Untimely CANDU Nuclear Waste Dump (Fission vs. LENR in Canada)

The following post was submitted by JD Sweeney

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

Water from a pipeline having an inlet near the Canadian Bruce Nuclear plant (and a proposed underground depository for both 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. Radio-active leakes in abandoned German mines raise more nuclear fears. Over centuries and millenia, there are real risks of cavern damage due to earthquakes.

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 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.

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 appears to anticipate continuous stock-piling in a massive underground vault. How adaptive is that?

In responding to the R & D issues, the federal Minister in charge, The Honourable Joe Oliver is quoted: “…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 investing in obsolete home-grown technology and merely following LENR developments in other countries vs. advancing Canuk research.

Concerned readers, research the topic yourselves. Then if alarmed, go viral with open letters to the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament.

JD Sweeney of London, Ontario, Canada, blogs on energy matters at http://www.londont.blogspot.ca