Observations on the first week of the extended JRP hearings beginning September 9th, 2014


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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The Joint Review Panel (JRP) hearings continue in Kincardine.  The first week of the extended sessions on the proposed DGR began on September 9th.

The panel wanted new and supporting information on six topics that they selected from last years' hearings for further study.

So far the presentations and questions to Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) have been as anticipated and have followed the general subject guidelines. 

The interveners from the public exhibited mixed results.  The expected star of the anti-groups, Dr. Frank Greening, was disappointing. due to not following the rules set out by the JRP

The rules were adhered to in general by the other presenters, but Dr. Greening violated them.

The panel expected presenters both expert and from the general public to submit written text that would mirror their in person testimony.  In addition the subject should be related to the six selected topics in a general way.  Why?

It is to be remembered that the JRP, OPG, CNSC and the public want to be prepared to listen to and understand what the presenter has to say and if necessary do prior research to understand and ask intelligent questions of the intervener.

Dr. Greening submitted written testimony and it was clear that all parties were interested in understanding it and if possible, asking him questions about it. They had studied it. They were fully prepared to question him.  This did not happen.

Greening was allowed to finish his testimony, but the chair did not entertain questions to him immediately. 

Dr. Swanson asked him why he did not adhere to the guidelines.  He replied saying that he had been working 24/7 for months on the DGR subject and wanted to present his latest thoughts.  The chair was gratified that he admitted that the material did not resemble in a material way what he had prepared in his written submission.

The JRP will rule on whether or not to accept his testimony and entertain questions.  This ruling is expected this week by the chair.

I'd like to see him questioned on both his written submissions and his oral testimony.  It would add rather than subtract from the record. 

It is, however, understandable if the panel rejects the oral testimony and accepts the prior written text.  It's a very awkward situation to be put in and Greening should not feel good about it.

All interveners were given months to prepare for 10 minute and 30 minute presentations.  He could have given the panel his latest thoughts in written form because he was reading them anyway.  One suspects they were not in shape to be presented before the written deadline.

He could have presented the testimony he originally submitted and entertained questions about it.  Is it still valid or does it have flaws?

The chair thought in the spirit of fairness not to entertain questions about his latest thoughts until they have had time to think about it and their schedules.  Furthermore, CNSC and OPG have to be consulted to determine if they have had time to understand, agree or refute what he said in oral form.

The JRP wanted everyone prepared with facts to add to or subtract from Greenings testimony.  By submitting new material, according to the chair, Greening had circumvented the rules and interjected a modicum of unfairness.  He knew the rules and the reason for them.  He is an former employee in the nuclear industry.

It could be that the JRP, OPG and CNSC will have time near the end of the extended hearings and will be prepared to question him.  I hope so.

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By way of background the written record shows rejection of many of Greenings views.  This has played out in back and forth emails that are on record on OPG and CNSC sites for all to read.  They are very detailed and interesting.

In the interest of total information flow, it's not good that this was done.  I hope the JRP considers both parts and allows both to be questioned like the other presenters.

Greening is an experienced speaker.   He has been interviewed many times by national and international news sources concerning the 911 disaster.  He has changed his mind about it, but the former thoughts linger on in Internet posts.

He came armed to his JRP session with a thick stack of papers.  I was concerned that these would be shuffled and mixed up or searched through to find some topic.  This was NOT the case.  Greening handled the stack of papers in admirable style.  He seems expert in that phase of testimony.

Sometimes he would refer to the formidable stack by saying.  I have it right here.  This  meant that some reference was deep within the stack.  For example he spoke about an obscure US Patent on incendiary bomb making.  He tapped the pile and said he had it right there.

He also drank water frequently as he talked, showing no signs of nervousness.  He handled that very well.  I admired his calmness and they way he dealt with the the papers.  A lesser person would be totally lost.  I'm sure I would have been searching under my seat for some dropped reference.

Other Interesting Testimony

  • One intervener said that the JRP should shut down because he and all normal human beings can't remember the testimony that began last year.

  • Another presenter submitted many thoughts, facts and opinions.  She was not convinced by them because she could not understand them.  Therefore, she votes no to the DGR.

  • The most successful non-expert presenters are those that frame their arguments without detail.  Detail that is wrong gets them in trouble.  Those that avoid it, avoid probing questions and corrections from OPG and CNSC.  They get their key ideas out without detail and are more effective.

  • One presenter got confused on the source and validity of her information. She cut herself short. The JRP gently questioned her as it was clear that she was misinformed. She stepped aside with grace and all could see the JRP appreciated her honesty.



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Sunday, September 14, 2014