Central Huron finds out early 2013 if in the running to host nuclear waste storage facility

Jo-Ann Facella, director of social research and dialogue for Nuclear Waste Management Organization was part of a delegation to Central Huron’s council last night to outline the initial screening process. File photo.

HEATHER BOA Bullet News GODERICH – The Municipality of Central Huron will know early in the new year whether it’s in the running to host the nation���s high-level nuclear waste.

An initial screening is currently under way by a consulting firm hired by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to see if there’s any reason the municipality’s 450 square km of land aren’t suitable for development of a 250-acre site where the spent nuclear fuel cells from reactors across the country could be stored underground.

“The reason for it is to see if there are any show-stoppers, any reason the community shouldn’t continue in the process,” said Michael Kritanc, who is NWMO’s communications manager. A trio of representatives from NWMO made a one-hour presentation to the municipality’s council last night.

He expects the initial screening will be complete by year end, with a report to council early in 2013. A community open house will be held shortly after.

The municipality can withdraw from the process at any time.

The five high-level criteria include: sufficient land to host the facility, land that’s outside of protected areas, such as heritage sites; land that doesn’t contain known groundwater resources used for drinking, agriculture or industrial uses; land that doesn’t contain natural resources; and land that doesn’t have geological or hydrogeological features that would make development of a facility unsafe.

More than 20 municipalities in Saskatchewan and Ontario, including five in Bruce County, have requested an initial screening. The Township of Red Rock, Ont., has been eliminated from the process.

From the candidate sites, one or two will be selected for an in-depth five-year study. The community, including both the potential host municipality and surrounding area, will be consulted to see if it’s willing to host the facility.

It could be decades before any spent nuclear cells are shipped to a new underground facility.

Currently, the spent bundles are placed in dry storage after seven to 10 years of cooling and lowering radioactivity levels in pools of water.  In Ontario, the bundles are stored on an interim basis.

The nearest storage facility to Huron County is located at the Douglas Point Waste Management Facility, adjacent to Bruce Power.  Spent fuel cells have been stored there since the first commercial nuclear generating facility opened in 1967. Nuclear generating facilities in Darlington and Pickering also store high-level nuclear waste on site.

In Canada, there are about two million used fuel bundles in storage, which would be moved to the central underground storage facility.

NWMO is funded by Ontario Power Generation, NB Power, Hydro-Québec and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.

Written by on November 6, 2012 in Central Huron - No comments

Leave a Comment

Please note: JavaScript is required to post comments.

About the Author