Central Huron delegation tours spent nuclear fuel storage site

Bullet News CLINTON – Councillors who toured a site where used nuclear fuel is temporarily stored will now need to decide if they want to start the process for the Municipality of Central Huron to host a site for long-term underground storage.

Seven council members, three administrators and two community members toured the Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce Nuclear Site on Tiverton today. After the tour, staff from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization gave them an overview of Adaptive Phased Management, a plan to build a deep geological repository and manage it over the long-term.

“It isn’t something that’s going to be shoved down the municipality’s throat. There will be lots of opportunity for public input,” said Jim Ginn, who is the mayor of the Municipality of Central Huron. The possibility of hosting a site will come back to the council table soon, although he said the final decision is many years down the road, sealed by a community consensus that will probably involve a referendum.

The APM plan was approved by the government of Canada in 2007, and a nine-step process to select a host municipality was begun in 2010. It is anticipated the process with take seven to 10 years to complete.

Eighteen communities have expressed an initial interest in hosting the site. Each will be subject to an initial desktop screening of available information to determine whether there are any obvious conditions that would exclude the municipality from further consideration in the process. Once the community has passed the initial screening, it can request a preliminary assessment to determine if it’s a suitable host. This assessment looks at four key points: will there be a safe site to develop the project; will the project benefit the community and what needs to be done in terms of infrastructure, planning and resources to make it so; and will the surrounding regions also benefit. At any point, the municipality may also withdraw its interest.

Ginn said the NWMO offers resources to conduct peer reviews, attend conferences and gather enough information for the community to make an informed decision.

“There are a lot of carrots and no sticks,” he said.

Along the way, NWMO will also do extensive testing to ensure the bedrock to ensure it can safely contain the spent nuclear fuel and investigate whether a suitable transportation route can be developed to get the material to the site from where it’s stored.

The APM project is distinct from Ontario Power Generation’s proposed deep geological storage proposed for the Bruce Nuclear site for low- and intermediate-level waste streams generated by OPG-owned or operated reactors. It will accommodate all of Canada’s used nuclear fuel.

For more information about NWMO and the site selection process, please visit its website.

Written by on June 22, 2012 in Central Huron, Clinton - No comments

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