New emplacement design unveiled at DGR open house
By Liz Dadson


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Paul Gierszewski, director of repository safety, points to the new emplacement design in OPG's proposed DGR

Plans have changed for emplacement of the low-level and intermediate-level waste in Ontario Power Generation (OPG)'s proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) at the Bruce Nuclear site in Kincardine.

Unveiled at an open house Monday night (Nov. 2) at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine, the layout of the emplacement rooms has changed to parallel panels in a rectangular shape, enhancing the stability of the rooms, says Marie Wilson, media relations manager for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) which is facilitating the regulatory and approvals process for this project.

Originally, the emplacement rooms were going to run in a diagonal pattern off a central location. "This is all part of the design process," says Wilson. "The new emplacement design is more efficient and effective."

As a handful of people stopped in at the open house, Wilson says the basic information about the DGR has not changed: the facility will hold 160,000 cubic metres of low-level and intermediate-level nuclear waste, 680 metres (2,230 feet) below the surface.

Wilson says the four vertical boreholes have been drilled, allowing study of the rock at great depths. DGR-5, the first inclined borehole, has been completed and will help scientists discover if there are any fractures or faults in the rock that will house the DGR. The second inclined borehole (DGR 6), is expected to be finished early next year.

"We're now finalizing the engineering and design, working on the safety assessment, and completing some field work, such as the deer count," Wilson says.

This is the third round of open houses about the project, the last one was about a year ago, and another round will likely be held next year. Wilson says it's important to keep the public informed. "We have people coming in and asking questions," she says. "For some of them it's a new project. This is all in support of the Environmental Assessment process; we expect to be in public hearings by 2012."

Once the approvals process is completed, construction takes about five years. Wilson says, once approved, the DGR would be accepting low-level and intermediate-level waste by 2018.

An open house was also held in Ripley Tuesday night (Nov. 3), followed by open houses at Victoria Jubilee Hall in Walkerton on Wednesday (Nov. 4), and at the Colonial Motel in Port Elgin on Thursday (Nov. 5). Next week, open houses are scheduled at the Chesley Fire Hall on Monday, Nov. 9, the Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and the Wiarton and District Community Centre on Thursday, Nov. 12. The events run 4-8 p.m.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009