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Joint Panel Review Proposal ... Day 5

DGR

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Dr. Gordon Edwards, PhD., President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), presented a submission on Friday, September 20, (2013) at the hearing being held in Kincardine (ON) for OPG's Deep Geological Repository (DGR) Project for Low and Intermediate Level Waste.

CCNR began in 1975 in Montreal with 30 members.  Today, according to Edwards, it is a 'clearing house' for information to the community and to present a united front to the Federal Government.  "We are now a Montreal-based think tank connected to other groups across Canada."

While he spoke on several aspects of the proposed DGR, his main focus was that of abandonment.  "We have to separate two concepts," he said, "that of a repository vs. dump and the unethical, unscientific and unsustainable decision to be made."

Edwards stressed that a repository is very different from a dump'.  "A dump is 'out of sight out of mind while a repository is viewed as a temporary holding tank for nuclear waste where is is available at all times for monitoring,, maintenance and retrieval. A 'dump' becomes abandoned and is a DUD (Deep Underground Dump)

"There is no doubt that we need and want a long term solution for waste," he added, "but pretending that we do have a solution is unethical and dishonest.  Furthermore, OPG has a conflict of interest. that started back in 1976.  Are we dealing with this problem or is this about public relations?"

According to Edwards, volumes of waste grow exponentially as everything that comes into contact with radioactivity in turn becomes radioactive.

He also said that confusion has been caused by the use of the term DGR for both low level & intermediate waste and high level waste.  "We thing that using the term for both categories or waste is not accidental but deliberate. Ordinary citizens are confused by the use of the same term for two supposedly quite different projects."

"One concept that could be considered is 'rolling stewardship," said Edwards.  "Part of this would be to package them (wastes) very well and pass them on to the next generation with the admonition that these wastes are very dangerous and must be maintained in a safe state.  The next generation must then be prepared to spend money on the wastes, monitor them and maintain them.  In the future there may be better ways to repackage, better ways to keep them safely isolated from the environment of living things. Looking after this radioactive legacy by each successive generation is 'rolling stewardship'."

 

 

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Edwards said that it is better to keep future generations informed as to the care of nuclear waste until a solution is found rather than chance burying it until when, in a distance future, someone chances across it and does not have any idea of what to do.

 

"In our opinion," said Edwards, "whatever the decisions about the DGR, the panel should not at this time give approval.  If the DGR is approved on the basis of its becoming a 'dump', it should not be approved. We need a Federal policy on all forms of radioactive waste.


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Friday, September 20, 2013