Initial report will indicate whether Central Huron is a suitable host for nuclear waste storage site

Michael Krizanc, communications manager of NWMO. File photo.

Michael Krizanc, communications manager of NWMO. File photo.

HEATHER BOA Bullet News CENTRAL HURON – An initial screening report to determine whether there is land in the Municipality of Central to store nuclear waste will be presented to its council Feb. 19.

“The initial screening report is being finalized but all the work is done,” said Michael Krizanc, who is communications manager for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. The municipality is among more than 20 communities that have expressed an interest in learning more about hosting a deep geologic site to store the country’s high-level radioactive waste from nuclear electricity generation.

The initial screening by an independent consultant of various existing studies, reports and resources considers whether there are any showstoppers to building a 250-acre site. 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.

“The idea is to get information back to the community as quickly as possible so they don’t have to invest a lot of political capital over a long period of time if they’re not going to be considered,” he said.

Once the initial screening report is unveiled to council on Tuesday, Feb. 19, starting at  6 p.m., an open house for the community will be scheduled.

“The idea is we give it to council, then the community should know before the public Canada-wide. After the open house, we put it on the website and tell the world,” Krizanc said.

“After that, the ball is in the council’s court. They can take the time that they need to decide whether or not they want to go to Step 3. But it’s their decision and they would have to make that decision in a public vote of council to move to the next step,” he said. Step 3 is a preliminary assessment, in part, of whether a safe site can be found, whether it can benefit the community, and whether there is potential for the community to continue its interest to explore the project.

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.

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 January 25, 2013 in Central Huron - No comments

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