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Western Canadians do not want ”Small” nuclear reactors in Sakatchewan

Premier asks Trudeau to support nuclear reactors in upcoming throne speech, Yorkton This Week Michael Bramadat-Willcock – Local Journalism Initiative (Canada’s National Observer) / Yorkton This Week, SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 Premier Scott Moe has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlining Saskatchewan’s priorities ahead of the federal throne speech on Sept. 23. In it, he is asking Trudeau to support nuclear development in the province.

Moe wants the development of small modular nuclear reactors, also known as SMRs, in Saskatchewan to be part of Trudeau’s green agenda. ……..

In December, Moe signed a memorandum of understanding with the premiers of Ontario and New Brunswick to work together on further developing the nuclear industry.  ……..

In his letter, the premier also focused on support for the oil and gas sectors, and pushed for pausing the carbon tax.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments on the federal carbon tax at the same time as the throne speech is delivered. …………

But western Canadians don’t all see eye-to-eye on the deployment of nuclear reactors, even small ones.

Committee for Future Generations outreach co-ordinator Candyce Paul of La Plonge at the English River First Nation earlier told Canada’s National Observer that while they haven’t been consulted on any aspects of the plan, all signs point to the north as a site for the reactors.

On Tuesday, Paul called it ironic that Moe spoke of western alienation from Ottawa when many in the north feel the same way about Regina.

“Trudeau, please represent the people of northern Saskatchewan because Scott Moe does not,” Paul said.

Paul’s group fights nuclear waste storage in Saskatchewan and was instrumental in stopping a proposal that considered Beauval, Pinehouse and Creighton as storage locations in 2011.

“When we informed the communities that they were looking at planning to bury nuclear waste up here in 2011, once they learned what that entailed, everybody said, ‘No way.’ Eighty per cent of the people in the north said, ‘No way, absolutely not.’ It didn’t matter if they worked for Cameco or the other mines. They said, if it comes here, we will not support it coming here,” Paul said in an interview last month. ………..

Paul said the intent behind using SMRs is anything but green and that the real goal is to prop up Saskatchewan’s ailing uranium industry and develop oilsands in the northwest.

“He’s put it right in the letter. His fear is they’re going to put out a green policy that will hurt the oil and gas sector,” Paul said.

“They’ve been looking for a way to bring the tar sands to northern Saskatchewan. We all know the mess that makes. Using small modular reactors is not lessening the carbon impact.”

She said in August that communities around Canada, and especially in the Far North, have long been pitched as sites for SMR development and nuclear waste storage, but have refused.

“None of our people are going to get trained for operating these. It supports people from other places. It doesn’t really support us,” Paul said.

Paul said on Tuesday that SMRs under 200 megawatts are currently excluded from environmental impact assessments, which means a lack of opportunity for public input.

She also said that interconnected water systems in the north would mean pollution would travel quickly into the ecosystem if there was a mishap at a reactor site.

Brooke Dobni, professor of strategy at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business, told Canada’s National Observer in August that any development of small reactors would take a long time.

“It could be a good thing, but on the other hand, it might have some pitfalls. Those talks take years,” Dobni said.

He said nuclear reactors face bigger challenges that have to be addressed before they can go ahead, such as public support for protecting the environment, the high cost of building infrastructure, and containing nuclear fallout and radiation.

“Anything nuclear is 25 years out if you’re talking about small reactors, those kinds of things to power up the city,” Dobni said.

“That technology is a long ways away and a lot of it’s going to depend on public opinion.

“The court for that is the court of public opinion, whether or not people want that in their own backyard, and that’s the whole issue anywhere in the world.”

On Tuesday, Paul asked the federal government to invest in critical infrastructure instead.

“We need money spent in a serious way. Not on small modular reactors that could happen in 25 years. We need things now. To bring us up to the standards in our health system, we need health facilities. The public doesn’t want the government subsidizing industries that are about to go bust. It’s a waste of money,” Paul said.

