JRP Report - The Social Issues

June 16, 2015


Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

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The Joint Review Panel Recommendation

"The Panel is of the view that the sooner the waste is isolated from the surface environment the better. The Panel notes the importance of reducing and, if appropriate, reusing and recycling the waste. However, it recognizes that current technologies to alter the waste to render it no longer hazardous are limited, particularly for intermediate level waste that contains radionuclides with longer half-lives. The Panel concludes that the likelihood and consequences of an event resulting in the release of radionuclides from surface storage are greater than they would be for a DGR. The Panel is of the view that the risk of waiting until technologies are available to eliminate the hazards associated with longer-lived radionuclides outweighs the benefits."  For the entire report  go here Read More

We have summarized some of the key features of the JRP report in prior articles   The next category to cover is what has become known as the social component of the DGR.

Long term safety comes first and every social issue has to be weighed against safety effects.

The social issues have to blend to the safest solution to be meaningful.  Perceptions based upon non-facts and innuendo have to be cleared away.  

The reason that the anti-side both locally and internationally did not present a viable DGR alternative to the JRP stemmed from not being able to produce a safer alternative.  They just had no viable plan from do nothing to wait for scientific breakthroughs.

Every social issue imaginable is covered in the report. So a summary of the important issues regarding safety is tantamount to dealing in depth with the social context of the DGR. 

Does it not indicate something about the urgency when we reflect on the reason for in camera discussions about malevolent acts? (see Chapter 10 p. 227)

We can be sure that because of security considerations some of the JRP deliberations have been redacted.

The social considerations have to be in concert with every aspect of safety.  That's an axiom that guided the JRP.  It is not credible to hold up a social issue as a reason for opting for a less safe solution.  Those alternatives included 'Do Nothing' and the present method of passing on the waste issue to the next generation with what improvements can be made safely.

Just think about that.  There are some who are opting for something far less safe than the DGR.  Why?

How come local groups from a background that does not include expertise or education in the field of nuclear power and waste can go against safety and a long and deliberate study over more than a decade?

Many before the JRP spoke eloquently about stewardship, but failed to recognize that stewardship lines up tightly with safety and dies without it.    We cannot have stewardship without safety.

The report deals  with health, social traditions and the environment, but in each category and sub-category, the JRP goes back to SAFETY. 

The panel states clearly that the construction of a DGR must be done as quickly as possible.

" ... the sooner the waste is isolated from the surface environment the better."

The Social side of the DGR became discouraging for me early on when confusion reigned in local groups put together hastily to stop the process of even considering solutions in a precise and measured way.  They wanted to trump safety without information.

I had followed the issues for some time and had recommended to people that they pay attention to the extensive outreach by OPG, NWMO and CNSC.  All the information was there to bring residents and summer residents up to date and to mitigate fear, uncertainty and doubt.

The residents working at Bruce Power were familiar with and knew the technical terms, so they picked up on the facts quickly. 

Those who were unfamiliar and primarily summer residents started off with few facts and were then hit by a barrage of propaganda orchestrated by international activists and local groups who took up the cause with intrusive signs as symbols.  Facts were  left behind and propaganda was brought foreward. 

It was as though some in the  community awoke from a dream and began straight away to close their minds to facts presented by real and accredited experts.   A strange reality revolves around anti-nuclear people ignoring the waste.  Not liking nuclear power is a viewpoint that can be defended, but waste is here now.  Why are they against safety for the waste embodied in a permanent solution?

They were dictated to by their own version of common sense.  Worst of all, as time went on, they did not try to correct errors of fact.  In fact week after week they piled up more non-facts.

In the final report the JRP talked at length about this whole idea of common sense (p. 377 introduces the concept) Repeated use of the words 'common sense' by those against the DGR took place before, during and now, after the hearings.  Not only was this not common, but it was nonsense.  Of course the panel did not rely on common sense and non-facts coming from the anti-side.

I was so struck by the use of the term, I wrote an article 'The Myth of Common Sense' Click Here   Good science is wary of what appears to be full of wisdom, but on closer examination is not.  The earth as the centre of the universe once was a common sense 'fact'.

Click the orange arrow to read the second column


The panel answered doubts right up front.  They accepted the information accumulated by the experts and non-experts called before them and rejected information that was not to the point and not factual.  This was all done without rancor or recrimination. The panel members were patient and ran a class act.

The JRP outlined the arguments of those against in section 14.3 ("Summary of comments received regarding Lake Huron and other Great Lakes") beginning on p. 377

These were all answered in the report.  The view taken was focused by one lens ... SAFETY!

A careful review of the JRP report is vital to understanding the social issues.  Rejecting the JRP report flies in the face of all the careful study that went into it.

For example, if property value is a social issue too, then we should study the JRP's report and the record of testimony on that issue. Property values were used as a way to get to the area population, but it's a weak ploy.  The cost of a barrel of oil from the Canadian tar sands has more to do with property values than the DGR.

It is difficult to answer property values beforehand.  But the JRP took testimony on that issue.  It's a highly studied issue.  Property values alone are mentioned 23 times in the JRP report along with mitigation.  The word Safety was used 504 times, while geology had 37 references.  By the way malevolent  was mentioned 77 times.  Draw your conclusions.

Why is it that the local anti-groups are having such a visceral reaction to the JRP report?  They could not have expected a different result after all the testimony and 10 years of research.  The clarity of the report shows how weak were there arguments.

Two recent deputations at Saugeen Shores Council projected their views accurately.  They acted wounded.  Their reaction stems from one source.  The JRP report is reasoned, clear and totally at odds with their views.

Instead of reasoned arguments, they have been stuck from the start with nothing to put forward.  Now they are filing a law suit against the JRP.  Their stated reasons?  Here they are:

"SOS asks Federal Court to reject the Joint Review Panel's report approving OPG's Lake Huron nuclear waste dump because of the Panel's multiple legal errors, bias and reliance on evidence based on deceptive and unlawful conduct."

 For the entire JRP report  go here Read More

How to find and read the conclusions

For Qualifications of the JRP see below:

Go to the JRP 432 page report. Full screen version Read More

Search for the word "summary" and you will get all the places that the JRP summarizes their conclusions that result in the overall opinion outlined in the red paragraph above. 

In addition you can look at the articles listed below.

DGR The JRP Report -- Panel Qualifications. Read More

For the nature of radiation see below:

DGR The JRP Process: Low & Intermediate waste overview Read More

The DGR Process and Safety

DGR The DGR process, safety and simplicity as viewed by the JRP Read More

The JRP and Geology

DGR The Joint Review Panel looks at the Geology Read More


Survey  Saugeen Times Read More
Survey Kincardine Read More
Survey  Walkerton News Read More

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