May 19, 2015
It's all about safety. Nothing else matters.
Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling
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We have written many articles about the DGR. We are now trying to highlight the final report. We started with the Panel Qualifications and now we are on to the process in Chapter 2.
The JRP report is very clear and it is presented in pdf format with many hyperlinks. For example, the reader can click on items in the table of contents and go directly to them. Finding names and items is a simple 'find' search.
There was a lot of talk by the anti-side that the process was flawed and illegal and should be declared invalid. The process is described in Chapter 2 starting on page 8 and finishing on page 19 For a quick review tables 1 and 2 show the highlights.
I cannot find any flaws in the process. There probably are some, but where are they? The anti-side never made a clear case that would cause the JRP to shut down, although they tried a number of times to do just that. It was an uphill task for the anti-side. It was much like trying to have a judge disqualify her/himself.
Even as late as the May 11th Saugeen Shores Town Council meeting, the head of the SOS said:
SOS believes " ... in the strongest terms, that the OPG justification for site of a DGR for radioactive nuclear waste at the Bruce Site is unsupportable, is based on flawed process and logic, has relied on contrived and unlawful means of support and should be rejected."
The anti-side made much of meetings that took place between members of council, mayors, OPG and NWMO thus violating the Municipal act, which was not in existence when some of the meetings took place.
When the law was in place, the report stated that no nefarious motives were found. Below is the statement by Nigel Bellchamber consultant about that very subject -- that's some name by the way:
"However, the question needs to be asked, did the members deliberately contravene the Act? Our conclusion is that they did not. There is no evidence that we can determine that any mayor or county staff member raised the issue with the elected officials that they might be in breach of the Act as county councillors."
This ruling was made much of by the anti-faction in order to imply that the entire process was flawed. That simply does not pass muster. The JRP rejected it.
The municipal act implies that every time a group of elected officials gets together with a major company or other major sources of tax revenue, it should be considered a meeting of Council or County Council with minutes and notices. It's kind of hard to get things done with the act in place, but so be it. Notices are posted and minutes taken and filed.
The meetings in question had to do with information transfer and preplanning. No spy novel plot here.
Another attempt by the anti-side referred to not being notified. That did not pass scrutiny either when OPG, CNSC and NWMO detailed their intensive outreach program that started early and was logged. When all this outreach came out at the hearings, I was surprised. The shear volume surprised the anti-faction too.
The anti-side just cannot get traction any more on this whole idea of not being informed. On the contrary they had a hard time gathering an audience to support them on that issue.
Even at the last Saugeen Shores meeting they had faithful anti-attendees. You can get a good guess at their numbers, because they leave as soon as their representative speaks and don't stay for the rest of the Council meeting. Bad form, but there you go. Only the folks there or watching the webcast notice.
There were only 5 people in the community watching the webcast, so even now there is not much interest in watching over again the same arguments against the DGR and the JRP by the anti-side. People are interested in forward progress or lack thereof.
Still others said that the JRP process was flawed because cross-examination was not in play. Of course this was silly. The whole public process was very well handled and all the anti-arguments were presented many times and answered by the appropriate agency and/or experts many times. Never was cross examination anticipated, but many questions were allowed.
We have to keep in mind the JRP was trying to find facts for themselves first of all and for the public too and not looking for a Perry Mason style proceeding. The way the panel and process were structured was clear to all at the start. It was formal, information rich and polite. The process was clear and shown in table 1 and table 2.
One anti-person, who was a lawyer complained that he could not possibly read or understand the material in the time allotted (which stretched back more than a decade) He complained about too much information. He struggled from the start with the science and engineering and never made anything of his arguments. At the start he was confused about waste types. After many months of hearings he was still confused -- too bad.
The lawyer and others said the process was unfair because OPG gave out too much information to digest and it was too slick and well done, thereby fooling the reader. I guess this is deception by excellence.
I can't imagine an instruction from a supervisor to an OPG outreach employee saying:
"I'd like you to produce less information for outreach and while you are at it, make it look a little sloppy or a tad unprofessional."
All these complaints were hollow and were rejected by the JRP. They were noted and set aside. They were part of the record, but did not make the final cut in the JRP report. That was expected for anyone who followed the public hearings.
What was not expected was how the same arguments came up again and again and still do. But, where is the anti-side safety case?. Where is their positive safety case? What do they suggest for an action plan.
'I've tried to get more out of the anti-side's complaints about the process. I could just not find any decent arguments that were supported by facts. I guess it's a lawyers job to try to do so. It's difficult. Maybe they can find something of value in the arguments as summarized.
Chapter 3 should be more interesting as it is all about the Environmental Assessment Methodology.
Let's all remember. It's all about safety. Safety is the only winner.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015