DGR What if? 


Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

To Comment on this article use this address saugeentimes1@hotmail.com

Sometimes it is helpful to look at the inverse of issues that are complex. Ask the questions.  Turn arguments around.  Is it all good or all bad?  Is it two sides of the same coin?

Sometimes things jump out that were there, but we forgot to look from a different angle. Sometimes just interchanging two events in time is useful.  We will attempt to do just that.

What if a DGR had been built in Kincardine prior to 1968 before Douglas Point began producing waste? 

Many people in the nuclear industry understood that storage would be a good thing to have in place before waste was produced in large quantities.  They could have produced a DGR.

Let's suppose this 1960s version of a DGR was built 2500 feet deep in the same spot as proposed for the low and intermediate waste DGR in Kincardine.

Suppose everything worked as designed and all the other power plants in Ontario were pleased to send their waste to the DGR over the decades.

Transportation was worked out. Container research had produced a solution.  So it was a well managed functioning process for nuclear waste that was designed before the reactors went into production.

Now, suppose further that some folks came along about now in 2015 and complained bitterly:

We don't like the spot chosen in the early 60s for the DGR. We object to it being in our area.  We don't understand it.

Here are our reasons:

  • We were not consulted when it really counted in the early 1960s.

  • Yes, we are told it has been safe down there all these years, but we think it would be safer above ground where it can be seen and monitored.

  • 'Secret' meetings were held way back then and some communities got money to host the DGR before we were paying attention.  We were not considered important.

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  • It's close to being closed, sealed and decommissioned. You've designed it not to require day to day monitoring.  We don't like this.

  • We don't trust the science.  We know how to judge what's safe and what's safer.

  • Our 'experts' say it is safer kept at the surface and turned over for stewardship to the generations to follow until some other solution is found.

  • We've contacted our Great Lake friends in the USA and they agree with us. We spoke at a few of their Town Councils.  They agreed instantly with us. Our 'experts' were interviewed on talk radio shows. We've told all who would listen, that it is dangerous down there.  You can't give us 100% assurance that it isn't!

Finally, we know another solution is coming, so in the mean time dig it up and move it away from us and store it above ground somewhere else and make sure you avoid the storms in winter too in the transport of it to the far, far north.

Suppose the good people who want the DGR dug up and moved form groups, hold meetings, invite anti-nuclear activists to come and inform them.

They put up signs that say "Dig Up The Dump!" in bold yellow and black. Ominous indeed.

What would happen in such an interchange in time of two events?

A review panel might be formed to hear testimony from real experts and the public. 

CNSC, OPG and NWMO would get involved to inform the public about the consequences and risks to us of the the Dig Up the Dump movement. They would hold their breath and hope that people would see that below is better than above.

It would take a few years, maybe 10 and many hundreds of meetings with the public.  There would be scores of open houses to sell the 'DIG UP The DUMP' project hosted by the activists and information sessions hosted by CNSC, OPG and NWMO to bring forth their view of the safety issue.

Suppose it was a successful grass roots movement by the activists.  They would put the cork in the bottle for sure.

Would everyone of us feel safer with the surface solution no matter where it was located?  Would we support such a campaign? How would this appear to future generations?

This could have happened.  The engineering to dig deep repositories existed and it could have been done in the late 50s and been ready by 1968.

So interchanging two events in time sheds some light on what we are doing today. 

Would you feel safer with No Nuke Dump or Dig up the Dump?

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Sunday, February 22, 2015