Bruce Power dished up relevant information at open house;

The Dunnville Chronicle: KAREN BEST - January 23, 2009

Frank Collins and Mike Ramsey called Bruce Power asking for a presentation in Dunnville after the town was left off a list of information sessions on a proposed nuclear power facility.

On Jan. 20, Ramsey completed a circuit of displays set up by consulting firm Golder Associates in St. Michael's Parish Hall. He was one of about 100 who attended that evening.

He said he asked Bruce Power to bring information to town because it was the biggest community in Haldimand County. When Collins called, Bruce Power acknowledged that leaving Dunnville out of the meeting schedule was an error.

For the rest of the environmental assessment process, Dunnville will be included. The next round of meetings is scheduled for March.

For Ramsey, the economy and safety were concerns as it was for some when the Nanticoke coal fired power generation plant was proposed in the 1970s.

After learning more about nuclear power generation, he said everything was well explained and his concerns were spent fuel rod storage and the downwind impact on Dunnville.

Economics was on his mind too. "We need a shot in the arm of the economy and this might be what we need," said Ramsey.

"If we lose Nanticoke, Haldimand County will be a ghost town," pointed out Collins. "We need to replace that. In many countries, power is generated at nuclear facilities."

He would like to see a nuclear power plant and a clean coal conversion at the Nanticoke OPG plant.

Like most people that evening, Anne Marie Flatt attended to become informed. She learned that many of her questions will be addressed through the environmental assessment on the property beside the U. S. Steel plant in the industrial park by Lake Erie.

Flatt wanted to know where spent fuel will be housed and if an earthquake fault existed in the vicinity of the site. For Flatt and her mother, Sylvia Weaver, an increase in the property tax base and 1,000 new jobs were benefits that will will come from the project.

"I'm also concerned about the yellow plume that drifts across the lake (from the coal plant)," said Weaver.

Councillors Lorne Boyko, Don Ricker and Leroy Bartlett attended as well that evening. Boyko said the event was non-confrontational but a few people expected protesters picketing outside with signs.

Standing near information exhibits, Bartlett said he attended all but the Simcoe information session to find out what people are thinking.

At the end of the day, Haldimand County council will make a decision on this one way or the other, he pointed out. Under the City of Nanticoke official plan, the plant would not be permitted and a planning application will be required, he explained.

Under the Haldimand County official plan, that has not been approved by the provincial government, the plant would be allowed, he added.

Bartlett also pointed out that the federal and provincial governments will also have to determine if this is the site for a nuclear power plant.

At the radiation exhibit, Dr. Doug Boreman, a Bruce Power scientist, answered questions as Doctors Reza and Barb Kazemi raised concerns. He told them Three Mile Island was a success story because the reactor meltdown was contained and no radiation was released.

In the design proposal for Bruce Power's Nanticoke plant, reactors will be housed in a concrete building lined with steel and encased in steel. "You can never break through the inside," said Boreman.

Within 200 years, radiation levels in spent fuel rods will fall to the same level as a CT scan, he noted.

After listening to Boreman, Dr. Scott Reid said he attended because he was interested in hearing about nuclear power.

"I think it would be a good thing for Haldimand County and the province," he said as he prepared to go home. "I have a lot of confidence in safety measures," he added.

In 1981, he attended the grand opening of the first Ontario nuclear plant in Bruce County. Scott said a relative, who is a tool and dye operator, works in the facility and has told him how safe operations were. Employees are given top-notch high quality tools to maintain the facility at the utmost quality, he added.

Reid said it was vital that people get questions answered because there is always a lot of fear about nuclear power plants.

Both Reza and Barb Kazemi went away with concerns for people and the environment so they wanted alternate power sources reviewed.

Reza pointed out that power consumption dropped 2.5 per cent a year over the past two years. If that wonderful trend of conservation here might be not be a need for more nuclear power plants, he added.

During his presentations, Boreman told people that new nuclear plants will have to be built over the next few decades to replace old structures that will be decommissioned.

After the session ended, Duncan Moffett, a principle with Golder Associates, commented on the terrific community interest displayed in Dunnville. People raised similar concerns and questions as at other sessions. The vast majority wanted to find out more information before making up their minds, he noted.

"We love that. That's part of the environmental assessment," said Moffett.

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