic and health risks.

“When you opt into a DGR (deep geological repository) you are quite potentially opting out of other economic activities,” said Lloyd.

Lloyd explained there is uncertainty as to how the nuclear waste will interact with the barriers and how radioactive material will react in a closed environment. She also fears there will be corrosion of the barriers, the releasing of gases, seismic or glacial activity or that human error could cause someone to unknowingly affect the site over its 300 year lifespan.

Twenty-one communities, largely concentrated in western Ontario, have indicated their interest for being potential host sites for a nuclear waste repository, since the Nuclear Waste Management Organization asked communities to indicate their support in 2010. Central Huron indicated their interest in learning more and learned the results of a desktop study of the municipality during a session of council on Feb. 19.

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Nuclear waste: too hot to handle? (February 2013)

Cumbria’s decision to veto an underground repository for the UK shows how hard it is to find a long-term solution

New Scientist  – Magazine issue 2904.

18 February 2013 byWilliam M. Alleyand Rosemarie Alley

THERE are 437 nuclear power reactors in 31 countries around the world. The number of repositories for high-level radioactive waste? Zero. The typical lifespan of a nuclear power plant is 60 years. The waste from nuclear power is dangerous for up to one million years. Clearly, the waste problem is not going to go away any time soon.

In fact, it is going to get a lot worse. The World Nuclear Association says that 45 countries without nuclear power are giving it serious consideration. Several others, including China, South Korea and India, are planning to massively expand their existing programmes. Meanwhile, dealing with the waste from nuclear energy can be put off for another day, decade or century.

It’s not that we haven’t tried. By the 1970s, countries that produced nuclear power were promising that repositories would be built hundreds of metres underground to permanently isolate the waste. Small groups of technical experts and government officials laboured behind closed doors to identify potential sites. The results – produced with almost no public consultation – were disastrous.

In 1976, West German politicians unilaterally selected a site near the village of Gorleben on the East German border for a repository, fuelling a boisterous anti-nuclear movement that seems to have no end in sight.

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