“We have extreme needs that aren’t being met by industry and never will be met by industry. Trudeau, put the money where you want to make some real reconciliation happen.”https://www.yorktonthisweek.com/regional-news/premier-asks-trudeau-to-support-nuclear-reactors-in-upcoming-throne-speech-1.24204052

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Indigenous woman’s long trek to protest nuclear waste dump, and encourage others.

Concerns about nuclear waste near Ignace, Ont., prompts one woman to hit the pavement , Darlene Necan says not enough Indigenous people raising their concerns over nuclear repository

Jeff Walters · CBC News ·Sep 16, 2020   One woman’s concern over a proposed nuclear waste repository near Ignace, Ont., means she will walk hundreds of kilometres to raise awareness about the project.

For the past decade, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has engaged the Township of Ignace, and eight nearby First Nations to determine if the area is interested in hosting the repository.

Darlene Necan, a member of the Ojibways of Saugeen First Nation in Savant Lake, about 150 kilometres north of Ignace, said she has concerns over what the project could do to the water in the area.

“The amount of people here are very terrified and scared. Nobody will stand up to nothing,” she said.

Necan has so far walked from Ignace to Savant Lake, and plans to continue on to Sioux Lookout, before looping back to Ignace.

“We did meet up with the tourist camp owners along the way,” she said, referring to camp operators on Highway 599.

“They are in support because they said how are we going to invite the Americans or people from other countries to come fish in our nuke waters now. They say stuff like that.”

Necan said many members of her community have not been engaged in any discussion of nuclear waste – but she said that falls at the hands of Chief and Council, not the NWMO.

We’re still at a loss about this nuclear thing, so a lot of people cannot say that we’re in the wrong for standing up to it. We’re at a loss, because the leadership past, have never consulted, we never even consented to it.”…………..https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/ignace-ontario-nuclear-walk-1.5725341

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, PERSONAL STORIES, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste flyers heading to 50,000 households in Grey-Bruce

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Campaign against nuclear fuel waste storage in South Bruce, Canada

Opposition group launches education campaign against nuclear fuel bunker in South Bruce,  https://blackburnnews.com/uncategorized/2020/09/10/opposition-group-launches-education-campaign-nuclear-fuel-bunker-south-bruce/    By Janice MacKaySeptember 10, 2020 3:40pm

People in communities near the Municipality of South Bruce may receive a leaflet from the group Protect Our Waterways-No Nuclear Waste with information on the proposal to store used nuclear fuel deep underground near Teeswater.

Spokesman Michelle Stein said 50,000 leaflets were sent out this week to let people know some of the group’s concerns about the plan to store Canada’s nuclear waste in a Deep Geologic Repository or DGR.

Stein said the Nuclear Waste Management Organization is assembling land in the municipality of South Bruce to store irradiated nuclear fuel from 4.6 million spent fuel bundles.

“The proposed site includes the Teeswater River flowing through it, and that leads to Lake Huron. And 40 million people get their drinking water from Lake Huron,” she said.

“It’s a decision that is going to affect so many people, and change our community in such a large way, I think each individual deserves to have a vote,” she added.

Stein says 1,600 residents of South Bruce signed a petition opposing the proposed DGR.    Stein wants to see a referendum on the issue, as both the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and the municipality have stated that the project needs broad community support to go ahead.

If the proposed nuclear waste dump is approved there will be two loads of spent nuclear fuel travelling by truck every day for forty years from Canada’s nuclear reactors. And if there is a radioactive leak underground it could affect 40 million people in Canada and the US,” said Stein.“People need to know the risks. Nowhere in the world is there an operating DGR for high-level nuclear waste as is being proposed here. Underground storage sites for low-medium level nuclear waste in the US and Germany have leaked radioactive material and required multi-billion-dollar clean-ups”, says Stein. “I encourage everyone who lives in a community near South Bruce to contact their own Mayor and tell them you oppose NWMO’s proposal for a nuclear waste dump.”

POW-NNW believes that the “rolling stewardship” method of managing nuclear waste is better because it maintains it in a monitored and retrievable state at all times, with continual improvements to packaging and environmental protection.

