Panel approves DGR concept and submits report to Federal Government
by Sandy Lindsay

May 6, 2015


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The Joint Review Panel (JRP) established by the Federal Government  to review a deep geologic repository (DGR) for the storage of low and intermediate-level nuclear waste (L&ILW), as proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), has approved the concept and submitted its findings to the Minister of the Environment, Leona Aglukkaq, today (May 6th).

The JRP agrees with the international consensus that deep geologic disposal/storage of radioactive waste is the preferred option to contain and isolate radioactive waste from humans and the biosphere.

The Panel concluded that deep burial of the waste would pose a lower risk to human health and the environment than surface storage that could be impacted by natural hazards such as flooding, tornadoes and earthquakes as well as malfunctions, accidents or malevolent acts.

The JRP also says that the sooner the waste is isolated from the surface the better but also recognized the need for future reducing, reusing and recycling.  However, the Panel also says in its report that "the risk of waiting until technologies are available to eliminate the hazards associated with longer-lived radionuclides outweighs the benefits.

The Panel also agreed with OPG that a DGR at the Bruce Nuclear site would be more sustainable than if developed offsite.  The burial and pre-closure period would last some 60 years that would include site preparation, construction, operations and decommissioning.  The Panel also felt that the project will not affect Lake Huron given the mitigation measures proposed and the 40+ years of management practices with an exemplary safety record.

The 40 hectare underground storage will be located at the Bruce site with 30 hectares on the surface and site preparation and construction are expected to last approximately 10 years and the operations phase for some 40 years.  The anticipated cost for the project is $1Billion.

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Used/spent nuclear fuel is not part of the DGR application as Kincardine, the host community, passed a resolution indicating that no used fuel was to be placed in the proposed DGR.

The Panel agreed that the storage of nuclear related waste should not be left unresolved for future generations.

The Government now has 120 days to either accept or decline the report and its recommendations.To read the entire JRP report,  here.  (The document is lengthy so give it time to load)

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015