Nothing found to stop radioactive waste plan;

The Owen Sound Sun Times: TROY PATTERSON - November 21, 2008

Ontario Power Generation is halfway through the drilling and geological studies for its Deep Geologic Repository project and nothing has been found so far to stop the project.

DGR geoscience manager Mark Jensen said with 34 different rock formations from the surface to the 680- metre-deep site beneath the Bruce nuclear facility, the data coming back confirms old data from a Texaco oil and gas drilling record from 1969.

The low permeability in the limestone rock of the Cobourg Layer, where the site would be, would prevent migration of radiation. Seismic studies have revealed the calmness of the region and geochemistry that shows only prehistoric water migration, are the major points they'll use to justify the science behind the proposal.

"If we understand what happened in the past, it's easy to predict what may happen in the future," Jensen said. "Geology is very predictable, very simple. We'll be able to make multiple arguments as to why this site is a good fit."

Samples have been taken in three separate areas to "get a three-dimensional idea" of what's under the site.

The repository would be divided into two wing-like subterranean areas, with one housing sealed boxes of low-level radioactive waste like ash, compacted garbage and components that can't be compressed. The other would store used resins, liners and larger components with slightly more radioactivity. Plans allow for future expansion.

DGR managing engineer Richard Heystee said Sweden and Switzerland are working on similar projects.

"We're not the first out of the gate, and in some ways, it's a proven technology," he said.

They plan to give an update on their findings to the nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), on Dec. 8.

They hope to have the Environmental Impact Statement to the CNSC panel for review in 2011. If approved, they would hope to have a licence for construction by 2012.

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