Deep Geologic Repository News

Connecting with the DGR – June edition 

by Marie Wilson


 

Science

(continued)

      Wow – talk about connecting! We’ve just finished our first round of home shows with the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) mobile exhibit, and we literally made hundreds of connections – DGR connections that is – with folks that wanted to learn more about the proposed long-term storage facility for low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Interest in Ontario Power Generation’s DGR hasn’t waned in the least, even though this was the fourth home show season for the travelling exhibit. Many of those who stopped by to chat at the Midwestern Agri-Fair in Chesley, the Port Elgin Rotary Club Home and Recreation Show, the Kincardine Home and Garden Show and the Wiarton Home and Cottage Show were familiar faces looking for the annual update, to which they have grown accustom, while others, new to the DGR concept, sought a more detailed overview of the proposed project.
     

      The home shows also provided ample opportunity for discussion of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) new role with respect to OPG’s proposed DGR. While OPG remains as owner and licensee of the project, the NWMO has been contracted by OPG to seek regulatory approval for the DGR – a fact which more and more people are becoming aware of as we make inroads with the four wheels of our exhibit, and our newsletters, website, speaking engagements and other communication vehicles (couldn’t resist).

      As a result of the transition of the DGR from OPG to NWMO for development through the regulatory approvals process, and in recognition of its role as part of the community, NWMO is initiating a DGR Community Partnership Program. NWMO will provide financial support for initiatives throughout the eight Bruce municipalities and Aboriginal communities, which reflect well on environment, education, youth, culture and community well being.

      For instance, the Municipality of Brockton’s Environmental Advisory Committee is in the process of initiating projects that will contribute to the  “greening of their community” – projects such as the purchase of green cone composters, which will be sold to Brockton residents at cost. The NWMO is providing support for the production of promotional and educational materials needed to create public awareness about the program.  NWMO is also providing support for South Bruce Peninsula’s green cone project, while other municipalities are expressing interest in obtaining NWMO support for similar initiatives.

(next column)

26/05/2009 07:10 PM


    Please note NWMO is actively encouraging proposals from communities for support through the DGR Community Partnership Program. For more information about the program, call Kevin Orr at 519-368-1644 or korr@nwmo.ca.

    Now that we’ve completed our detour off the main road to discuss the NWMO DGR Community Sponsorship program, let’s get back to the road more travelled with the DGR exhibit over the last month. A question that frequently surfaces at public events is, “What about the future – how do you know the DGR will be safe so many years down the road……?” Currently, a lot of work is being done through the use of mathematical models and simulations to determine how the DGR will react into the future for a million years and beyond.

      One of those involved with this work is Jon Sykes, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Waterloo. In the school’s recent annual Faculty of Engineering report, he spoke about his work where he evaluates the future safety of the DGR.

      “When the next ice age comes, the Canadian landscape may get erased like an Etch-a-sketch, but our nuclear waste will be untouched,” he said.

      Sykes made the statement after he and his team completed a two-year study, which combined the integration of a geologic framework model (based on information from the Bruce site) with detailed hydrogeologic simulations. They looked at what would happen over one million years into the future including the occurrence of the next ice age. Noting that water (tiny, tiny amounts of moisture trapped in the sedimentary rock formations at the proposed repository level of 680 metres) is ancient – millions of years old – and has never interacted with the surface biosphere, he said, “It’s (Bruce site) one of the best places in the world for underground storage.”

      You just never know who you are going to connect with when you travel the roads with the DGR, and speaking of travelling, we will be out connecting with folks again at several summer venues beginning with the Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games on July 4. Stay connected!


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