Response to “Pickering’s nuclear waste problem just got bigger”
Re: “Pickering’s nuclear waste problem just got bigger” (NOW Online, July 20), by Angela Bischoff, director of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA).
Ontario Power Generation has safely stored used fuel bundles from the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station for more than 40 years. After they are removed from the water filled bays where they cool and become much less radioactive, they are placed in robust concrete and steel containers. Before being placed into storage, the containers are rigorously tested and safeguard seals are applied by an inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The entire site is closely monitored by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which is Canada’s regulator.
Despite what the article argues, Canada has a plan in place to safely manage used nuclear fuel and identify a single, preferred location for a deep geological repository (DGR) for used nuclear fuel. Potential sites are assessed by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) in a process that began when the communities formally expressed interest in learning more. The NWMO has narrowed a list of 22 potential and interested host communities down to five. A single site is expected to be selected in 2023 with licensing and construction to follow. It is expected that an operational facility will be available to begin taking used fuel shipments in the mid-2040s.
John Barrett, President & CEO, Canadian Nuclear Association, Ottawa