Final approval, or not, of OPG’s nuclear waste DGR coming soon

(Phil here, with a note as I prepare to post this 2015 “Counterpoint” column on the Finding Hope Ness blog: I’ve been following Ontario Power Generation’s Deep Geological Repository (DGR) proposal for the storage of low to intermediate radioactive-level nuclear waste for a long time. It should not be confused by the way with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) proposal for a DGR to store highly-radioactive used nuclear fuel. They are two separate things. But there has been a lot of confusion about that because OPG and the NWMO are co-operating on both. The change in government after the Oct. 19, 2015 election has delayed a final federal government licence-approval decision. It’s now expected by March 1, this year. It could go either way, but I’m inclined to think, conditional approval is likely. The project has a number of unresolved issues related to it. They include the fact OPG gave a written guarantee to the Saugeen Ojibway First Nations in this area that it would not go ahead without their approval. That guarantee was given just before a panel of federal regulators began public hearings in 2014. There is strong opposition on the U.S. side of Lake Huron in Michigan to the idea of burying nuclear waste so close to the shore of a Great Lake. But it’s a multi-billion project Canada’s new Liberal government may see as fitting well into its massive infrastructure plans, but one that won’t cost the feds much, if anything, financially.)

The possibility  Ontario Power Generation’s proposed Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for the long-term storage of low and intermediate-level nuclear waste will get final federal government approval and a license to be built before the end of 2015 is looking less likely all the time.

And with the regulatory approval process already behind schedule, from OPG’s point of view, that could put its annual payments to five local, Bruce County municipalities under a 2004 DGR hosting agreement in serious doubt.

OPG warned the municipalities in October of 2014 not to count on the annual payments for budgeting purposes this year (2015). They were also warned that if a license to construct the facility was not issued this year the payments could again be “deferred.” Continue reading

Canada’s plan to bury nuclear waste called “deeply flawed”

One of the world’s leading experts on nuclear safety says the current process leading to the deep-rock burial of Canada’s growing stockpile of highly radioactive, used nuclear fuel is “deeply flawed.”

“There are too many unanswered questions, including about the science, or lack of it, underlying the Nuclear Waste Management’s (NWMO) Adaptive Phased Management Plan to build a Deep Geological Repository for the long-term storage of  millions of used fuel bundles, Dr. Gordon Edwards, co-founder of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) told a crowd of 300 people in the Lake Huron shoreline town of Southampton. Continue reading

NWMO Ought to be More Up-Front

When it comes to nuclear energy and the seemingly relentless path it’s now taking toward more, rather than less, I hate to say I told you so. But I will, just in passing though, because the sun is shining, there’s a warm breeze blowing up from the southwest, spring has arrived and so have my seeds, and there’s a patch of ground waiting patiently for me to plant them. In other words, the cycle of life is still turning, spring is here again, the juices are rising in the trees, the leaves will be out soon, the crocus and clouds of daffodils are blooming. This is all good, and cause for celebration. It is the furthest thing from nuclear waste, no matter where it’s buried or stored, whether deep in the distant hard rock of the Canadian Shield or right here, in the sedimentary bedrock under much of southern Ontario, including Bruce and Grey counties.  Continue reading