Stein added that ongoing scientific studies examine how spent nuclear fuel can be reused, reduced, and even neutralized. In its initial report to Parliament, the NWMO did not say that on-site storage at the reactor sites was unsafe or not feasible.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Bruce County divided over becoming permanent site to store Canada’s nuclear waste, 

Bruce County divided over becoming permanent site to store Canada’s nuclear waste, 

Canada has 57K tonnes of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel and nowhere to put it, Colin Butler · CBC News ·  Feb 21 2020, Bruce County calls itself a place “where the smiles are bigger and a little more frequent,” but those smiles belie a deepening divide among neighbours over what to do with Canada’s growing stockpile of nuclear waste. 

The town of South Bruce, on the rim of the sparkling waters of Lake Huron, is one of two sites selected by a federal agency tasked with finding permanent locations to store Canada’s nearly three million bundles of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.

On Thursday, politicians in Bruce County debated whether their community should be home to a place to put that waste, what’s called a deep geologic repository, or DGR; a multi-billion dollar high tech nuclear waste dump that would see the material stored in perpetuity hundreds of metres below the Earth.

At issue in the debate are the ethics of leaving the burden of some of Canada’s most dangerous nuclear material to future generations, the possible development and devaluation of prime Ontario farmland and concerns over the potential safety of the drinking water for 40 million people in two countries.

‘I am strongly opposed’

On Thursday, that politically-fraught debate took centre stage in Walkerton, Ont. before a packed council chamber where politicians debated whether DGRs were “settled science” in an argument that has already played out at dinner tables, arenas and coffee shops in the area for years, dividing neighbours and leaving communities deeply polarized.

“I am strongly opposed,” said Brockton Mayor Chris Peabody, whose township includes Walkerton, a place that two decades ago grappled with a tainted water crisis where e. coli killed six people and sickened thousands.

“The proposal is to bury the waste under the Teeswater River,” he told council. “I can’t support that. I’ve got several communities down river that get their drinking water from aquifers along that river.”

Peabody said if a deep geologic repository were to be located west of Teeswater, it would potentially devalue prime farmland and the resulting stigma of burying nuclear waste near his community might affect the ability of local farmers to sell their wares.

“It would make it very difficult for them to market their produce and survive,” he said. “I don’t think the scientific consensus supports burying nuclear waste in class one farmland in Southern Ontario.”

Utilizing a deep geologic repository isn’t simply a matter of “burying nuclear waste in class one farmland” as Peabody suggests. The proposed underground project is a highly sophisticated $23 billion nuclear waste disposal site designed to contain and isolate some of the most dangerous materials on Earth for thousands of years.

The sprawling complex of tunnels and chambers would occupy a footprint of about 600 hectares underground, where nuclear waste would be stored at a depth as low as the CN Tower is tall (500 to 600 metres). The idea is the material would be encased in containers below natural bedrock to keep the harmful effects of radiation at bay for millennia.

While proponents of the system claim a DGR is a safe way to store nuclear waste, those opposed argue it has a spotty record at best, pointing out that similar facilities in New Mexico and Germany have leaked – and by that token, opponents say a DGR near Lake Huron would potentially put the drinking water of 40 million people at risk.

It’s not the first time the debate has come to the area. Ontario Power Generation recently abandoned a 15-year campaign for a similar proposed facility to store low to intermediary waste at a site not far from the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.

The failure to move ahead with the project is part of a larger problem of Canada’s struggle to find a permanent home for its growing stockpile of nuclear waste.

As of 2018, it’s estimated Canada had some 57,000 tonnes of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel and nowhere to put it.

So far, the federal agency tasked with disposing it, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, or NWMO, has identified two potential communities with the right geological makeup; Ignace in Ontario’s north and South Bruce, in Ontario’s Great Lakes Basin. ……. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/canada-nuclear-waste-1.5469727

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Canadian Public asked for views on transport of used nuclear fuel

Public asked for views on transport of used nuclear fuel   Owen Sound The Sun Times Scott Dunn 27 Aug 20  The Nuclear Waste Management Organization wants public input on its planning framework concerning shipping about 5.5 million used nuclear fuel bundles by road and possibly rail, to a permanent storage site, possibly in Bruce County.Spent nuclear fuel rods are currently stored above ground at nuclear sites and the aim is to create a long-term storage solution.

