The Panel Qualifications
May 14, 2015
Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling
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The backlash concerning the Joint Review Panel's recommendation on the proposed DGR takes many forms. It comes from the same sources that have been waving from the sidelines and putting up signs since they became aware of the 14 year long project. They ignored it for many years and now claim lack of outreach on the part of OPG, which is nonsense.
One thing that seems to be missing from the anti-side is direct attacks on the panel members themselves. Did I miss something? Why no biting comments about them? They are the ones that made the recommendation based upon the facts.
There is the proponent Ontario Power Generation and the regulator CNSC too. Then there is the NWMO who have been taking care of the waste for years. The panel wrote the report, however.
Many of the anti-activists lead off with a statement that they are NOT anti-nuclear, but then proceed to tear away at the fabric of the organizations involved. Every deputation from them before councils has the same structure.
The JRP rarely is subject to scorn other than the implied inclusion of the JRP in the phrases that begin with THEY .... meaning OPG, NWMO, SNSC and the JRP.
Let's look first at the responsibility of the panel. What is it? In one word it is SAFETY. The JRP had an awesome responsibility and they knew it. They could easily have 'punted' and said that more study is needed after 14 years and millions upon millions of dollars invested in the project and running into the millions for outreach of information to the public, other agencies and the United States agencies too. They did not punt. Why?
The reason is that they considered all the alternatives including do nothing and came out clearly that the DGR at the Bruce is the safest alternative.
There they are -- three people of impeccable backgrounds reviewing thousands of pages of information and hundreds of individual testimonies and reports. They say yes to the safest solution proposed including all the anti-people's meanderings.
Sometimes they had to act as teacher to some anti-representatives as their questions were so far off base that there was no place to direct them. In those cases, they just asked a question as a substitute much to the bewilderment of the anti-faction. Dr. Swanson was very diplomatic. Read the record and you'll see.
In the future we will examine each chapter of the JRP's conclusion document, but now let's just look at the panel. Who are they? Are they qualified? See bios in the second column.
It's an all-star threesome with very quick and incisive minds. Yet, they never get any direct respect from the anti-side. Their considered decision does not even get read before a condemnation hits the press. That's silly, don't you think?
And oh, by the way their final report was 432 pages long. Immediately the anti groups reacted to it. Did they carefully study it? Not a chance.
Take a look at the bios of Swanson, Archibald and Muecke. They engender trust.
The anti-side must address the safety case, the JRP did. Let's say that again. The anti-side must address the safety case. They have not done so. But, what they advocate or don't is not important. It's what the JRP said that should be studied not the convoluted arguments of the anti-side both local and international.
Read the report. I'll try to unpack some of it in future articles. For now study the bios. What do you think? The skill set is geology, mining and the impact of radiation on the biosphere and the drainage of lakes and rivers. Just right for the task they undertook.
So here we have it. The JRP was very qualified. The proponent was too. The regulator knows the science and wants a safe solution. At the beginning of all this I had an open mind. As the JRP hearings went forward and I listened to the sign people, I knew they were all wet, but again they are not important. Safety is.
The entire argument rests on safety. The JRP found the answer. I've followed every word and witness. The JRP is correct. They selected the safest of all alternatives.
So the anti-side must make a case for a safer solution with their limited knowledge and background. We all are wishing for such an alternative. Where is it?
Stella Swanson - Panel Chair
Dr. Stella Swanson was born and raised on a farm near Rockglen, Saskatchewan. She received her BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Regina and her PhD in Limnology at the University of Saskatchewan.
She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Radiation
Ecology at the Saskatchewan Research Council.
James F. Archibald - Panel Member
Dr. James F. Archibald is a professor in the Robert M.
Buchan Department of Mining, Queen's University at Kingston. He has
knowledge and direct experience of both the federal and provincial
environmental assessment processes, having been an appointed member of
the federal-provincial review panel for new uranium mine developments in
the Province of Saskatchewan. Dr. Archibald was also a technical advisor
to the federal review panel that assessed nuclear fuel waste disposal
Gunter Muecke - Panel Member
Dr. Muecke graduated from the University of Alberta with
a B.Sc. in Geology in 1963 and a Masters Degree in Structural Geology in
1964. In 1969, he received a D.Phil. in Geochemistry from Oxford
University. Dr. Muecke started his career as a field geologist for Shell
Canada (1960-1963) and became a lecturer in Mineralogy at Oxford
University (1968-1970). He then pursued a teaching career at Dalhousie
University, in the Department of Geology and Earth Sciences (1970-1985)
and at the School of Resource and Environmental Studies (1985-1998).
From 1998 to 2006, he assumed post-retirement appointments as Associate
Research Professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Studies
and at the Faculty of Science (Geographic Information Systems).
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Thursday, May 14, 2015