Ontario Power submits more information on planned nuclear waste site

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) said Jan. 3 that it has submitted the information requested in February 2016 by the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change with respect to OPG’s proposal for a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) in Kincardine, at the site of the existing Bruce nuclear power plant.

The information submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency includes:

  • A study that details the environmental effects of technically and economically feasible alternate locations for OPG’s DGR project. Two alternate locations – one in crystalline rock and one in sedimentary rock – were studied, along with the incremental costs and risks associated with the off-site transportation.
  • An updated analysis of the cumulative environmental effects of the project, assuming a used-fuel repository is sited in close proximity to OPG’s DGR. A site for a used-fuel facility has not yet been determined by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.
  • An updated list of OPG’s commitments to mitigate adverse environmental effects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

The studies show that relocating the DGR to an alternate location would result in increased environmental effects and significant incremental costs, with no assurance of increased safety to workers and the public, or protection of the environment, the utility said. Based on the findings, OPG maintains that a DGR is the right answer for its low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste, and that the current proposed Bruce nuclear site is the right location.

An independent federal Joint Review Panel recommended in 2015 that OPG’s project move ahead “now rather than later,” based on a strong safety case and to reduce risks to the environment.

The DGR would provide permanent storage for low- and intermediate-level waste only, produced by the Darlington, Pickering and Bruce nuclear generating stations. This waste has been stored for the past 40 years on the surface at the Western Waste Management Facility in Kincardine, Ontario. Years of scientific research have shown that the geology 680 meters under the Bruce nuclear site is ideal for a DGR, since it is some of the tightest rock in the world, said OPG. 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.