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Wanted: Community to store nuclear waste

OWEN SOUND SUN TIMES STAFF: SCOTT DUNN - September 20, 2008

Canadians have until Dec. 15 to make suggestions on the design of the process to select a storage facility site for high-level nuclear waste.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is responsible for the long-term management of Canada's used nuclear fuel. It was established in 2002 by Ontario Power Generation Inc., Hydro- Québec and New Brunswick Power Corporation, under the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act.

People can make a submission, participate in an online discussion or complete a survey on the NWMO website, a news release from the organization says.

The NWMO has prepared a discussion document -- "Moving Forward Together: Designing the Process for Selecting a Site," to "help initiate conversation and input." The document, along with a number of back-g rounders, is available at www.nwmo.ca.

A draft plan on how to site the deep geological repository will be prepared for next year and will be subject to public comment.

Ontario Power Generation's proposed deep repository beneath the Bruce nuclear plant site near Kincardine is committed to contain all radioactive wastes, except spent radioactive fuel, from Ontario's 20 nuclear reactors, OPG says.

Spokeswoman Marie Wilson, who works at OPG's existing Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce, said high-level radioactive waste won't be put in OPG's proposed deep geological repository.

OPG's waste burial site "is absolutely only for low-and intermediate-level waste."

She said there is an agreement with Kincardine to that effect, Kincardine council has passed a resolution saying it's not interested in being the host community for storage of high-level radioactive waste, and the Environmental Assessment process underway for the burial site is for low-and midlevel waste only, she said.

"We will not begin looking for an informed and willing community to host a repository until after the draft siting process has been considered and discussed with Canadians and refinements are made to address the suggestions and concerns they raise," said Ken Nash, president & CEO of the MWMO.

The site selection focus will be in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, but if a willing host community comes forward elsewhere in Canada, it would be considered too, said Mike Krizac, spokesman for the MWMO.

"Ultimately the site selected will have to be technically and scientifically feasible ," Krizac said.

Article ID# 1209649

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