Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Earlier versions appeared in ExchangeMagazine and in E-Cat World.
If re-visiting, be sure to scan updates at end of this post.

The thrust of this post is: energy policy decisions should not be unduly influenced by lobbyists, their deep-pocketed clients and advertising-compromised mainline media.

Water from a pipeline having an inlet near the Canadian Bruce Nuclear plant (and proposed underground depositories for low and high level radio-active wastes) concerns all populations within the Lake Huron/St Lawerence watershed. There is a history of man-made and natural nuclear disasters, e.g., Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukishima and now, radiation leaks at the Carlsbad, New Mexico underground waste site. Here is another take on the seriousness of the Carlsbad "puff" of radiation. Radio-active leaks in abandoned German mines raise more nuclear fears.
Over centuries and millenia, there are real risks of cavern damage due to earthquakes. After just 50 years of operation there is no evidence that safe operation of nuclear power plants can be guaranteed; nor are there any guarantees for the permanent and safe storage of their radio-active wastes.

In short, no matter how deep and what the geology, no storage facility can be designed to withstand all human and natural disasters.

Residents of Bruce and Huron Counties are rightly pleased about any prospects of job creation. And, the Saugeen Times does a credible job of presenting local opinion. But in this case, politicians and policy-makers have to protect the health and safety of future generations living in a broad international region. Our National and Provincial governments, and their agency, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization have a responsibility to act with ethics and foresight.

Nuclear waste disposal policy should not be expedited by industry-led interests. Ontario's Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, by quenching coal-fired plants, cancelling plans for new new nuclear ones and stalling on funds for refurbishing aged ones, seems to sense an imminent breakthrough in cheaper, cleaner and safer power generation.

In the latter part of the last century, big coal and big oil pretty well sealed the fate of our fragile planet. Now, some Canadian governments are about to extend the dominance of big nuclear by funding an enormous accident-prone bunker to store ever-accumulating radio-active wastes from across the province.

Very little is said about risks in transporing wastes from the Chalk River, Darlington and Pickering atomic plants. Sixteen-wheelers laden with nuclear wastes will have to trundle along the 401 through north Toronto, by Kitchener, Cambridge and Woodstock, through London, along the 402 by Delaware and Strathroy over to two-laner Highway # 21, hence north through Grand Bend, Bayfield, Goderich and Kincardine.

What a legacy to leave our grandchildren and their descendants!

Surely NWMO (and Canadian governnments) are acquainted with ongoing research leading to (a) remedial treatment of radioactive wastes and (b), phasing out of nuclear-generated electricity within the next few decades.

On the NWMO website, the last point in the Debate vs. Dialogue section states, "Dialogue means discussing new possibilites and new opportunities." The new opportunities are spent-fuel remediation, and nuclear phaseout using emerging Low Energy Nuclear Reactors (LENR). -not NWMO's current Adaptive Phased Management proposal for high level nuclear wastes.

The idea of entrenching nuclear generation of electricity in Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan was rejected in December 2013. Yet, the Long Term Plan for storage of radioactive spent fuel and other nuclear wastes appears to anticipate continuous stock-piling in massive underground vaults. How adaptive is that?

In responding to the R & D issues, the federal Minister in charge, the Honourable Joe Oliver is quoted from his February 27th letter: "...research and development is being conducted largely through Atomic Energy Canada (AECL), a federal Crown Corporation that developed the existing CANDU reactor technology. Over the last several years, there has been an increase in international interest in LENR technology. I would like to assure you that Natural Resources Canada , with support from AECL , will continue to follow developments in the area of LENR."

Think about the wisdom of AECL investing in a new & improved CANDU reactor while being the fox guarding the LENR Hen House. OPG, together with federal and provincial leaders should be pushing AECL to be one of the first to adopt the newly patented Mitsubishi process.
Concerned readers, research the topic yourselves. Then if alarmed, go viral with open letters to the PM and your Member of Parliament.

This is a post about an event centered around the small Ontario town of Kincardine, but with broad regional and international reprecussions. It, and the LENR solution advanced gets no Canadian or USA coverage. Joe Shea, of the American Reporter laments about this very issue.
A stand-alone niche blog has little reach and to politicians, does not represent concensus. The only hope is that that a couple of large publications on both sides of the Great Lakes will pick up the ball and run with it.

Update # 1.
Speed readers are directed a Spectrum IEEE aricle for an objective look at two of the scariest nuclear plant disasters: Three-Mile Island and Fukishima.

Update # 2.
This particular post gained legs with its inclusion in E-Cat World forum. Here's what a frequent ECW commentator had to say:
GreenWin •
As we have seen recently at the only licensed high level waste facility in the world, Carlsbad NM, disaster is inevitable - despite assurances from geologists and nuke scientists... The facility is under lock down and may never reopen due to high levels of radiation underground. Long term storage is a myth. Canada like other nuke nations wastes time and money thinking they can bury their nuclear trash - Carlsbad proves them wrong.
So, about the only viable option is to quit pretending the solution is not well within reach. Remediation via LENR should be on the fast track at all nuclear regulatory agencies...

Update # 3.
Retired chemist and nuclear research scientist, Dr. Frank Greening, has stepped forward to condem studies Bruce Power is using to support safey claims.

Update # 4.
On March 27, the Kincardine News reported that the Joint Review Panel had ordered Ontario Power Generation to resubmit its safety case after Dr. Greening's disclosures and after the Valentine's Day safety breach at the New Mexico underground salt vault.
ALARM BELLS ring even louder because there is an accompanying OPG proposal for an adjacent (porous) limesone depository to contain high level nuclear waste.

Update # 5
Breaking News: Following issuance of latest report from IPCC (Intergoverment Panel on Climate Change), Gordon Docherty's
open letter to the panel spells out the way to curb world's consumption of fossil fuels.

UPdate # 6
Europe too searches for deep geological sites for nuclear wastes, but again the media reports do not identify LENR remedial treatment as a more likely solution.

UPdate # 7
The USA Homeland Security, on April 21st published an article titled: Debate over Ontario, Canada's underground nuclear waste facility intensifies.
The president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility is quoted. "The first phase is construct. then operate,then closure and abandonment. The problem is you have the wrong people in charge of nuclear waste. It's not that they are bad, but there is a conflict of interest. We need people in charge of this who are independent of the nuclear industry, so their only interest is protecting the public safety."
US Homeland Security is remiss in not revealing that a Phase 2 would create an adjacent depository for highly radioactive materials, and that haste to bury is unconsionable because remedial technology to treat such wastes is emerging.