Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Nuclear Waste - Time to open up about pros and cons of DGR


By Phil McNichol
Dr. Gordon Edwards spoke at Dumpstock about the recent deep geological repository  discussion. He was to provide a different perspective than that of NMWO.
Dr. Gordon Edwards spoke at Dumpstock about the recent deep geological repository discussion. He was to provide a different perspective than that of NMWO.
There’s a good chance a community in Bruce County on or near the Lake Huron shoreline will be picked as the host site for the long-term underground storage of Canada’s growing stockpile of highly radioactive and dangerous “used” nuclear fuel.

Most (80%) of the 2.3 million bundles of used fuel currently in storage under water or in specially built dry containers are at three nuclear plants in Ontario, on the shores of Lake Huron (Bruce Nuclear) and Lake Ontario (Pickering and Darlington). By the time the proposed Deep Geological Repository (DGR) is ready that number could be as high as 7.2 million bundles. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has estimated a DGR big enough to store that amount of used nuclear fuel would cost $24.5 billion in today’s money.

Yet, the Southampton Curling Club, with enough chairs set up for 600 or 700 people, was only half full for last Saturday’s “No Nuke Dump” town hall event, organized by the Save Our Saugeen Shores (SOS) citizens’ group.

A few local reporters were there, but none from the big city or national media. Just one member of Saugeen Shores’ municipal council, Taun Frosst, was there. The absence of area provincial and federal politicians was noted. Most obvious was the empty chair reserved for the “NWMO.” The organization had been invited to participate in a panel discussion, but didn’t send anyone.

Five of the 19 communities in Canada that have formally notified the NWMO of their interest in being chosen as the “willing” host site for its proposed Deep Geological Repository (DGR) are in southern Bruce County, near the Bruce nuclear plant.

The keynote presenter at the SOS event was Dr. Gordon Edwards, a recognized Canadian and international expert on nuclear safety for many years.

His power-point presentation was indeed powerful and certainly informative, even for an old hand who’s been following this issue, and nuclear safety in general for years. The questions and concerns he raised should have been heard by anyone with an interest in the DGR proposal, and nuclear energy in general, for that matter.

And that means not just everybody in this part of southern Ontario, but everybody in Canada, and even the world, Cheryl Grace told me right after the SOS event ended. “It’s a world issue,” said the SOS founding member and spokesperson, while trying to put the best face on a disappointing turn-out and especially the lack of media coverage.

Edwards started with the global perspective. He called last year’s earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan a “wake-up call” for the nuclear industry. “We have to change our attitude toward nuclear power,” he said. “Anything can happen. We have to really be prepared for the unexpected.”

But even more to the point, especially for this area, “turns out it was the nuclear waste inside the (four Fukushima) reactors that exploded,” he said. “The damage was due solely to the nuclear waste inside.”
First the main power was knocked out, and then the tsunami drowned out the back-up electrical generators. As a result, the pumps that are supposed to keep water circulating around the stored used nuclear fuel to keep it cool stopped working. The fuel overheated catastrophically. Containment walls melted, hydrogen gas levels rose and the reactor buildings exploded, releasing dangerous levels of radioactive products like Strontium 90 and Cesium into the environment.

Once inside the human body each radioactive particle emits potentially deadly radiation as it continues its prolonged disintegration, Edwards explained. He illustrated the point with a microscopic photograph of such a particle shooting out straight lines of radiation into the surrounding tissue. “They’re just like projectiles that crash into cells and do damage.”

Edwards said it’s hugely misleading to call used nuclear fuel “spent” as it sometimes is; it’s even too benign to call it “used.” It’s “many times more radioactive” than new fuel bundles before they’re put into reactors and subjected to the atom-splitting process, or “fission,” that unleashes huge amounts of energy, and radioactivity.

“That’s what they’re talking about finding a home for,” he said.

Used nuclear fuel buried in deep-rock caverns will continue to produce dangerous levels of radiation and heat in the form of “thermal pulses” with the potential to crack the rock for thousands of years, he said.
“If the Egyptian pyramids had been nuclear waste repositories we’d all be dead,” Edwards said. “They’ve all been looted.”

The NWMO says its Adaptive Phased Management plan for the locating and developing the proposed DGR
“involves realistic, manageable phases — each marked by explicit decision points with continuing participation by interested Canadians.  It is flexible, allowing for go, no-go decisions at each stage to take answer session with the advantage of new knowledge or changing societal priorities.”

