Stop The Nuke Dump

by Elena Dove category: Environment

“Sign the petition to stop the proposed nuke dump less than 1 mile from the Great Lakes: water for 40 million people! http://thndr.it/1LhpRJL

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Elena Dove
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Slutter Jul 21, 12:00 EDT


This campaign ended on July 21 at 12PM

1.  Radioactive Waste Beside Lake Huron?

William Fyfe, a retired University of Western Ontario professor who is an international consultant on nuclear waste, is among those who have expressed concern about the project. "You do not put nuclear waste near things like the Great Lakes or the great rivers in case there's a leakage that you haven't expected."5

"It is universally acknowledged that nuclear waste must be kept away from water circulating through the environment of living things, since water is seen as the main vehicle for eventual dissolution and dissemination of radiotoxic pollutants."6

The nuclear wastes to be buried near the lake include highly radioactive and chemically hazardous material.

OPG documents state that "Most of the waste packages are not designed to be long-lived. As they corrode or are damaged by rock fall, the wastes are exposed and the radioactivity can be released." And further states "People living on or near the site could be exposed to the contaminants…"7

Great Lakes communities in Canada and the United States obtaining drinking water from the Great Lakes should be deeply concerned about OPG's plan to bury radioactive nuclear waste beneath the Bruce Nuclear site on the shores of Lake Huron. Degradation of the site over time or a serious accident or incident at the underground Nuclear Waste Dump site would affect Lake Huron and all interconnected waters of the Great Lakes

2.  Buried Radioactive Waste Is Forever Toxic

Some intermediate level nuclear waste remains toxic for 100,000 years. OPG defines intermediate level nuclear waste to include resins, filters and irradiated components from within the nuclear reactors themselves.  Some of the intermediate level nuclear waste is almost as toxic and radioactive as the high level radioactive nuclear spent fuel from inside nuclear reactors.

"There is no limitation as to the toxicity, longevity or diversity of radioactive materials to be included in the ill-defined categories of low and intermediate level waste that will be buried."

3.  Failed Track Record of Deep Geologic Repositories (DGR)

There are only three DGR's on the entire planet (WIPP in the US and ASSE II and Morsleben in Germany) and all have leaked.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) constructed a DGR in New Mexico (USA) called the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP). It is the only operating DGR in existence in the world. WIPP houses nuclear wastes from the US defence program. OPG's evidence to the Joint Review Panel is that WIPP is similar to OPG's proposed DGR because it is at depths of several hundreds of metres, founded in sedimentary rock, and developed for large volumes of low-and intermediate-level radioactive waste. OPG evidence indicates that the basis for long-term safety at WIPP (i.e., repository depth, low permeability natural barriers) is similar to the long-term safety basis for OPG's proposed DGR. Despite assurances by the DOE that WIPP would never leak, 15 years into its operation, a radiation leak occurred on February 14, 2014 resulting in 22 workers receiving internal radiation contamination. WIPP is presently closed.

4.  Highly Controversial Dump Site Selection

Ontario Power Generation's analysis of potential sites for low and intermediate level nuclear waste appears to have been superficial at best.  OPG's Environmental Impact Statement document contains 3,432 pages, yet written justification for choosing the site is contained in the equivalent of one single page.8

OPG's comment on achievability and acceptability of an alternative site option is reported in a single word, "Unknown".9  

Despite the fact that OPG was required under the Environmental Impact Statement guidelines to consider alternative sites, OPG readily admits they did not consider or investigate any other sites for this nuclear waste repository. According to OPG, there was no need to look farther because the Bruce site is "as good as it gets" - and Kincardine is a willing host.

Interestingly, 87% of Ontario's land mass is crown land 10owned and controlled by the Province of Ontario (owner of OPG) and therefore other actual sites within its ownership and control could and should have been investigated.

5.  This Rock is Right?

Allison Mcfarlane, an MIT trained professor of geology and the present Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the US said "it is almost impossible to decipher the detailed history of a rock, let alone predict reactions into the geologic future. Geology has not advanced far enough yet to expect that it can do this…"15

The ability of the limestone and shale rock formations to block or even slow the migration of radionuclides from the repository is unproven.  There are no precedents anywhere in the world for burying radioactive nuclear waste in limestone.  The repository must function to safely contain the nuclear wastes for over 100,000 years.  No scientist or geologist can provide a 100,000 year guarantee.

Independent geologist, Professor J.F. Sykes of the University of Waterloo, in a study done for NWMO 'Characterizing the Geosphere in High Level Radioactive Waste Management' noted that "Beneath the Bruce Nuclear Power Development on Lake Huron, the Ordovician shales of the Michigan Basin are likely to have hydraulic conductivities in the range of 10 to the 11th to 10 to the 14th m/s at depths of 500m (Moltyaner et al 1995). The pore water in the formation is highly saline and stagnant. However, the physical properties of shale can undergo significant irreversible alteration with low or moderate changes in temperature, or stress."16


In speaking about the use of models to make predictions in relation to a planned and denied underground nuclear waste dump, also known as a Deep Geological Repository or DGR in the US, Allison Mcfarlane, an MIT trained professor of geology and the present Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the US, notes "Many assumptions go into these models.  The problem, though is that one cannot make assumptions about the processes or features that one is not aware of."17  She goes on to say that "Others have explored the use and misuse of models in the earth sciences and technical policy decision making. …One of the main conclusions from these works is that these models cannot be validated or verified."18

At a nuclear waste facility in Maxey Flats, Kentucky, US, government and industry scientists were wrong when they said that the possibility of offsite migration of the waste was "essentially nonexistent."  They reassured citizens that it would take 24,000 years for the plutonium to travel one-half of an inch on-site.  Less than 10 years later it was found two miles off-site.19

7.  International Impacts Ignored

Nuclear waste that is toxic for hundreds of thousands of years is not only a local or regional concern.  Forty million citizens in the Great Lakes communities in Canada and the United States are at risk and have not been consulted.

Research by the International Joint Commission indicates measurable transboundary impacts from Canadian nuclear facilities on the Great Lakes.

In its Ninth Biennial Report, the International Joint Commission on Great Lakes Water Quality recognized that a number of radiological contaminants from the nuclear industry should be considered "persistent toxic substances," and that the United States and Canada should aim for the virtual elimination of those man-made substances through a policy of zero discharge, acting on the basis of a "precautionary approach."  The report stated that "The management of radionuclides, including the temporary and long-term storage of nuclear wastes, is a matter of public concern …"20

7.  2nd Dump Planned

OPG's Nuclear Waste Management Organization (a corporation 92% owned by OPG) is planning to establish a second underground Nuclear Waste Dump, which they call DGR2, that will be used to bury irradiated nuclear fuel, or high level waste.  Many of the potential sites for DGR2 are situated in the Great Lakes Basin.  If OPG can convince the regulators and the Canadian government that burying intermediate level radioactive nuclear waste approximately 400 metres from Lake Huron is safe, then a precedent may be set for the burying of high level radioactive nuclear waste beside the Great Lakes.


Intet nyt!


Elena Dove

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