The NWMO’s draft transportation planning framework, based partly on public consultations since 2016, is the subject of a detailed online survey. The survey contains background and facts about the plan and about the management and transportation of used nuclear fuel.

There are five sections to comment on: The basic requirements of used nuclear fuel transportation planning, the plan’s objectives and principles, environmental protection, who needs to be involved in decision-making, and how should the modes and routes be decided. The survey can be found at https://ca.surveygizmo.com/s3/50081627/NWMOworkbookSMEN…....South Bruce, the local municipality near the Bruce Power nuclear station on Lake Huron, is one of two locations which remain potential sites for a $23-billion permanent storage facility buried deep underground.

So far, South Bruce has not declared itself a willing host, or even how that conclusion would be arrived at, though an opposition group has called for a community vote and the mayor has suggested that might be the solution.

The other remaining potential site is Ignace area, northwest of Lake Superior.

Approval of the local First Nations people is also required and earlier this year they turned down a separate plan to bury low- and mid-level nuclear waste in a dedicated underground vault at the Bruce nuclear site.

NWMO says it expects to select its preferred location for the used nuclear fuel vault in 2023. Operation of the deep geological repository and transportation of used nuclear fuel is planned to start in the 2040s. Transport of the bundles will take about 40 years.

The used nuclear fuel will be transported by roads and possibly rail, depending on the location of the repository.

“If an all-road approach were taken, this might involve about 620 truck shipments each year, approximately one-to-two shipments per day. If an all-rail approach were taken, this might involve about 60 train shipments each year, approximately one shipment every six days,” says the organization’s Moving Forward Together document, found on the NWMO website……….. https://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/news/local-news/public-asked-for-views-on-transport-of-used-nuclear-fuel

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Canada communities don’t want the so-called “clean” Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

even with SMRs under 300 megawatts, nuclear waste is a byproduct.

waste generated from SMRs would become a dangerous part of the transportation system “even if they do remove it.” 

“It will be big, big transports of highly radioactive stuff, driving down the roads as an easy dirty bomb

 the high cost of building infrastructure and then containing nuclear fallout and radiation are all concerns before they can go ahead. 

Nuclear giants team up to develop reactors in Sask. and Ontario, Michael Bramadat-Willcock / Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer, AUGUST 23, 2020 

Canada’s leading nuclear industry players announced an inter-provincial corporate partnership Thursday to support the launch of a research centre that will work on developing small modular reactors (SMRs) for use in Saskatchewan.

Saskatoon-based Cameco is the world’s biggest uranium producer and has long supplied fuel to Bruce Power, Ontario’s largest nuclear power company.SMRs are designed to produce smaller amounts of electricity, between 50 and 300 megawatts,……

This agreement comes on the heels of Saskatchewan announcing a nuclear secretariat to make way for reactors.

The secretariat is mandated to develop and execute a strategic plan for the use of “clean-energy small modular reactors” in the province. ……

No timeframe or SMR sites were included in the announcement, but the government’s plans already have some northern residents raising alarms.

Committee for Future Generations outreach co-ordinator Candyce Paul of La Plonge at the English River First Nation told Canada’s National Observer that they haven’t been consulted on any aspects of the plan, but all signs point to the north as a site for the reactors.

Paul’s group fights nuclear waste storage in Saskatchewan and was instrumental in stopping a proposal that considered Beauval, Pinehouse and Creighton as storage locations in 2011.

“When we informed the communities that they were looking at planning to bury nuclear waste up here in 2011, once they learned what that entailed, everybody said no way. Eighty per cent of the people in the north said no way, absolutely not. It didn’t matter if they worked for Cameco or the other mines. They said if it comes here, we will not support it coming here,” she said.

Paul said she sees small modular nuclear reactors as another threat to the environment and to human safety in the region.

She noted that even with SMRs under 300 megawatts, nuclear waste is a byproduct.

