New & Noteworthy

A special section to keep you up to date on events, research, and stories relevant to the NWMO’s proposal to site the Deep Geological Repository in South Bruce. It will be updated regularly. Sign up for updates here.
  • STATEMENT BY REPS. KILDEE, LEVIN, MEIJER ON MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT BIDEN AND CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU

    November 18, 2021| Press Release
    WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) and Congressman Peter Meijer (MI-03) issued the following statement as President Joe Biden meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

    “Canada is an important ally and trading partner to the United States with whom we work on many binational issues, including protecting the Great Lakes. We are disappointed the Canadian government has proposed building a permanent nuclear waste repository in the Great Lakes basin, threatening the drinking water of more than 40 million people on both sides of the border. A growing number of Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, are opposed to this dangerous proposal.

    Continue Reading this Statement Here 

  • Michigan lawmakers want Biden to stop proposed Canadian nuclear waste storage near Great Lakes

    Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are calling on President Joe Biden to formally oppose Canadian plans to permanently store nuclear waste at a facility near Lake Huron.

    Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organization has five facilities slated for nuclear waste storage — among them the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in South Bruce, Ontario. South Bruce is about 30 miles east of Lake Huron. While the facility is currently approved for interim waste storage currently, NWMO unveiled plans for permanent storage last year.

    Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, led lawmakers in introducing the resolution. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, are also among the resolution's 20 co-signers. 

    “The Great Lakes are the pride and joy of Michigan. They are home to wide range of plant and animal species, generate more than $3.1 trillion in economic activity, support hundreds of thousands of jobs, and underpin Michigan’s flourishing fishing, boating, and tourism industries,” Upton said in a statement.

    “The long-term preservation of these natural treasures remains a top priority for me and the entire Great Lakes Caucus. We can never allow hazardous materials of any kind — particularly nuclear waste — to be stored anywhere near the Great Lakes. Period.”

    Continue reading this article at the Holland Sentinel →

  • Draft Willingness Study published by NWMO funded consultants

    Study shows community preference for referendum

    Four months after beginning its community-wide consultations, the draft results of the South Bruce Willingness Study Report identified a public referendum as the preferred method to determine the willingness of the community to host the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) Deep Geological Repository (DGR). Of the 229 South Bruce residents who participated in the public meetings (virtual and in-person) and online surveys, 136 confirmed a referendum as their preferred method. The study was conducted by GDH Consulting for the Municipality of South Bruce using funds provided by the NWMO.

    “We are pleased to see the Willingness Study reflect our long-held position,” said Michelle Stein, Chair, Protect Our Waterways. “A binding referendum is the only legitimate way to determine willingness. It guarantees everyone a voice and respects both their choice and their privacy.”

    Quotes from some of study participants are highlighted in the report include:

    “Processes that do not provide an opportunity for input by all citizens cannot be true and full representations of community willingness.”

    • “Ability to move on with lives after vote. Sooner the better. The people have a voice.”
    • “All residents need a method to voice their willingness or unwillingness.”

    Stein said, “Hosting the DGR will permanently change the character, reputation, and economy of our community. Every resident and business will have to live with the risks and any promised benefits for generations to come. Such a momentous decision cannot be made a small group of people, however well-intentioned they may be.

    Stein said, “We urge the Mayor and Council of South Bruce to move quickly and include a binding referendum as part of the next municipal election in October 2022. Our community must be given the opportunity to answer a clear yes or no question on whether we want to host the NWMO’s DGR.”

    A link to the published study is here.

  • Sweden taking more time to determine safety of copper canisters proposed to store nuclear waste

    Sweden, the country that designed the original nuclear waste container concept, has delayed their decision on approving the DGR concept as the Sweden government request more research and examination of the copper cannisters proposed to encapsule and seal the nuclear waste at the site. The issue of corrosion discovered in test canisters was identified by Sweden’s Land and Environmental Court in January 2018.