But Edwards said the science to justify the proposed DGR is still too incomplete to proceed. “There are too many unanswered questions.”

He said there’s no point in packaging and transporting such dangerous material and burying it underground, and possibly having to re-package and transport it again if problems develop. “All the packaging and repackaging adds to the problem.

“Let’s frankly admit we don’t know how to deal with this.”

Later in a question and answer session Edwards called the NWMO’s current plan implementation, still in the early stages of finding a willing host community for the DGR site, “a deeply flawed process.” He said it appears to be politically motivated to show Canada has solved the used nuclear fuel storage problem when it actually hasn’t. “That’s why we need an unbiased organization.”

Edwards noted the Seaborn Panel in the late 1990s recommended the Canadian government quickly set up an organization to study all the options for the long-term storage of used nuclear fuel. Its first recommendation was that such an organization should be “arm’s length,” free of any conflict of interest involving the utilities that own and operate Canada’s nuclear plants.

But the board of directors of the NWMO, set up in 2002 by the former Liberal government of Jean Chretien, is made up of representatives of the utilities, with OPG in the majority position. “That’s not what was intended,” Edwards said.
Sure enough, OPG appears to have had a major influence on the direction NWMO study and planning has taken.
Before the NWMO was created it was widely thought the Canadian Shield, with its hard and very old igneous rock, was the most likely location for the safe, deep-rock burial of Canada’s used nuclear fuel. But the NWMO’s plan, approved by the Conservative government, leaves the door open for any “suitable” rock formation, including sedimentary.

The NWMO began looking at the possibility of locating such a facility in sedimentary rock formations, like those underlying southwestern Ontario, after OPG brought a detailed report of a study on the subject to it for consideration. The study was done by geologist Martin Mazurek at the University of Bern for OPG. It specifically mentions the Bruce Megablock, the area of limestone bedrock underlying much of Grey-Bruce, as suitable for development of a DGR for nuclear waste.

OPG was already planning development of a DGR for what it calls low and intermediate-level nuclear waste in the vicinity of its Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce nuclear site.

Shortly after the NWMO got the OPG/Mazurek report it shut down a facility in northern Manitoba where 15 years of research had gone into studying the suitability of the Canadian Shield for a DGR. By 2006 sedimentary rock formations were the NWMO’s focus.

Edwards said it’s “astounding” the NWMO is now thinking about putting the DGR beside Lake Huron.
OPG is currently seeking final approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for its low/intermediate DGR which it hopes to begin work on next year.

The NWMO is working closely with OPG on that project, including the effort to get final regulatory approval.

Municipalities in the vicinity of Bruce nuclear, including Saugeen Shores, have signed an agreement with OPG to use their “best efforts” to support its DGR or risk losing millions of dollars worth of annual compensation payments.

The NWMO, with the OPG and its obsession with message-control in the driver’s seat, has so far shown no interest in a wide-open public discussion of the pros and cons of putting a deep-rock storage dump for highly radioactive used nuclear fuel beside one of the Great Lakes.

“There’s something fishy going on here,” Edwards said at one point during last Saturday’s SOS event.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been smelling it for a long time.

Phil McNichol appears Saturdays.  (Original Lucknow Sentinel  )

Chinese Translation:

Excellent statement by Gordon Edwards on Canada's nuclear waste problem, and "spent" fuel: "...it’s hugely misleading to call used nuclear fuel “spent” as it sometimes is; it’s even too benign to call it “used.” It’s “many times more radioactive”  than new fuel bundles before they’re put into reactors and subjected to the atom-splitting process, or “fission,” that unleashes huge amounts of energy, and radioactivity.
戈登 · 愛德華茲對加拿大的核廢物問題和稱為"廢"燃料:"... ...,是非常誤導稱呼使用後的核燃料為"消耗 "(spent),  ;甚至太良性的叫它"使用"。  它比之前他們放入反應爐的新燃料束產生" 更多更多倍的放射性",這是因為在原子分裂的過程中或"裂變"所施展的大量的能量和放射性。

“That’s what they’re talking about finding a home for,” he said.
" 那就是他們說找個家的東西" 他說。

Used nuclear fuel buried in deep-rock caverns will continue to produce dangerous levels of radiation and heat in the form of “thermal pulses” with the potential to crack the rock for thousands of years, he said.
使用後的核燃料被埋在深層岩石洞室將會繼續產生輻射和熱"熱脈衝", 會造成岩石崩裂, 危險ˊ之高將歷時數千年 ,他說。

