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OPG wants to rebuild and run the reactors at Darlington for 30 more years. Fifteen thousand more tonnes of high level nuclear waste. Say NO this week.

Send a message to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission: Ontario Power Generation has no sound plan to safety manage the nuclear waste that will be generated by a refurbished Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The deadline is September 28th – one week from today.
 
Background
Ontario Power Generation is asking the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to give it a thirteen year license extension for the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Previously licenses were granted for two years, more recently OPG has been given five year licences. The unprecedented request for a thirteen year license is – according to OPG – because OPG wants “certainty” about the rules they will operate under while they refurbish each of the four reactors at Darlington. The deadline for comments to the CNSC is September 28th, 2015. A public hearing will be held in early November.
 
Nuclear Waste
As a result of the refurbishment activities and the extension of operations for an additional 20 years, the Darlington NGS will generate large volumes of radioactive waste:
  • operational LLW is generated at a rate of about 200 m3 produced per reactor unit per year[i]; this will produce a total of 16,000 m3
  • Intermediate level waste is produced at an annual rate of 50 m3/year total per 4 unit Darlington station[ii]; the twenty year total will be an additional 4000 m3
  • 22,000 fuel bundles of High level fuel waste are generated each year[iii]
 
In addition, reactor refurbishment is expected to produce an additional 500 m3/unit/yr of LLW during the years that refurbishment is carried out (Ontario Power Generation has not provided a total volume of waste that will be generated through refurbishment). Intermediate level wastes generated through refurbishment activities will include 3,860 m3 of retube waste[iv].
 
Ontario Power Generation and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have provided very limited information about nuclear waste – and how it will be managed in the short, medium and long term – in the several documents they filed for this license review. But here’s what they did say:
  • Low and intermediate level radioactive wastes generated during the twenty additional years of operation of the Darlington nuclear generating station will be transported to a licensed waste management facility for intended placement in Ontario Power Generation’s proposed “Deep Geologic Repository” “consistent with OPG’s existing program for managing L&ILW” [v]
  • Refurbishment waste will be “transported to the Western Waste Management Facility and eventually to OPG’s proposed Low- & Intermediate-Level Waste (L&ILW) Deep Geological Repository (DGR)”; some of the more radioactive wastes will be stored on site at the Darlington reactor station before transport to wth WWMF. [vi]
  • Other L&IL refurbishment wastes will be collected and transported to a licensed waste management facility (e.g. the Western Waste Management Facility), consistent with OPG’s existing program for managing L&ILW. [vii]
  • OPG plans to place L&ILW generated during decommissioning “in the L&ILW Deep Geological Repository (DGR) … expected to be located in the Kincardine area”[viii]
  • Used fuel is stored in the Irradiated Fuel Bay (“nominally” for 10 years) and then moved into Dry Storage Containers (DSCs) for interim storage on-site; the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) Adaptive Phased Management (APM) program, established by the federal government, is developing plans for the long term disposal facility for used fuel. [ix]
 
Ontario Power Generation’s plans to manage nuclear waste in medium long term – for the hundreds of thousands of years for which they will continue to be hazardous – rely completely on unproven or incomplete designs for “deep geologic repositories”.
 
Ontario Power Generation’s proposal for a deep geologic repository for low and intermediate level wastes, to be constructed on the shore of Lake Huron, beneath the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario Power Generation hasn’t even finished designing the project, and there are major outstanding technical issues. OPG’s consultants concluded that radioactive releases would be diluted by Lake Huron! The Project went through a 33 day hearing in 2013 and 2014, and concluded with the Joint Review Panel recommending that the final decisions about the safety of the project be handed over the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.  
 
OPG’s plan for the long term safe-keeping of the high level waste that will be generated by the extension of the Darlington nuclear operations is to hand it over the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (note: OPG has majority control of the NWMO). The Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s plan includes a multi-year multi-step siting process, and then centralizing the waste at a single location for either shallow or deep burial. As with the DGR for low and intermediate level waste, there is no final design and many technical uncertainties. For the last thirty years, several countries have stated their intention to bury high level nuclear waste, but no country has ever done it; there is not even one licensed deep geologic repository for nuclear fuel waste anywhere in the world, despite decades of attempts.
 
Write to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission by September 28th, 2015. Here are some key messages:
  • Ontario Power Generation has no sound plan to safety manage the nuclear waste that will be generated by a refurbished Darlington Nuclear Generating Station
  • If you have been following issues with either OPG’s proposed DGR at Kincardine or NWMO’s siting process for nuclear fuel waste, add some details about why relying on either of those nuclear waste burial schemes is a bad idea
  • Emphasize that allowing OPG to refurbish Darlington and extend operations for another twenty years will add significantly the volumes of radioactive wastes for which there is no sound long term management plan
  • Add any additional information about why you are concerned or what you want done
Write to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission by September 28th, 2015. Your comments can be sent by email “Interventions” interventions@cnsc-ccsn.gc.ca or sent by fax 613-995-5086.  The address is
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, 280 Slater St., P.O. Box 1046 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5S9
 
 
For more information about nuclear waste, contact Northwatch at northwatch@northwatch.org. For more information about the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and relicensing issues, email shawn.patrick.stensil@greenpeace.org
 
References
 
[i] Reference Low- and Intermediate-Level Waste Inventory for the Deep Geologic Repository, Ontario Power Generation, Page 49
[ii] Reference Low- and Intermediate-Level Waste Inventory for the Deep Geologic Repository, Ontario Power Generation, Page 49
[iii] Inventory of Radioactive Waste in Canada,  Table 5.1: Nuclear Fuel Waste Accumulation Rate and Inventory, 2010
[iv] CNSC Proposed Screening Report – DNGS Refurbishment and Continued Operation, Section 3.3.6, page 14
[v] Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) 2015 Commission Member Document CMD-15-H8.1 (for Day 1 Hearing), Online at http://www.opg.com/generating-power/nuclear/stations/darlington-nuclear/Documents/WrittenSubmission_DarlingtonLicenceRenewal.pdf, page 100
[vi] Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) 2015 Commission Member Document CMD-15-H8.1 (for Day 1 Hearing), Online at http://www.opg.com/generating-power/nuclear/stations/darlington-nuclear/Documents/WrittenSubmission_DarlingtonLicenceRenewal.pdf, page 100
[vii] Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) 2015 Commission Member Document CMD-15-H8.1 (for Day 1 Hearing), Online at http://www.opg.com/generating-power/nuclear/stations/darlington-nuclear/Documents/WrittenSubmission_DarlingtonLicenceRenewal.pdf, page 100
[viii] Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) 2015 Commission Member Document CMD-15-H8.1 (for Day 1 Hearing), Online at http://www.opg.com/generating-power/nuclear/stations/darlington-nuclear/Documents/WrittenSubmission_DarlingtonLicenceRenewal.pdf, pages 79-81
[ix] Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) 2015 Commission Member Document CMD-15-H8.1 (for Day 1 Hearing), Online at http://www.opg.com/generating-power/nuclear/stations/darlington-nuclear/Documents/WrittenSubmission_DarlingtonLicenceRenewal.pdf, pages 79-81
Copyright © 2015 Northwatch, All rights reserved.


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