Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle
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.