Tag Archives: Waste Management

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: The Power of Linking Energy and Industrial Policies

Dr. Tim Stone is the Expert Chair with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. He has considerable expertise in reviewing UK nuclear installations and providing advice on waste management and decommissioning. In his talk, Dr. Stone shares the importance of political aspects of nuclear projects in supporting a strong national economy.

You can watch more CNA2013 conference videos on the playlist we created. Other videos including videos from previous conference years can be found on our YouTube channel.

CNA Responds Nuclear Safety Waste Management

DGR for Nuclear Materials is the Responsible Step

This article attempts to weigh the pros and cons of building a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for Canada’s low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste material but really just ends up confusing the matter. We’re wondering exactly what are the cons of managing waste responsibly, something our industry does every day anyway. Plus, there’s a big difference between used-fuel and low-level waste.

There is a lot of misinformation in the article and we think it’s important to address some of it here.

Conceptual design of a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) Source: Ontario Power Generation

DGR for nuclear materials is the responsible step

The proposed deep geological repository (DGR) is a responsible step Canada’s nuclear industry is taking for the long-term storage of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste material, which is already extremely well managed.  Ontario Power Generation (OPG), with the support of Bruce County municipalities, is proposing to construct and operate the DGR.

The Joint Review Panel (JRP) for this project is holding a six-month public comment period which provides an opportunity for the JRP, public, interested stakeholders, and aboriginal communities to review and comment on it.

Low-level waste (LLW) is not used fuel.  Rather, it consists of minimally radioactive materials that have become contaminated during routine clean-up and maintenance in the generating stations. Materials include mop heads, cloths, paper towels, floor sweepings and protective clothing. No special protection is required when handling LLW. Intermediate-level waste (ILW) is also not used fuel; it consists of resins and filters used to keep the reactors’ water systems clean as well as irradiated reactor core components associated with the refurbishment of reactors. This waste, while much less radioactive than used fuel, is more radioactive than LLW and regulations require shielding to protect workers during its handling.

A four-year program of geoscientific investigations, safety assessment, engineering and design, and environmental field studies contributed to the environmental assessment process that concluded the DGR will not cause significant adverse effects to the environment or the public. This documentation will be the subject of a very thorough and robust regulatory and public review process, held in an open and transparent manner, to ensure the proposed DGR is safe for the public and environment.

There are several examples of other countries that are utilizing geologic repositories for the safe management of their L&ILW, including Sweden, Finland and the United States.  The proposed DGR has been rigorously scrutinized by environmental and regulatory agencies at various levels of government, has been open to public input and been found to be a responsible and sound plan. Each day Canadians working in the nuclear industry safely ship thousands of packages of radioactive material – many of them across the world. Radioactive shipments include medical isotopes, some smoke detectors, gauges and instruments, nuclear reactor fuel, uranium, and cobalt for sterilizing food and medical supplies. No member of the Canadian public has ever been harmed by a radiation release in transportation.

The Canadian nuclear industry provides a broad spectrum of products and services that benefit Canadians, including low-carbon electricity, medical isotopes, and food safety technologies. Our industry supports the employment of tens of thousands of Canadians and we are committed to ensuring safety throughout all aspects of our industry and being responsible environmental stewards across Canada and in the communities where we live and work.

For more information about the regulation of Canada’s geological repositories, visit the CNSC’s website: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/about/regulated/radioactivewaste/regulating-canadas-geological-repositories-fact-sheet.cfm

Nuclear Energy Waste Management

Turning Waste Repositories into Nuclear Energy Hubs

There are some interesting points in this article about siting a nuclear used-fuel/waste facility, which states:

  • Acceptance of nuclear is high in communities with operating facilities – the communities understand and accept the risks and benefits. So, building a used-fuel/waste repository in a willing host community near existing nuclear facilities (and their expertise) makes sense.
  • There is also a strong argument to be made for co-locating nuclear facilities and building a “nuclear hub.” Savings in packaging and treatment for shipping would be significant.
  • Geology is also a key consideration for siting a deep geological repository (DGR) as a suitable rock formation is important for ensuring the long-term safety of stored materials.