“If the Egyptian pyramids had been nuclear waste repositories we’d all be dead,” Edwards said. “They’ve all been looted.”
"如果埃及的金字塔 是核廢物處置庫,我們早就死光了,"愛德華茲說。"他們已經全部被掠奪。"
 - 海倫凱帝克博士

主文
在安大略省的社區上或附近的休倫湖海岸線將被拾起的主機網站的長期地下儲存的加拿大越來越庫存的高放射性和危險的“使用”核燃料機會很大的。 大多數(80%)在安大略省的3個核電廠的230萬束在水中或在專門修建的乾燥容器中使用過的燃料,目前在存儲,(布魯斯核)休倫湖和安大略湖(Pickering和達林頓)的海岸上。

建議深地質處置庫(DGR)已經準備好時,這一數字可能高達720萬束。核廢物的管理組織(NWMO)已估計一個DGR大存儲,量使用過的核燃料將花費在現今的錢$ 245億元。 然而,在南安普敦冰壺俱樂部,有足夠的椅子為600或700人成立,是唯一的上週六的“無核武器轉儲”市政廳事件的保存我們的Saugeen的海岸(SOS)的公民團體,只有組織的一半。

有 一些地方的記者在那裡,但沒有從大的城市或國家的媒體來的記者。Saugeen海岸市議會裡的一員Taun Frosst在那裡。省和聯邦的政客完全沒有注意到。最明顯的空椅子為“NWMO保留。”該組織已被邀請參加了小組討論,但沒有派任何人來。

在加拿大的19個社區中選擇作為主要地點已有5個已正式通知NWMO他們的興趣,其建議的深地質處置庫(DGR)在布魯斯郡南部,布魯斯核電廠附近 。

的主旨演講在SOS事件是戈登博士愛德華茲認可的加拿大和國際核專家多年的安全。 他的力量的投影的確是強大的和肯定的信息,即使是老手,誰一直在關注這一問題,並在多年的核安全。任何人有興趣在DGR的建議,和一般的核能應該已經聽到他所提出的問題和關注,對於這個問題, 這意味著不只是每個人在安大略省南部的這部分,但每個人都在加拿大,甚至全世界。

SOS事件一結束後, 桂斯謝麗爾 告訴我說:“這是一個世界問題,”SOS創始成員和代言人,在令人失望的開端同時努力朝向最好  ,尤其是缺乏媒體的報導。

 愛德華茲開始用全球的角度來看。他稱去年在日本的的地震/海嘯/核災難為“敲響了核工業的警鐘”。“我們必須改變我們的核電態度,”他說。“任何事情都有可能發生。我們必須準備意想不到的。“ 但更重要的是,尤其是對於這方面,“原來,這是核廢料(4福島縣)反應堆發生爆炸,”他說。“損害完全是因為裡面的核廢料。” 首先,主電源被淘汰,然後在海嘯淹沒了後備發電機。其結果是,應該保持水圍繞所存儲的使用過的核燃料循環,以保持它冷卻泵停止工作。燃料過熱的災難性。容器壁熔化,氫氣水平上升,反應堆廠房爆炸,釋放出危險的放射性產品,如鍶90和銫到環境中, 一旦進入人體的放射性粒子放射出可能致命的輻射,因為它繼續其長期的解體,愛德華茲解釋。

他說明了這一點,這樣的粒子拍攝出直線的輻射到周圍組織的顯微鏡照片。“它們就像是核彈崩潰進入細胞,並造成傷害。” 愛德華茲說,稱呼使用後的核能燃料為“消耗”是嚴重的誤導性作為 有時 甚至良性稱它“使用。”這和之前新的燃料包相比是含有“許多倍的放射性“,他們投入反應堆的原子分裂過程中,或”裂變“,釋放大量的能量,以及放射性物質。 “這是他們在談論什麼找到一個家, “他說。 埋在深岩洞的使用過的核燃料將繼續產生危險水平的輻射和熱量的潛力,破解岩石千百年來的“熱脈衝”的形式,“如果埃及的金字塔 是核廢物處置庫,我們早就死光了,"愛德華茲說。

NWMO 對OPG 和主消息控制的狂熱, 到目前為止未顯示出對放置高放射性核廢料在深岩層儲藏庫將對大湖區產生的利弊做個公民討論。

 " 事有玄機", 愛德華茲在上周六SOS會議中說 "我已經懷疑有詐很久了"

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