DGR First Impressions of the Joint Review Panel

Some Facts:

  • Ontario has 20 of Canada's 22 nuclear reactors

  • 80% of all electricity generating plants in Ontario will need to be refurbished or replaced in the next 15 to 20 years

  • 441 nuclear power reactors are operating in 30 countries

  • All the waste created by Canada's plants needs long term storage.

  • A properly designed DGR requires the use of standard engineering and not a scientific breakthrough.


What am I for and what I know

 I'm for the selection of the safest spot for DGRs based upon facts including all the risks for long term storage of nuclear waste.  It's too important an issue to be derailed.

Further, I don't care where it goes as long as it is the best site geologically and strategically with risk minimized.  There are no scientific breakthroughs required.


Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

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How to look for yourself

The sessions are webcast in streaming form.  In the future they might put past sessions on for video review.  You can see the streaming version when in session Read More

Sessions are recorded in normal court form and put on the web in a reasonable time.  Look down on this web page and you will see a calendar.  Poke at a date and look below to see if a session transcript is available. Read More

The Scene and Participants

  • The panel is in control of the meetings. (See panel members:  Read More They are front and centre.
  • Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNRC) are permanently seated.
  • People who are presenting come forward according to the schedule You can see the daily schedules on the streaming page. Poke at the calendar again and then look for the agenda below it. Read More
  • The participants address the chair and present.  Afterward the chair and the panel can ask questions or clarify issues with OPG and CNRC or others they select.
  • Questions are entertained from the audience and are heard by the chair.  The chair directs the question to one or more experts for clarification.

There have been a number of local people speak or ask questions.  You can find their testimony and or questions in the transcripts.

Initial Impressions:

I've spent time watching the proceedings on streaming video and then following up with detailed reading of the court recorded transcripts.  It is not good just to be there or watch the video.  It is much better to follow up with the recorded testimony and go over it in detail.

The Panel to their credit reads the written deputations of presenters before their testimony or seems to do so on some of them.  The written deputations as compared to testimony often differs dramatically.  It is wise to read the testimony  The Panel often points out inconsistencies or probes for clarity in general statements.

OPG and CNRC have to have their experts there at all times to field questions.

I've noticed that some of the interveners and questioners have a very limited knowledge base, while other speakers know a great deal.

This disparity should be closed, but how?  What amount of information transfer is possible?  I don't know.

I've noticed that some of the speakers pose a terrible dilemma.  It goes something like this for John Mann who presented and is at the hearings daily asking questions.

"When you start talking your technical stuff, you might as well be reading Latin to  me.  But I want to be part of it, and I'm not." (Volume 2, page 268 lines 18, 19 and 20)

So Mr. Mann says for the record that the 'technical stuff" mystifies him as much as Latin and he cannot understand it and yet he wants to be part of the process..  That means he has to be very serious about finding out facts, technical or not.  Like a new employee on a job that is unfamiliar, he has to be educated or educate himself in order to be creditable.

One speaker, Sandy Greer, presented an argument  based upon her insight into human nature.  She did her thesis on Spiritual Psychology.

"... we have lateralized hemispheres in our brain, the left and the right brain, and that in Euro western culture we tend to privilege the left brain, which is the rational analytic linear way of looking at the world. And we undervalue, I feel, too often the other aspect of our brain that does influence us unconsciously no matter what field we work in, and the right brain deals with the imagination, intuition, creativity, holistic, thinking and so on."(Volume 3 page 252, lines 1 to 13

So how do we base any decision on the DGR on the right side of our brain?.  How do we measure its effectiveness versus putting facts together with a rational process?.  Are we better decision makers base upon what we garner from the right side of the brain?  How does Ms Greer help us to solve problems with her thesis.

I can't imagine CNRC, OPG and the panel answering an audience question like "HOW DO YOU KNOW?" by saying: "My  right side tells me so!"  Even though that is a whimsical thought, how does she know even in her own system of thought that OPG, NWMO, CNRC and the panel are not using the whole brain or not using it?

So how does one approach these two viewpoints.  In the first case information that is technical is rejected as too complicated to learn.  In the second rational thought should be evaluated only when we can somehow let our unconscious have a vote, I guess..  How does that work?

Click the orange arrow to read the second column



Some of the questioners are being coached by anti-nuclear people.  They stumble over their own questions and terms.   Too bad this is done.  It would be better to have them present the question in their own words rather than making errors in technical jargon, notation and confusing radiation dose rates.

 It's ok to have them coached and ask the question, but when they clearly don't understand the question they are asking, it does not add to the information transfer, when highly technical answers are given.  If the questions were asked in more general terms, then the answers would come back in terms that could be understood.

This is not a smart guys vs. the rest of us issue.  It's a matter of respect for a knowledge base and field of study.


The panel is doing a good job as are OPG and CNSC in fielding questions and giving new information.  A  list of unanswered questions is kept by the panel and OPG and CNSC are asked to answer them by a date that they agree upon.  They call them 'undertakings'

The people objecting uniformly have no valid suggestions for alternate solutions that have not been considered and rejected on their merits in the past.

Some have called for status quo with good monitoring.  This does not take into consideration the very  risks that they bring up.  Is it better and safer to be deep below or is it best to do nothing and be open to the full strength of the risks?  The panel has probed this question and the proponents of do nothing flounder with answers when asked.  They need to sharpen their responses.

Showing my own bias for rational thought in Ms. Greer's philosophy,  I would settle for just being left brained, whatever that means.

To  speak to Mr. Mann's thoughts.  Latin was very hard for many. It's equally hard to become familiar with the grammar and vocabulary of nuclear engineering.  I commend him for attending the sessions some of which he finds difficult to understand.  I'm sure he is gaining some insights into the subject at hand.

For a detailed look at some of the opinions and solutions brought forward see below

DGR A Year and a little more in review Read More

Survey Participate in our latest Kincardine Times survey Read More Survey Participate in our latest Saugeen Times survey Read More Survey Participate in our latest Walkerton News survey Read More

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Sunday, September 22, 2013