 

Turning waste repositories into nuclear energy hubs

Nuclear Casks

By Jason Deign on Jul 17, 2012

The search for final repository sites tends to focus on putting waste as far out of sight as possible. But there are sound arguments for turning a repository into a nuclear centrepiece.

Dr Charles Forsberg probably knows as much about nuclear power life cycle costs as anyone. And the executive director for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a pretty clear message when it comes to final waste repositories.

“We have a strong recommendation that if you build a repository you should seriously consider co-locating lots of other facilities at the repository site,” he says.

“The problem right now in a repository is that because of the history of the cold war, what we did is we built all these fuel cycle facilities after everything was totally built. Then we said: ‘let’s go find a single-purpose repository to dump the trash.’

“We very efficiently separated all the benefits from the liabilities.”

This has led, in the US at least, to a policy-driven quest to find repository sites that are far from anywhere, and particularly far from other nuclear facilities.

Read the entire article in Nuclear Energy Insider. Click here.

Nuclear News Nuclear Pride

National Science and Technology Week – October 14-23, 2011

Did you know it’s National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) in Canada?

This year marks the 20th anniversary of NSTW, which celebrates the significance of Canada’s science and technology history, the importance of science and technology in today’s world, and Canada’s ongoing role as a world leader in innovation.

CLICK to learn more about Canadian innovations in nuclear at NUnuclear.ca

TalkNUclear was in Port Hope to kick off NSTW. We wanted to learn more about the historic role Port Hope has played in Canada’s nuclear industry and about plans for remediation. Read about the Port Hope Area Initiative on the TalkNUclear blog. We were lucky enough to be treated to a tour of Port Hope to learn more about some of the Port Hope Area Initiative‘s remediation and waste storage plans (hint: there’s a recreation park in the works!).

A lovely new park in the works for beautiful Port Hope

How are you celebrating NSTW?

Nuclear Science & Technology (S&T) initiatives foster excellence in science, technology, manufacturing, energy and medicine. They contribute significantly to developing highly qualified personnel for the nuclear and non-nuclear sectors.

  • Canada’s federal Government and the Canadian nuclear industry have a long history of investing in nuclear S&T and innovation.
  • Nuclear  S&T  supports materials testing and product improvements, medical products and services, training and development of scientists and engineers, and other activities of high value to an advanced economy.
  • Nuclear  S&T  also contributes to the health sciences sector by studying nanostructures to design carriers for therapeutic agents that can target cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more.

CLICK to read about TalkNUclear's visit to AECL's Chalk River labs - home to so much of Canada's historic and ongoing nuclear S&T

We want to know what your favourite Canadian S&T innovation is. Let us know in the comments.

Happy National Science & Technology Week!

 

Messages Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Nuclear Power as a Foundation for a Sustainable Energy Future

Recently we were asked by the Canada West Foundation (CWF) to provide a guest blog post about nuclear for their Let’s Talk Energy blog — an initiative under the CWF’s Powering Up for the Future project. The post is basically a nuclear primer for an audience which may not be familiar with all of the benefits and contributions of the technology.

Let us know what you think!

Nuclear Power as a Foundation for a Sustainable Energy Future

Originally posted at Let’s Talk Energy

Given recent events in Japan, the first thing that anyone wants to know about Canadian nuclear is: Is it safe? The answer is yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Safety is our number one priority. Canada’s nuclear power operations have a proven track record of being among the safest in the world. They are highly monitored, stringently regulated and continuously improved through the daily efforts of qualified professionals who are committed to ensuring public safety. In over 45 years of operation there has not been a single significant incident at a Canadian facility.

Our industry continues to make investments and improvements as part of our ‘Safety First’ culture. In response to the Fukushima accident, Bruce Power has taken concrete action on a number of fronts following the events in Japan. For example, they recently announced the re-organization of their emergency response organization, which involves approximately 400 employees who form the basis of their industry-leading emergency response capability. Building on lessons learned from the Fukushima event is a top priority for our industry.

At Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a four-month examination of its nuclear operations following the events in Japan uncovered no major safety issues. OPG carefully studied the safety of its facilities and re-evaluated the potential of unlikely events such earthquakes, severe flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, fire and ice storms having major impacts on nuclear operations. The studies showed that the plants continued to be safe, but as part of continuous improvement OPG will make investments to increase safety margins during these unlikely events. This includes accelerating the installation of hydrogen recombiners and the purchase of additional back up generation and diesel pumps.

