OPG to explore alternatives following no vote on nuclear waste disposal site
By Megan HoeglerConstruction Health & Safety
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will need to find somewhere else to dispose of nuclear waste.
On Jan. 31, members of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) First Nations voted against a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) site for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste disposal in Bruce County, Ontario.
The nuclear waste disposal site would have been built 680 metres below the Bruce Power nuclear generating station in Kincardine, on the shores of Lake Huron.
OPG offered the SON First Nation $150 million in exchange to build the site on their land, according to the Own Sound Sun Times, and has been working to move construction forward since 2005.
As a result of the vote, OPG says it will not be building the Bruce DGR, upholding the commitment it made to the First Nations group in 2013 to not build the site without their support.
“OPG respects the decision of SON members. We will now move forward to develop an alternate solution,” Ken Hartwick, president and CEO of OPG, said in a release. “Nuclear energy — as a non-emitting source of electricity — is a vital tool in fighting climate change. To enjoy the benefits of this low-carbon, low-cost and reliable source of energy with peace of mind, we must manage the waste responsibly. Permanent and safe disposal is the right thing to do for future generations.”
The waste would have been protected by strong, dry and impermeable rock that has been isolated from the lake or any groundwater for hundreds of millions of years, the crown-owned power generator said.
OPG has not yet announced an alternative site for its DGR. According to Lise Morton, vice-president of OPG’s Nuclear Waste Management Division, “a priority is continuing our efforts in waste minimization,” This includes minimizing waste production at source, innovations in waste processing to reduce the volume and recycling of clean materials.