OPG developing alternatives to proposed nuclear waste bunker at bruce power

Ontario Power Generation’s President and CEO says they are looking to develop alternatives to the proposed nuclear waste storage bunker at Bruce Power

On January 31st, members of Saugeen Ojibway Nation voted not to support OPG’s proposed Deep Geologic Repository for low and medium level nuclear waste.

OPG CEO and President Ken Hartwick says OPG will explore other options and engage key stakeholders including indigenous peoples and interested municipalities. OPG will meet with local councils throughout March to keep them updated.

OPG’s visits are scheduled for Kincardine on March 2, Bruce County on March 5, Arran-Elderslie and Saugeen Shores on March 9, Brockton on March 10, and Huron-Kinloss on March 16.

“Nuclear energy – as a non-emitting source of electricity – is a vital tool in fighting climate change,” Hartwick said. “To enjoy the benefits of this low-carbon, low-cost and reliable source of energy with peace of mind, we must manage the waste responsibly. Permanent and safe disposal is the right thing to do for future generations.”

“Over the years, OPG and SON have been building a relationship based on mutual respect, collaboration and trust. We look forward to continuing this relationship,” said Lise Morton, Vice President of OPG’s Nuclear Waste Management Division.

As OPG explores alternative solutions for permanent disposal, “a priority is our continuing efforts in waste minimization,” Morton said. This includes minimizing waste production at source, innovations in waste processing to reduce the volume, and recycling of clean materials.

OPG has said in the past that it would not be viable to combine the low and medium level nuclear waste in the proposed Deep Geologic Repository for high-level nuclear waste. Tests are currently underway to see if South Bruce would be an acceptable site for the high level spent nuclear fuel bunker.

Currently, the low and medium level waste is stored in a short term facility mainly at the Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce nuclear site.

According to a community update from the OPG, the facility is interim storage, safe and well-managed for the short and medium-term, but it is not the solution for the very long term, given that buildings and containers would need to be maintained for thousands of years. OPG claims the proposed DGR was designed to be a $1 billion lake-protection measure, isolating the waste in deep rock that has had no connection with the lake or groundwater for hundreds of millions of years.