    Copper’s corrosion rate was earlier underestimated. (Credit: mkg.se.)Photo:

    Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG) stated: https://www.develop.w3539.hemsida.eu/en/mkg-and-member-organisations-to-the-government-say-no-to-the-spent-fuel-repository-or-continue-to

    “the copper corrosion results from the 20-year experimental packages if they are reported in a fully scientific way can show that copper does not behave in the repository environment in the way SKB describes in the safety analysis of the application. The organisations understand that it cannot be ruled out that for this reason SKB took as long as possible to retrieve the LOT experimental packages, then did so in the secretly and after this was discovered, initially claimed that the results would not be presented until after a licence for the application had been given.”

    According to the Norwegian journal Bellona When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland - Bellona.org

    “SKB’s research was found to be incomplete and, in certain cases, inaccurate. It turned out, for instance, that there is significant disagreement over the estimated corrosion rate of the copper canisters – which are considered the main engineered barrier to prevent the escape of long-lived radionuclides into the surrounding environment. SKB asserts the canisters will remain intact for the next 100,000 years, while independent university research shows that copper’s corrosion rate in an oxygen-free environment but in the presence of salty seawater is considerably higher than expected and that the canisters may start to decay within the first thousand years.”

    Click here to view an update from the Swedish government from the end of August.

  • NWMO funds copper corrosion research at Western University

    The actions of NWMO prove that “DGR is safe” is a hope and not a fact.  More testing required – so why push to develop site until technology is proven safe?

    Posted at https://news.westernu.ca/2021/08/nwmo-research-used-nuclear-fuel/

    A corrosion scientist newly appointed to Western will add research heft and innovation in the international quest to safeguard used nuclear fuel. Samantha Gateman, an award-winning electrochemist, is the new chair in radiation-induced chemistry at Western. Gateman’s research will be funded through a new $1.1-million grant from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

    Gateman’s arrival will bolster the university’s already-strong team of chemistry, physics and engineering researchers who are acknowledged leaders in testing nuclear-waste storage solutions. Currently at Sorbonne Université in France, Gateman will begin her work at Western in January 2022.

    The NWMO is responsible for implementing Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The organization’s plan for Canada’s three million used fuel bundles includes containing and isolating them in copper-coated steel containers and then placing the containers in dense bentonite clay within a deep geological repository. But the NWMO first needs rigorous testing of every element of its nuclear storage strategy.

    Laurie Swami, CEO of the NWMO

    In that research, Western is the NWMO’s longest-running university partner, said Laurie Swami, president and CEO of the NWMO. The organization has invested millions into Western’s anti-corrosion research and other projects in chemistry, engineering, physics and earth sciences over the past two decades.

     

    “It’s important to have a robust understanding of the underground conditions, including corrosion conditions, that would exist in a deep geological repository,” Swami said. “That requires really qualified researchers as well as strong programs … Western is one of the ones we’ve worked with the most.”

  • NWMO's play book to achieve "Informed Consent from the residents of South Bruce

    Systematic Development of Informed Consent

    Is fundamentally different from what most public agencies do, and so are the results. Most citizen participation efforts do not have real constructive results.

    Watch SDIC Preview

    Too often, in spite of good intentions and lots of work:

    • Public meetings turn into grand-standing sessions that leave citizens and public officials frustrated.
    • Advisory Committee efforts, more often than not, eventually wind up with everybody being angry with everyone else. (Who needs that?!) Based on 40+ years of research that had its origin at MIT in the late 1960s, SDIC is a practical strategy for you to communicate with your various potentially affected interests.

     

    SDIC is not citizen participation as usual!

    SDIC is based on 40+ years of research that had its origin at MIT in the late 1960s. We have trained officials with difficult and inherently controversial missions at all levels of government in disciplines as diverse as environmental regulation, public works, law enforcement, emergency management, education, transportation, resource management, hazardous waste, wildlife management. . . and more.