The site selection process for a proposed Deep Geologic Repository in Ontario has been extended to 2024.
The NWMO, the organization spearheading the research, says the extension from 2023 considers the impacts of the global pandemic and the various provincial lockdowns for the shift.
Officials say the added time will allow for more face-to-face engagement and interaction.
And it’s also giving people in the area additional time to review and absorb information available.
Once a site is selected, construction is expected to start in 2033.
The two communities being considered as host are South Bruce and Ignace.
Click the title of the news to read the NWMO’s full statement
Over 1000 residents signed a petition demanding a referendum during the 2022 municipal election vote but have been ignored.
SOUTH BRUCE, Ontario, December 15, 2021 --- Protect Our Waterways (POW) was shocked to learn during the December 14 South Bruce Council meeting, the mayor and councillors not only debated a motion about holding a referendum on hosting the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) Deep Geological Repository (DGR), but also voted unanimously to postpone any community vote on the issue until well into 2023. POW had already been scheduled to present the results of its petition to Council at its first meeting of the New Year (January 11). The Council vote in December denies the opportunity for the over 1000 petition-signers – who want the referendum held alongside the 2022 municipal election - the right to be heard and present their case before a decision was made.
“Town council continues to belittle, ignore, and undermine the efforts of the residents of South Bruce who may be opposed to hosting the DGR,” said Michelle Stein, Chair, Protect Our Waterways. “To make this important decision without inviting the representatives of over 1000 residents to speak at the debate is unfair. Council was well aware that we were scheduled for the first Council meeting in January but chose to vote ahead of our presentation.”
At the December 14 council meeting, municipal staff presented a report on the implications of the NWMO-funded Willingness Study. Tony Zettel of the Willing to Listen Group also made a presentation, where he stated, ““We are optimistic that when the community benefits are clearly defined for us that more ratepayers in the municipality will wish to explore this partnership further.” The mayor thanked Zettel and his group “for their position”.
Stein said, “The council meeting’s agenda was clearly orchestrated to push for the referendum decision that evening. Council had ample opportunity to request that POW present our case as well, but instead chose to listen only to pro-DGR voices.”
Protect Our Waterways still intends to make its case to Council, as scheduled, on January 11. It will be holding a rally outside Council chambers prior to its presentation.
Stein said, “It would be wrong to assume that everyone who signed our petition is against hosting the DGR. But they were concerned enough about the Council's decision-making process to sign it. By ignoring them, the Council has only confirmed their worst fears – our municipality intends to manufacture the consent of its residents rather than listen to them.”
Chair of Protect Our Waterways - No Nuclear Waste
STATEMENT BY REPS. KILDEE, LEVIN, MEIJER ON MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT BIDEN AND CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAUNovember 18, 2021| Press ReleaseWASHINGTON—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.
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.”
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, 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.”
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?
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.”
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.
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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.
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By: Christina Macpherson from nuclear-news
The foremost reason is that as the project was being discussed with the public, SKB’s research was found to be incomplete and, in certain cases, inaccurate.
When, in 2011, Sweden’s SKB first applied for a license to build the Forsmark repository, the KBS-3 project documentation was published, which made it possible to give the project a review that would be independent from the nuclear industry’s own evaluation.
In February 2016, a special expert group appointed by the government, called the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste (Kärnavfallsrådet), published a 167-page report entitled “Nuclear Waste State-of-the-Art Report 2016: Risks, uncertainties and future challenges.” Among other things, it identifies the repository project’s risks and uncertainties having to do with earthquake impacts, with the long-term prospects of financing and monitoring the site’s condition, and with the health effects of low doses of radiation.
Finland has no such expert body. The concept of the repository, under construction in Euroajoki municipality, is criticized by many Finnish scientists, but the government is not taking notice and is likewise ignoring the scientific objections coming from its neighbor Sweden.
When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland – How did it happen that in Sweden, the country that developed the technology for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste, construction of a such a repository – a first of its kind in the world – has been suspended for recognized risks and uncertainties, whereas Finland, which has copied the Swedish approach, is moving full speed ahead with building one? Bellona has looked for the answer on a fact-finding visit of the two countries. Bellona August 9, 2016 by Andrei Ozharovsky, translated by Maria Kaminskaya
“……..Out of sight, out of mind?