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A Submission

from Donna Dillman

On storage from nuclear plants, as gleaned from the following government site:

What is being done about the waste from our nuclear plants?

The federal government established the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to investigate options for the long-term storage of Canada's used nuclear fuel. After consultations with Canadians, the NWMO has presented its recommendations, which the federal government is now reviewing.

The NWMO was asked to examine three options - deep geological disposal in the Canadian Shield; storage at nuclear reactor sites; and centralized storage above or below ground. The NWMO decided that none of these options was ideal and recommended an "Adaptive Phased Management Approach," which would include deep geological storage in a centralized site, but with ongoing monitoring and re-assessment opportunities.

In addition to the Canadian Shield, there are a number of other possible storage sites throughout Canada. However, the NWMO was very clear that only communities willing to accept the waste should be considered.

Nuclear waste in Canada is regulated by the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act.

Ontario now stores low- and mid-level waste in concrete or underground containers at the nuclear stations. Low-level or "housekeeping" waste includes mops, plastic sheeting, protective clothing and rags. Mid-level waste includes replaced valves and filters used to decontaminate heavy water, as well as any other piece of equipment used in the production of nuclear power. After 300 years, this waste will no longer be radioactive and will be able to be disposed of as conventional waste.

Used nuclear fuel is considered high-level waste and remains radioactive for thousands of years. Because of its radioactivity, used fuel requires both cooling and shielding, and is currently stored at Ontario's nuclear stations in water-filled pools or bays. Used fuel normally remains in these pools for 15 years before it is removed and stored in concrete containers at the nuclear stations. There are almost two million fuel bundles now in storage - enough to fill five hockey rinks to the top of the boards.