“Even if they’re not burying nuclear waste here, they could be leaving it on site or hauling it through our northern regions and across our waterways,” Paul said.

She said that waste generated from SMRs would become a dangerous part of the transportation system “even if they do remove it.”

“It will be big, big transports of highly radioactive stuff, driving down the roads as an easy dirty bomb. You’d be driving down the road (behind a nuclear waste transport vehicle) and not know you’re following it,” Paul said.

Paul said the intent behind installing SMRs is anything but green and that the real goal is to prop up Saskatchewan’s ailing uranium industry and develop oilsands in the northwest.

Paul said that communities around Canada, and especially in the Far North, have long been pitched as sites for SMR development and have refused.

A 2018 brief from Pangnirtung Hamlet Council in Nunavut concluded “any Arctic-based nuclear power source should be an alternative energy choice of last resort.”

“None of our people are going to get trained for operating these. It supports people from other places. It doesn’t really support us,” Paul said.

SMRs have been pitched in the north as a way to move away from reliance on diesel fuel, which can be costly. Paul said any benefits of that remain to be seen.

She said companies would need to do environmental impact assessments for smaller reactors even though the exclusion zone around SMR sites is smaller.

“Even if the exclusion zone is only a few kilometres, a few kilometres affects a lot in an ecosystem and especially in an ecosystem that is wild,” Paul said.

“I’m not feeling confident in this at all, Canadian nuclear laboratories saying that it would only be a small radius exclusion zone. Well that’s our territory. That’s our land, our waters, our wildlife.

“It’s not their backyard, so they couldn’t care less.”

Brooke Dobni, professor of strategy at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business, told Canada’s National Observer that any development of small reactors would take a long time.

“It could be a good thing, but on the other hand, it might have some pitfalls. Those talks take years,” Dobni said.

He said nuclear reactors face bigger challenges because of public concerns about the environment and that the high cost of building infrastructure and then containing nuclear fallout and radiation are all concerns before they can go ahead.

“Anything nuclear is 25 years out if you’re talking about small reactors, those kinds of things to power up the city,” Dobni said.

“That technology is a long ways away and a lot of it’s going to depend on public opinion.

The court for that is the court of public opinion, whether or not people want that in their own backyard, and that’s the whole issue anywhere in the world.”  https://www.humboldtjournal.ca/news/nuclear-giants-team-up-to-develop-reactors-in-sask-and-ontario-1.24191077

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Alberta premier’s small nukes pipe dream makes no economic sense.

Look Over There! Jason Kenney’s Phoney Nuclear Power Distraction   Why the Alberta premier’s small nukes pipe dream makes no economic sense., David Climenhaga 14 Aug 20,  | TheTyee.ca   

When Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says small nuclear reactors “could be a game changer in providing safe, zero-emitting, baseload power in many areas of the province,” as he did this week in a tweet, he’s pulling your leg…….

No electrical utility is ever going to buy one unless they are forced to by government policy or regulation — the kind of thing Alberta’s United Conservative Party purports to oppose……..

Small nuclear reactors are not as cheap to build as the premier’s fairy tale suggests.

Bringing an acceptable small nuclear reactor design all the way from the drawing board to approval by a national nuclear regulatory authority will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

While dozens of speculative companies are printing colourful brochures with pretty pictures of little nukes being trucked to their destinations, very few are serious ventures with any possibility of building an actual reactor. The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency says diplomatically there are about 50 concepts “at different stages of development.” Those that are serious, like NuScale Power in the United States, have huge amounts of government money behind them. 

The only small nuclear reactor plant known to be operating in the world now is the Akademik Lomonosov, Russia’s floating power barge with two 35-megawatt reactors aboard. From an original estimate of US$140 million in 2006, its cost had ballooned to US$740 million when the vessel was launched last year.

The kind of small reactors Kenney is talking about won’t be cheap by any yardstick.

Small reactors are less economical to run than big reactors…….

This is why nobody wanted to buy the scaled-down CANDU-3 reactor, development of which was paid for by Canadian taxpayers in the 1980s. At 300 megawatts, they were just too small for commercial viability. A working CANDU-3 has never been built.