Currently there are 17 operational CANDU reactors in Canada that supply 15% of all electricity in Canada. This 15% means the potential emission of 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year is avoided. Imagine, without nuclear power, if that same amount of electricity was fossil-fuel generated, Canada’s total GHG emission would increase by a whopping 12%.

Canada’s nuclear facilities are located in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Communities in these provinces are benefiting not only from an available, reliable and clean source of energy, but an affordable one as well. According to studies conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a multi-country organization working to further growth and development of its member nations, the overall cost to the consumer of nuclear power over the life of a nuclear power facility is similar to that of large-scale hydro, natural gas and coal, and much lower than wind and solar.

What about the rest of the country, you might be wondering. What are the benefits of nuclear for the rest of the country not currently powered by nuclear? Power generation is only one of the many great things about nuclear, and it isn’t only Canadians who benefit from the Canadian nuclear industry, both today and historically, what with the countless Canadian innovations in the field.

The Canadian nuclear industry provides a broad spectrum of products and services that benefit Canadians and people around the world. The application of nuclear science improves the health and well-being of us all through nuclear medicine and food safety technologies. Innovation in nuclear science is also being applied to address a number of societal challenges such as public health and transportation.

Our nuclear industry is made up of over 70,000 Canadians employed directly or indirectly in exploring and mining uranium, generating electricity, advancing nuclear medicine, and promoting Canada’s worldwide leadership in science and technology innovation. Through the efforts of these Canadians, our nuclear industry is a $6.6 billion per year industry, contributing $1.5 billion in tax revenues and $1.2 billion in export revenues.

Our commitment to public safety and environmental stewardship includes the safe, secure and responsible long-term management of all of the used fuel produced by Canadian nuclear power plants.  Used fuel is initially stored in secure water-filled bays on site of the nuclear power plants for 5 –10 years. It is then placed in large concrete and steel containers safely stored on site. In order to address the long-term care of Canada’s used nuclear fuel, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) was established by nuclear energy producers in 2002 in accordance with the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act.

NWMO has worked with industry, research and government organizations to develop a management approach for the long-term care of Canada’s used nuclear fuel, including development of a deep geological repository in a suitable rock formation. Initial stages of the plan are now being implemented. NWMO’s plan and its implementation is highly monitored and regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to protect the health, safety and security of people and our environment. In fact, radioactive waste facilities are monitored by the licensees and by the provincial and federal authorities, and they are kept extremely secure.

Let’s see, we’ve covered: safety, zero-emission power generation, affordability, contributions to medicine, heath, science and technology innovation, various industries, and the Canadian economy, and talked about how we clean up after ourselves. These reasons all illustrate why nuclear energy should be considered not only in the discussions about a Canadian energy strategy, but also as a component for a sustainable energy future.

I’d love to continue this discussion with you. We have a blog at TalkNuclear.ca and we talk nuclear on Facebook and Twitter. Come join the conversation about all things nuclear and energy related.

If you want to know more about the daily benefits of nuclear beyond energy generation, visit our new microsite. Find out how the future is NU.

Originally posted at Let’s Talk Energy

 

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy

Five Realities of Nuclear Energy

Recently an article appeared by former state rep., Jerry Paul, who served as principal deputy administrator of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, and worked as a control room reactor engineer.  Understandably people have questions about nuclear. To this Jerry says,

For each of these questions, there are rational answers based on the laws of physics, thousands of peer-reviewed scientific and academic studies, and decades of successful operating experience.

What often gets lost in the debate surrounding nuclear energy are these five realities:

  1. Eliminating nuclear energy is not realistic if we want to maintain our quality of life.
  2. Day-to-day activities present a greater health threat than a local nuclear plant.
  3. Nuclear power plants are constantly upgraded.
  4. The amount of spent fuel is small and can be managed safely. (In many cases, the issue of storing used fuel is discussed without proper context.)
  5. Nuclear plants have more government oversight than any other industry.

For elaboration on these five points, read the entire article by Jerry Paul.