On November 6, 7 and 8, at the Ottawa Marriot, the world’s nuclecy co-celebrated a “Great Mass” at the invitation of the Canadian government and its accomplices at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). On the agenda: 4 plenary sessions, 16 technical sessions, 92 presentations, 10 countries: Canada, United States, United Kingdom, China, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Romania, Sweden.
Nearly 300 invitees will congratulate themselves on the new craze -- “Small Modular Reactors” (PRM), a dangerous dream to try to save this dying energy sector. As usual, the problem of nuclear waste management is hardly mentioned!
The experts praised politicians who have their head in the sand when it comes to the management of nuclear waste. Canada has no federal policy to deal with post-fission nuclear waste.
It’s been two and a half years since CNL unveiled plans to build a huge burial mound on the Ottawa River to pile up millions of tonnes of Canadian nuclear waste that has accumulated over 70 years. They also plan to concrete-over, on-site, three prototype reactors (Rolphton, Douglas Point and Gentilly-1). All contradict international rules.
Nearly 250 briefs were submitted to the CNSC, most against this project. There are five major deficiencies in the Chalk River nuclear waste mega-dump: deficient technology, poor location, bad purpose, wrong procedure, bad claimant. Each is sufficient to justify the rejection of the so-called “near-surface storage facility” project.
In Quebec, the radioactive waste of Gentilly-1 - owned by the Feds - has been stagnating since 1977 in the Hydro-Québec yard in Bécancour. CNSC wants approval to continue decommissioning, with hundreds of millions provided by Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL)
As for Gentilly-2, Hydro-Québec has mandated the US firm TLG Services of Connecticut to develop a rapid decommissioning plan. Their report was to reduce the dormant phase from 40 to 15 years. But Hydro-Québec decided without public justification to postpone complete dismantling and final restoration of the site to 2066, thus passing on the real work to future generations.
During the Ottawa meeting, the Minister of Natural Resources is expected to announce the continuation of Canada’s nuclear re-development by wasting public funds for these new reactors - so far not built, untested and unlicensed - across Canada. No consultation with citizens is planned. The federal government seems under the evil influence of the all-powerful nuclecy!
Instead of turning a blind eye to its management of nuclear waste, the government would do better to legislate in detail the strategic framework for post-fission radioactive waste.
Do not be fooled by the recent “NICE” campaign - Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy - which aims to promote the expansion of nuclear energy around the world by sowing these small technologies that inevitably include production of huge quantities of radioactive waste.
Canada is a long way back in the pack of MMP promoters and should not waste public money trying to catch up. In order not to bequeath this problem to future generations, Canada has a moral duty to take care of the eco-responsible management of Canadian legacy nuclear waste. Now.