danger alarms residents
The London Free Press
living near the Great Lakes are waking up to the potential
dangers of a plan to expand storage of nuclear waste at
Bruce Power, a Kincardine community activist says.
Normand de la Chevrotiere
of the Inverhuron and District Ratepayers Association
said that's why U.S. anti-nuclear activists issued a call
Friday for an international review of the plan.
Ontario Power Generation
(OPG) wants to begin storing used, highly radioactive
nuclear fuel bundles above ground at Bruce Power. The
pools where the bundles have been sent for decades are
OPG also wants the
storage facility to be designated a nuclear installation,
which would limit liability for damages to $75 million.
U.S. activists believe
the enlarged storage site, combined with the neighbouring
reactors and the nearby freshwater drinking supply could
make the plant a terrorist target.
The Inverhuron ratepayers
tried to get Canadian courts to order a more in-depth
review, but lost their case in March.
De la Chevrotiere
said the 300-member association is not anti-nuclear.
"But we want
to know if the facility is going to be safe. Where do
you draw the line in terms of what's prudent?" the
"It would make
a pretty big powder keg."
plants have been taking their spent fuel away from the
Great Lakes to the mountains of Nevada, he said.
But Kincardine Mayor
Larry Kraemer said their concerns are misplaced. "I
don't think people quite understand the nature of the
Kraemer said low-
and intermediate-level nuclear waste -- mainly workers'
protective gear or power plant parts -- are of no use
The high-level waste
would be sealed in 90-tonne containers welded shut. "So
they're thick and heavy and strong enough to take the
impact from a train or a supersonic jet and not even fizz
a professor at the University of Western Ontario and an
expert in nuclear-waste disposal, said above-ground methods
are no more dangerous than the pools that have been used.
"I don't perceive
this to be any more of a danger from a leakage perspective
than it would be no matter where they stored it ... "
"From a terrorist
point of view, flying a plane into this kind of above-ground
storage of waste would be nowhere near as dangerous as
doing it to the reactor."
But he said a proposal
that has been floated to store waste permanently in caverns
dug into the Canadian Shield "would be untouchable
by this kind of terrorist activity."
The ratepayers' group
is afraid the Bruce Power site will eventually become
a centralized storage facility for 20 nuclear plants.
It could store 750,000 waste fuel bundles, each about
the size of a fireplace log.
plan is the financial hardship of British Energy, which
leases the nuclear power plants at the Bruce from OPG.
Bruce Power is still
a profitable division for British Energy, officials say.
OPG runs the storage of nuclear waste separately.
But British Energy's
financial difficulties leave open the question whether
it could cover its share of liability from an accident.
"I think the
community would like to see this financial problem behind
Bruce Power and British Energy," Kraemer said.