The cost of small reactors would have to come down significantly to change this. And remember, the research and development requirements of small reactors are just as high as for big ones. With nobody manufacturing modules, there are no existing economies of scale. In other words, dreamy brochures about the future of small reactors are just that — dreams.

By the way, in 2011 the Harper government privatized the best commercial assets of Crown-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to… wait for it… SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. Think about that every time you hear Conservatives in Ottawa screeching about the goings on at SNC-Lavalin!

Small reactor designs mostly require enriched uranium, and Canada doesn’t produce any……

Small reactors might be safer than big ones, but we don’t really know.

Kenney and Savage talk about small reactors as if it were a fact they’re safer than big reactors. Maybe they are. But we don’t really know that because nobody but the Russians actually seems to have built one, and in most cases they haven’t even been designed.

Remember, the Russians’ small reactors are both on a barge. For what it’s worth, critics have called it “Floating Chernobyl.”

Small reactors won’t be safe without public regulation……..

Then there’s the matter of waste disposal.

Nuclear plants don’t produce a lot of waste by volume, but what there is sure has the potential to cause problems for a very long time. Thousands of years and more. So safe storage is an issue with small nukes, just like it is with big ones.

Where are we going to store the waste from all these wonderful small nuclear reactors Kenney is talking about?

How many jobs is it likely to create here in Western Canada? Well, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment recently posted a job for a director of small modular reactors. That person will supervise four people. That’s probably about it for jobs for the foreseeable future.

If Alberta ever ends up with the same number of people working on this, we’ll be lucky https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/08/13/Kenney-Nuclear-Power-Plant-Distraction/

August 15, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Alberta joins Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan -led by the nose by nuclear NuScam?

Going Nuclear: Alberta Signs Inter-Provincial MOE to Explore Small Modular Reactors, J.D. Supra, 14Aug 20, 

On August 7, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced its intention to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore emerging nuclear power generation technology in the form of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

Alberta is the fourth province to sign the MOU, following in the footsteps of the governments of Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, which signed the MOU in December 2019. Ontario and New Brunswick are Canada’s only provinces currently producing nuclear energy, while uranium fuel is mined in Saskatchewan. Athabasca Basin contains the world’s largest high-grade deposits of uranium and straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border……

August 15, 2020 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

Problems in planned nuclear waste dump at Chalk River

New nuclear waste guidelines could lead to ‘massive dump’ upstream from Ottawa if approved, CapitalCurrent , By Bailey Moreton, 23 July 20,   

New nuclear waste guidelines set to undergo public consultation this fall could clear the way for a much-debated, large, above-ground waste disposal mound to be built at Chalk River, the national nuclear research facility 180 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.

The proposed guidelines would frame the way nuclear companies dispose of waste, including the creation of deep ground repositories. Under the guidelines, companies would present waste disposal safety cases — a set of justifications for a planned disposal strategy — which are then assessed by the Canada Nuclear Safety Commission.

But one longtime critic of the Chalk River site says the guidelines would give too much flexibility to operators of nuclear facilities. Ole Hendrickson, a former scientist with Environment Canada and a researcher with the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County Area, says the guidelines need to be more stringent.

“In my view, what they say is, ‘Let’s make these reg docs as flexible as possible and non-prescriptive’ — and the CNSC actually uses those terms, non-prescriptive and flexible, to describe its regulatory approach,” he said. “That may work for industry, but for us members of the public, it raises a lot of concerns.”

In the minutes of a CNSC meeting on June 18, Ramzi Jammal, executive vice-president of the commission, said the safety cases allow for performance-based assessment and for the regulatory documents to be adaptable to future conditions.

“With performance-based you’re always achieving and applying the new standards as they become available. The same thing applies for the new technology,” Jammal said at the meeting. “As you are looking at enhancement for safety, you always take into consideration the new available information.”

But what is defined as low-level waste is flexible and depends on the safety cases presented to the CNSC, said Richard Cannings, NDP MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay and the party’s natural resources critic.

“That’s a problem. That’s not how it’s done elsewhere in the world,” he said. “They did it in Ottawa’s backyard.”

