Nuclear waste site at Kincardine

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
dw_ptbo
Nuclear waste site at Kincardine

 

dw_ptbo

Considering I grew up in the community of Kincardine, my view is probably not very popular there considering the town council and most residents support the idea of a local waste repository. But incase anyone hasn't heard of the story, here it is (I found it from a Uranium News newsletter I recieved today) from the [url=http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080620/OPINIO... Huron Tmes Herald[/url].

I had earlier researched this topic in school but that was over a year ago, I'm not sure at what point they are as far as construction but I know they were fighting to avoid the most stringent type of public environmental assessment. It amazes me that a town of people can put so much trust in the promises of safety from some well paid engineers when it comes to nuclear waste.

[ 22 June 2008: Message edited by: dw_ptbo ]

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by dw_ptbo:
[b]nuclear waste.[/b]

To store nuclear waste?

[url=http://www.acee-ceaa.gc.ca/050/DocHTMLContainer_e.cfm?DocumentID=26204]The project is a proposal by Ontario Power Generation (OPG)[/url] to prepare a site, and construct and operate a deep-geologic disposal facility on the Bruce Nuclear Site, within the municipality of Kincardine.

quote:

The Deep Geologic Repository would be designed to manage low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes, produced from the continued operation of OPG-owned nuclear generating stations at Bruce, Pickering and Darlington, Ontario. Low-level waste consists of industrial items that have become contaminated with low levels of radioactivity, during routine clean-up and maintenance activities at nuclear generating stations. Intermediate-level radioactive waste consists primarily of used nuclear reactor components - such as the ion-exchange resins and filters used to purify reactor water systems.

"Nuclear waste" to most people means "spent" reactor fuel (a misleading term, since it still has a great deal of fissionable material which present technology cannot use.)

This is not a proposal for a repository for spent reactor fuel.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Wilf: What part of "low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes" does not qualify as "nuclear waste" in your vocabulary?

ETA:

quote:

NO RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP IN THE HEART OF THE GREAT LAKES!

The proposal to build a deep underground dump (DUD) for radioactive wastes on the shoreline of the Great Lakes is unacceptable. Water is the most likely dispersal medium for toxic materials in general, and for radioactive wastes in particular.

Nevertheless, that's what is being considered at the Bruce nuclear complex on the Canadian side of Lake Huron. The DUD would be located just over one kilometre (less than one mile) from the Lake, and would house all of the radioactive wastes from 20 commercial nuclear power reactors in Ontario – with the exception of the irradiated nuclear fuel.

It was recently reported that the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) wants to manage the DUD project. But the NWMO deals exclusively with the long-term management of irradiated nuclear fuel, and has nothing whatever to do with other categories of nuclear waste materials. Does the NWMO's involvement mean that the proposed DUD will eventually become a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste -- making it the "Yucca Mountain" of the Great Lakes region?

The Bruce nuclear complex currently hosts nine reactors (one of them permanently shut down), with proposals for four more. This would make it the largest nuclear power complex in the world. Already there are 500 outdoor silos for the "interim storage" of irradiated nuclear fuel about one kilometre from Lake Huron, and there are plans to build 2,000 more.

Since the DUD is only 50 miles from Michigan across Lake Huron, leakage of radioactivity from the dump could directly affect tens of millions of residents in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, and contaminate the drinking water in Port Huron, Sarnia, Detroit, Windsor, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Toronto and countless other communities downstream.

Thus, this DUD proposal is not just a Canadian issue, but an international one. In 1986, Canada protested when the U.S. proposed a high-level radioactive waste dump in Vermont because it was too close to the Canadian border; that proposed dump was subsequently cancelled. Now it is time for U.S. residents to speak out. The Canadian DUD proposal sets a dangerous precedent for the establishment of perpetually hazardous facilities on the Great Lakes, and impacts people on both sides of the border.

The successful emplacement of the DUD for so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes from across Ontario – and potentially from the rest of Canada – will create a threat to the Great Lakes watershed for generations to come. It will also increase the likelihood of the Bruce site becoming a permanent disposal dump for high-level radioactive wastes (i.e. irradiated nuclear fuel), which would increase the risks by many orders of magnitude.

Alarming as this proposal is, the process for assessing its environmental impact is also cause for grave concern. In Canada, environmental panels reviewing proposed nuclear facilities have always been independent of the nuclear establishment -- until now. But for the DUD, the Government of Canada intends to place the review panel under the control of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) which is the regulatory authority for licensing nuclear facilities in Canada.

Six months ago, the President of the CNSC was fired by the Canadian federal government for being too strict in her enforcement of reactor safety regulations. The new CNSC President has clear instructions to fast-track all nuclear regulatory approval processes. No environmental assessment panel will be credible if it is dominated by this highly politicized regulatory agency.

Despite the conflict of interest, the CNSC stands ready to chair the environmental assessment panel and to fill two of its three positions. CNSC's domination of the Full Panel Review is unprecedented, and will undermine the panel's credibility. We urge CNSC's exclusion from the Panel, so the panel's independence is assured.

We ask that the public comment deadline be extended for six months beyond June 18th. Given the longevity and the unprecedented nature of the hazard that the DUD represents for the entire Great Lakes ecosystem, as well as the minimal outreach to the United States and Native American/First Nations that the Canadian federal government has undertaken, this extension request is reasonable.

Sincerely,

Gordon Edwards (Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Montreal, Quebec)
and
Michael Keegan (Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Monroe, Michigan)

Co-Chairs, Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force


[url=http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2008/06/29584.php]Pittsbugh IndyMedia[/url]

[ 22 June 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

Where to begin the story on this one?!?

In 2004 I was a freelance journalist covering Kincardine. OPG wanted to do a community consultation to get feedback on the proposed [url=http://www.opg.com/power/nuclear/waste/dgr/]"Deep Rock Geologic Repository".[/url] [DRGR]

In what will remain as a significant memory for myself, the local media was called to the Kincardine town hall for a press conference. We showed up, the two local weeklies, me for the daily and the radio station. All women reporters (trust me it's relevant).

The male suits all filed in, including the mayor and the OPG staffers, and proceeded to tell us about the proposed DRGR, and the community consultation.

They were going to poll every household. Speaking to the "head of the household" to get ONE vote on whether this project should proceed.

We only had one question "who was the 'head of household'?"

The mayor's face was priceless - in that moment I actually saw someone who wanted to reach out and take back the words he'd just uttered.

Faced with 4 women he suddenly realized the issue.

We harped on this issue in editorials for weeks. They went from letting the household decide who was the 'head' to the person born earliest in the year over the age of 18. I then pointed out my 18 year old son was born in May and I was born in October so I had no voice despite being the tax payer?????

In the end we harped on this so much, they polled everyone over the age of 18.

It was amazing to see them so confused as they were prepared to defend the project, not the process.

So I have only followed the developments on a peripheral level since.

This is for low and intermediate level radioactive waste. It's already being stored on-site above ground, and the Bruce takes shipments from all the other nuclear plants in Ontario (something the community didn't really know until this process started - the trucks come in at night).

Honestly I don't see too much difference between the above ground and below ground storage.

If we're going to have nuclear power, then we need to deal with the waste.

Having also grown up in Kincardine I am pro nuclear, and I believe in the safety record of Bruce Power, no other company can touch it.

As for OPG, they live here too, so I'm fairly sure they wouldn't do anything too stupid.

[ 22 June 2008: Message edited by: rural - Francesca ]

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]Wilf: What part of "low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes" does not qualify as "nuclear waste" in your vocabulary?

ETA:

[url=http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2008/06/29584.php]Pittsbugh IndyMedia[/url]

[ 22 June 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ][/b]


True - hence the clarification on low, intermediate and high level classification

I know many in the region are concerned this opens a door to high level storage, but the high level stuff can't be safetly transported around the province, so it stays put at each of the reactor sites.

It's only the low and intermediate level stuff that gets trucked around.

This is usually clothing, tools, equipment etc

dw_ptbo

I certainly hope you are right that this doesn't open the door to higher grade uranium. My understanding of the physics involved qualifies for ignorance for sure, can you tell me how dangerous low/medium grade uranium actually is?

Please help me understand, if its so safe that, as you think, we may be able to store it above ground, why are they bothering tunneling so deep underground to bury the stuff?

Part of me doesn't mind the idea of nuclear power as long as we are able to a)safely store the end result, and b) as long as we are able to mine it with nominal environmental impact. I am not aware of the latter being done in a safe manner anywhere, and I am still somewhat skeptical about our ability to safely store radioactive waste (even low grade).

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by dw_ptbo:
[b]can you tell me how dangerous low/medium grade uranium actually is?[/b]

This is not about storing uranium. It's actual waste products with some degree of radioactivity.

quote:

Originally posted by dw_ptbo:
[b]if its so safe that, as you think, we may be able to store it above ground, why are they bothering tunneling so deep underground to bury the stuff?[/b]

This stuff will never be worth reprocessing, nor does it need monitoring for radioactivity. There may be other issues; for example some low-level wastes have arsenic which might leach, and that is a bigger concern than the radioactivity. Otherwise, burying somewhere may be both the safest and most economical route.

quote:

Originally posted by dw_ptbo:
[b]I am still somewhat skeptical about our ability to safely store radioactive waste (even low grade).[/b]

Skepticism about things we don't understand is always healthy. Blind or misguided opposition, however, is not.

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

quote:


Originally posted by dw_ptbo:
[b]I certainly hope you are right that this doesn't open the door to higher grade uranium. My understanding of the physics involved qualifies for ignorance for sure, can you tell me how dangerous low/medium grade uranium actually is? [/b]

I'll get killed for this; but "safe" is a relative term. Is it safe to bring exposed coveralls home and wear them in your garage working on your bike every weekend? No. Is it safe sealed in a drum, in a concrete facility, yes.

quote:

Originally posted by dw_ptbo:
[b]
Please help me understand, if its so safe that, as you think, we may be able to store it above ground, why are they bothering tunneling so deep underground to bury the stuff? [/b]

I think this is a question of acreage. The Bruce site is huge, but there is only so much dedicated to the OPG storage facility, this expansion underground would reduce the need for an above ground expansion.

quote:

Originally posted by dw_ptbo:
[b]
Part of me doesn't mind the idea of nuclear power as long as we are able to a)safely store the end result, and b) as long as we are able to mine it with nominal environmental impact. I am not aware of the latter being done in a safe manner anywhere, and I am still somewhat skeptical about our ability to safely store radioactive waste (even low grade). [/b]

I'm no expert, but my father was a nuclear reactor safety engineer at the Bruce site, so I learned a lot just by osmosis.

Once submerged in water, the rods are relatively safe.

I'm truly reluctant to spend a lot of time researching because my sources would be Bruce it's self and OPG and I've had this discussion before and some people dismiss those sources (rightly or wrongly) as bias.

I suggest you check out the OPG site for more information, or visitor one of the Visitors Centres for the nuclear stations, they can answer a lot of questions.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

There are two categories of Low and Intermediate Level Waste (LILW) recognized by the [url=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub950e_web.pdf]International Atomic Energy Agency[/url]:

1. Short lived waste
Typical characteristics: Restricted long lived radionuclide concentrations (limitation of long lived alpha emitting radionuclides to 4000 Bq/g in individual waste packages and to an overall average of 400 Bq/g per waste package)

2. Long lived waste
Typical characteristics: Long lived radionuclide concentrations exceeding limitations for short lived waste

Much of LILW waste is in liquid form: primary coolant, drainage water/liquids from technological circuits, ion exchange and filter regeneration liquids, decontamination solutions and wash water; spent ion exchange resins, other filtration materials, sludges and slurries are usually also included into liquid waste.

Fidel

[url=http://www.sierraclub.org/nuclearwaste/low.asp#Background]"Low-Level" Radioactive Waste (LLRW) Management[/url] Judith Johnsrud (U.S.), Sierra Club

[ 22 June 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

janfromthebruce

quote:


Originally posted by rural - Francesca:
[b]Where to begin the story on this one?!?

They were going to poll every household. Speaking to the "head of the household" to get ONE vote on whether this project should proceed.

We only had one question "who was the 'head of household'?"

The mayor's face was priceless - in that moment I actually saw someone who wanted to reach out and take back the words he'd just uttered.

Faced with 4 women he suddenly realized the issue.

[ 22 June 2008: Message edited by: rural - Francesca ][/b]


Oh Francesca, too funny. I'd have loved to be in that room - and yes, I am from Kincardine.
THE BIG GUY PUTS HIS FOOT IN HIS MOUTH AS HE TRIES TO TAKE OUT THE OTHER ONE. [img]cool.gif" border="0[/img]

Fidel

[url=http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8332]“Alpha particle” Uranium Contamination in Port Hope, Ontario[/url]

I don't mean to upset anyone, and those living in the general area have probably made up their own minds on these issues anyway.

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b][url=http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8332]“Alpha particle” Uranium Contamination in Port Hope, Ontario[/url]
[/b]

"By Edward (Tedd) C. Weyman"

Who is a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work), with an MEd in Human Resource and Organizational Development from the University of Georgia. Not qualified in nuclear medicine or any related field.

"Uranium Medical Research Center
157 Carlton St, Suite 206, Toronto ON M5A 2K3"

Which turns out to be the address of the[url=http://www.worldlifeinstitute.org/projlife.htm] "World Life Institute"[/url] which ran a "summer program for 2006 will for the first time bring together war orphans." Not sure if it continued in 2007. Tedd Weyman's day job used to be that program. Not sure what he does now.

A curious group indeed.

Fidel

Looks like you're safe then, Wilf. I had me worried there for a minute.

Bubbles

It is easy to feel save with radio active products when things run acording to plan. It are the unforseen events that make radioactive material such unforgiving material to deal with once it gets lose in our environment. Think about the nuclear subs laying on the ocean floor. Can we recover the nuclear waste that was released from nuclear mishaps? DU in the Middle East and what ever other battle fields?? We are heading into very uncertain times. Who is going to prevent some 'bad' individuals from recycling that material when the price is right. We should know our limitations by now, after having experienced so many poor judgement calls in our past. And since when does ever anything go according to plan.

In my opinion taking the nuclear energy route is even more short sighted then the fossil fuel route we took. Correcting CO2 levels in our biosphere will be so much easier then correcting the fallout from nuclear missteps and accidents.

[ 23 June 2008: Message edited by: Bubbles ]

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

During the cold war of the 1980's those of us in Kincardine, as teenagers, had a pact. [no we weren't getting pregnant!]

We decided that if we heard that someone had pushed the buttons and the missiles had been launched, we were going to meet on the beach and watch the Bruce (then BNPD under Ontario Hydro) go up. We figured we'd get 7 or so seconds of "that is so cool" before being vapourized. We didn't want to survive a nuclear war.

No one resented the plant's location and assumed target, it was just part of our community and part of the landscape.

___________

I told that story at a meeting at Bruce Power, Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne leaned forward and said "and this is why we won't let you on the site" - it was pretty funny.

And actually he got me on site with our United Way campaign last fall.

My point is that that risk; the airplane that crashed into the site, bizzare earthquake (although our [url=http://www.meaford.com/town/news036.html]earthquake[/url] of 2005 didn't even register over there) or other external event that would result in the failure of the safety systems, are all just a part of the background understanding of having nuclear power.

Bubbles

rural - Francesca

You are a delightfull fool, but a fool all the same. And so are many of us. All the more reason to not dot our landscape with objects that tolerates no fools.