OPG Defends Safety Of Nuclear Waste Repository At Bruce Power

Ontario Power Generation is prepared for another round of public hearings looking at its proposed deep geologic repository planned for the Bruce nuclear site.

The Joint Review Panel has scheduled two weeks worth of hearings at the Royal Canadian Legion in Kincardine starting September 9, just short of the one-year anniversary of the first round public hearings that lasted for 25 days.

One of the topics that will be discussed is two incidents earlier this year at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, one of which resulted in a radiological release to the surface.

Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s Director of Safety and Licensing Paul Gierszewski says they have thoroughly examined the New Mexico incidents, finding, among other things, safety and training practices were inadequate at the time.

He says the speculative conclusion at this point is the radiological release in New Mexico was caused by a chemical reaction within one of the waste containers.

“They’re dealing with quite a mixture of waste as a result of their defense program over the past 50 years–legacy waste, while we’re dealing with well defined waste as a result of operating CANDU stations,” says Gierszewski.

Vice President of Nuclear Decommissioning Jerry Keto says OPG remains firmly behind the DGR project.

“We’ll be bringing back to the table that the safety case for the DGR remains sound, and that this is a very safe location for OPG to  place low and intermediate level nuclear waste,” says Keto.

If approved by the Joint Review Panel, OPG plans to store 200,000 cubic metres of low-and-intermediate level nuclear waste nearly 700 m below the Bruce nuclear site.