In the June 18 meeting, Karine Glenn, director of the wastes and decommissioning division for the CNSC, said low-level waste would mostly involve medical materials, but each safety case would be reviewed by the CNSC.

In Chalk River’s case, critics such as Eva Schacherl, a volunteer with the Coalition Against Nuclear Dumps on the Ottawa River, say they believe the “massive waste dump” would fail to manage the nuclear waste safely and that operators are failing to meet international standards at the site……….

both Schacherl and Hendrickson said they are concerned the site — which is within a little more than a kilometre of the Ottawa River, according to Hendrickson — could spread contamination.

“Waste has piled up at Chalk River, and there’s no long-term way of dealing with it,” said Hendrickson. “There would be a lot of leaching that would flow back into the Ottawa River.”

“Most countries with large quantities of nuclear waste have an independent federal nuclear waste agency,” said Hendrickson. “It’s not run by the industry like the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. It’s definitely not run by the nuclear regulator.”

Cannings agreed, adding that he was worried what impact having the NWMO responsible for the deep ground repositories could have for safety.

“There’s risks with everything. But the assessment of risks to a project by the proponent, by the industry — they’re going to be much more favourable, they’re going to accept more risk than the public because they’re protecting themselves,” said Cannings.

Two Ontario sites — South Bruce, near London, and Ignace, a three-hour drive northwest of Thunder Bay, are the only two communities still vying for the deep-ground repository project. Both proposals have been met with resistance from local residents………

Critics noted that several organizations and advocacy groups had requested but were denied permission to be present at the June meeting where the regulatory documents were presented via video conference. ………  https://capitalcurrent.ca/new-nuclear-waste-guidelines-could-lead-to-massive-dump-upstream-from-ottawa-if-approved/

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

The next threat: A high-level nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Safety documents by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) are vague, inadequate and put Canadians at risk  

Nuclear waste regulations put Canadians at risk  https://www.trailtimes.ca/opinion/cannings-nuclear-waste-regulations-put-canadians-at-risk/    Richard Cannings is in his second term as MP for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding, Jul. 2, 2020 The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) should not approve a suite of regulatory documents on radioactive waste at its meeting June 18, 2020 and instead live up to the Liberal government’s commitment to openness and transparency for regulatory development.

Some of these regulations developed by commission staff are at best vague guidelines that leave nuclear waste policy decisions in the hands of private industry, instead of actually prescribing actions that are in the public interest.

These regulatory changes would pave the way for several controversial nuclear waste disposal projects, including a giant mound at Chalk River, Ontario, two entombments of shut-down reactors, and a proposed deep geological repository for the burial of high-level nuclear fuel waste.

This proposal does not meet Canada’s commitment to meeting or surpassing international standards for the handling of nuclear waste.

For example, the entombment of nuclear reactors is designated as “in-situ decommissioning”, a practice that the International Atomic Energy Agency says should only be used as a last option for facilities damaged in accidents.

Of further concern is the lack of clarity in the proposed regulations.

In many cases the licensee is directed to develop safety requirements with no explicit directions as to what those safety requirements are.

The giant mound at Chalk River is meant to contain up to 1 million cubic metres of low- to intermediate-activity nuclear waste but these activity levels are not defined and the private owner of the facility would get to decide what materials are stored in that mound of nuclear waste.

The Minister of Natural Resources has committed to consulting Canadians on a policy framework and strategy for radioactive waste. Instead we have this backdoor process with limited public input and no parliamentary oversight.

The minister should be conducting a public process to develop a Canadian framework for radioactive waste management that meets or exceeds international best practices, a framework that does not allow the nuclear industry to police itself.

Richard Cannings is NDP Natural Resources Critic and MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

July 4, 2020 Posted by | Canada, safety | Leave a comment

No nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron: opposition of indigenous people, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, the deciding factor

OPG ends quest for nuclear waste dump on Lake Huron, Opposition of Saugeen Ojibway Nation is pivotal,   The Voice By Jim Bloch For MediaNews Group Jun 30, 2020

The quest for a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste on the lip of Lake Huron in Ontario is dead.

