Alberta Anti-nuclear group worried about waste

Calgary Sun: JEREMY LOOME - May 31, 2008

GRANDE PRAIRIE -- A group of Albertans opposed to a proposed nuclear power plant in the province's northeast warns there's nowhere suitable in the area to store radioactive waste.

The group Stop Poisoning Our Communities held a rally outside Energy Minister Mel Knight's constituency office in Grande Prairie yesterday. The group says a University of Calgary study shows there is nowhere geologically appropriate at the proposed location that would suit an underground, temporary on-site storage chamber.

A temporary facility would be needed because the industry-funded Nuclear Waste Management Organization says Canada is still 20 to 30 years away from completing a national storage facility project.

The nuclear organization's head, Ken Nash, says Ontario has been transporting spent nuclear fuel rods to different facilities for years without incident.

But opponents of a nuclear plant in Alberta say transporting spent nuclear waste always presents risks. "Any time you're putting a lot more of this material on the roads, you are increasing the risk of public exposure," said area resident Trudi Keillor.

Bruce Power -- a private nuclear operator that provides more than 20% of Ontario's electricity -- has optioned land to build a $10-billion, four-reactor, 4,000-megawatt plant on Lac Cardinal's northwestern edge. It is expected to take 12 to 15 years before an Alberta nuclear power project could be approved. Keillor said a permanent underground waste storage facility likely won't be built until 15 years after.


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