The Gorilla in the Room

Malevolent Acts


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.

I've tried to watch or read the transcripts of most all of the JRP proceedings. I will probably lag a couple of days until the transcripts start flowing.

The opponents of the DGR so far have stayed away from the words 'malevolent acts'.  These are acts by humans intending harm.  This is the Gorilla sitting in the audience, who never asks a question is almost unmentioned, but not ignored.  Why have the anti-DGR folks shied away from going into scenarios that involve terrorism?

We know why OPG and CNSC do not go into detail about mitigation of terrorism.  We know why the JRP is cautious about it.  Security makes that subject off limits in open session to some degree.

The reason the anti-DGR people ignore terrorism is clear.   Above ground storage is far more vulnerable to these acts than deep geologic storage.   If the opponents of the DGR for low and intermediate waste face that fact, then they cannot use their rolling stewardship argument and do nothing arguments, which are directed toward status quo leading to generational turn-over into the future. 

Rolling stewardship holds that this generation should monitor and make remedial repairs to above ground waste storage and then turn it over to the next generation for its version of stewardship.  This argument was brought up already on Day 1 of the fall session by its author and another lay person who made a curtailed presentation.

This is clearly a lame argument that involves just what many of the anti folks object to in strong terms in the DGR.  They don't trust the present science, engineering and methods and they don't trust the future science either. 

So why do they trust this strange idea of rolling stewardship?  The argument has no structure and many flaws. 

It's a pass along and hope for the best strategy.  Does the strategy involve moving the waste, building a giant above ground steel and concrete vault, testing on site for new experimental mitigation techniques?  This is all left unsaid in the two words 'Rolling Stewardship'.  Oh my!

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But, somehow they like the idea of the same people who they don't trust now taking care of the waste for this generation and on into the future until some magic anti-radiation wand appears to their great, great, ..... great grandchildren's generation of scientists.

How on earth does that argument hold together?  Is it solid?  Is it predictive of safety?  Does it cover glacial action, eons of time, terrorism and natural disaster at the surface?

One intervener yesterday was honest and up front.  She said that the reactors should be shut down now so that no more waste is produced.  She was clearly anti-nuclear and was up front about it.  

Others are afraid to say what they think for fear of a reaction from their nuclear power worker neighbors.  It's easier to attack the waste and call things dumps.

This speaker was also a bit mixed up about some factual information.  The panel was helpful and pointed out the errors in her presentation's information content.  After being a bit flustered, she cut her presentation short.  She did it with a lot of grace and the panel appreciated it.

Some of the questions to the panel went over old material that had been covered before.  The panel has been very patient, but they clearly want to get on with any new information that is available.  One forgets that they have to get their questions answered, not coddle questioners.  They are always patient and polite to their credit.

One unique argument came forward.  The questioner went after the panel about the length of time from the first session last year until now saying that no human could remember all the testimony.  He had forgotten the demeanor of past presenters. Therefore, the hearings should be stopped.  He also brought up his pet project.  He argues for one DGR fits all.  Of course that's a red herring.  How this works with his other objections is never explained.  The chairperson cut him short on this, having heard it many times.

Of course this time lapse that deals our collective memories blank is not valid.  All the transcripts are available as are the archived videos.  Maybe JRP tutors could be enlisted to help go through what is on record for certain people and groups.

Anyway, the materials available can help a faulty memory.  What else can help is listening carefully.

Stay tuned -- some of this has to wait until both sides have had their say.



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Wednesday, September 10, 2014