The 15-plus-year-old effort by Ontario Power Generation to build the underground dump for low and intermediate nuclear waste from Ontario’s 20 reactors appeared to end in January, following the vote of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation against the repository. Eighty-six percent of the first nation voted against the dump, 1,058-170.

SON is made up of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. Their territory includes the Bruce Peninsula and runs down the coast of Lake Huron past Goderich and along the shores of Georgian Bay to just beyond Collingwood. SON has roughly 4,500 members.

In 2013, OPG promised that it would not build the nuclear waste dump without SON’s support.

OPG officially terminated the project on May 27 in a letter to Jonathon Wilkerson, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, asking for the withdrawal of its application for a building license and ending the environmental impact assessment for the DRG.

“… OPG has informed the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that we do not intend to carry out the Project and have asked that the application for a Site Preparation and Construction License be withdrawn,” said Lise Morton, vice president of OPG’s Nuclear Waste Management Division. “Similarly, OPG requests the minister to cancel the environmental assessment for the Project.”

Wilkerson responded on June 15.

“I accept Ontario Power Generation’s request to withdraw the project from the federal environmental assessment process…,” said the minister.

Wilkerson also forwarded his decision to Rumina Velshi, president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission……..

The long term safety of the project — located less than a half-mile from Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes that provide drinking water to at least 34 million people in two countries — was at the heart of the controversy. …..

The underground dump was designed to store 200,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste, some of which would remain toxic for at least 100,000 years, roughly 10 times longer than the Great Lakes have been in existence; some of it would remain lethal for more than a million years.

Depositing so much toxic waste on the edge of 20% of the world’s surface fresh water was dubbed as insanity by critics, who pointed to the possibility of the DGR being overtopped by fresh water tsunamis like the Great Lakes Hurricane of 1912, breached by seismic activity in the region, of which there has been a significant amount, threatened by rising lake levels due to climate change, or even targeted by terrorists.

Critics noted that all major underground repositories for nuclear waste to date have failed.  https://www.voicenews.com/news/opg-ends-quest-for-nuclear-waste-dump-on-lake-huron/article_9c8334ac-bb07-11ea-8003-7fbee9888ced.html

July 2, 2020 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, wastes | Leave a comment

Small modular nuclear reactors fraught with problems

‘Many issues’ with modular nuclear reactors says environmental lawyer 
Jordan Gill
· CBC News ·Dec 03, 2019   Modular nuclear reactors may not be a cure for the nation’s carbon woes, an environmental lawyer said in reaction to an idea floated by three premiers.

Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, said the technology surrounding small reactors has numerous pitfalls, especially when compared with other renewable energy technology.

This comes after New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Ontario Premier Doug Ford agreed to work together to develop the technology……..

The premiers say the smaller reactors would help Canada reach its carbon reduction targets but McClenaghan, legal counsel for the environmental group, disagrees

“I don’t think it is the answer,” said McClenaghan. “I don’t think it’s a viable solution to climate change.”

McClenaghan said the technology behind modular reactors is still in the development stage and needs years of work before it can be used on a wide scale.

“There are many issues still with the technology,” said McClenaghan. “And for climate change, the risks are so pervasive and the time scale is so short that we need to deploy the solutions we already know about like renewables and conservation.”

Waste, security concerns: lawyer

While nuclear power is considered a low-carbon method of producing electricity, McClenaghan said the waste that it creates brings its own environmental concerns.

“You’re still creating radioactive waste,” said McClenaghan.

“We don’t even have a solution to nuclear fuel waste yet in Canada and the existing plans are not taking into account these possibilities.”

McClenanghan believes there are national security risks with the plan as well.

She said having more reactors, especially if they’re in rural areas, means there’s a greater chance that waste or fuel from the reactors could be stolen for nefarious purposes.

“You’d be scattering radioactive materials, potentially attractive to diversion, much further across the country,” said the environmental lawyer.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/many-issues-modular-nuclear-1.5381804

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Ontario Power Generation pulls the plug on nuclear waste project

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment