(R) Saugeen Shores Mayor Mike Smith in discussion with Saugeen First
Nation Chief, Randall Kahgee
Today was round two in the hearing for Bruce Power's application for
renewal of its license with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Committion (CNSC).
The application is an historical precedent setting out a five-year
term compared to the former two year terms that were the usual
Today, was also the opportunity for 'intervenors' to have their say
In all, 11 groups and/or individuals came forward, some with
concerns and others in support of the licensing application.
Those who presented their submissions, either orally or written or
both were: County of Bruce, Power Workers' Union (PWU), Canadian
Nuclear Workers' Council & Grey-Bruce District Labour Council,
Saugeen Ojibway Nations, Citizens for Renewable Energy, Greenpeace
Canada, Historic Saugeen Metis, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear
Responsibility, Society of Energy Professionals, South Bruce Impact
Advisory Committee and Eugene Bourgeois of Philosopher's Stone. Most
were in support of the license renewal, some were not.
The first presenter was the County of Bruce, represented by County
of Bruce Warden, Bill Goetz, who delivered the submission on behalf
of the eight elected mayors in the communities most impacted by
Bruce Power's facility. As would be expected, all members of Bruce
County supported the Bruce Power application for renewal of its
licenses for Bruce A and B in addition to the re-fuel application
for Units 1 and 2 at Bruce A as part of the refurbishment project.
"Bruce Power provides employment to many people in Bruce County,"
read Goetz from the County submission. ".... Bruce County and Bruce
Power have a strong and open relationship where Bruce Power reports
to Bruce county Council and senior staff in front of the media each
month on its safety environmental and production performance and
provides updates on projects and industry issues relevant to Bruce
The Commission asked Goetz if the eight municipalities also
encompassed the First Nations and if the the First Nations were
represented on County Council. Goetz replied that the County and
First Nations often worked things out on an informal basis but
admitted that Council does not deal directly with them [First
Nations] at the County level.
Other groups in support of the application were the PWU, the
Canadian Nuclear Workers' Council & Grey-Bruce District Labour
Council, the Society of Energy Professionals and the South Bruce
Impact Advisory Committee, although some of them also had concerns.
01/10/2009 11:14 PM
(L) Bruce County Warden, Bill Goetz talks with
Bruce Power's Ross Lamont
The PWU, represented by its Vice-President, Peter
Faulkner, explained that its more than 2600 members on-site work in all
facets, including administration, security, maintenance and first-line
supervision. "Our members represent the front-line operations and the
majority live in the surrounding communities." While the PWU supports
the application for license renewal, the organization also had some
concerns of its own. "While we support the five-year renewal period,"
said Faulkner, "we ask that the CNSC meet with Bruce Power once a year
during the five years to review any issues. We also continue to raise
the issue of the lack of skilled, knowledgeable staff. The Power Workers
Union has asked that Bruce Power increase the numbers through new hires
and the training of existing staff. We are, for the record, asking for a
formal discussion between the PWU, CNSC and Bruce Power on a regular
Faulkner said that he felt it was important that a mid-term review take
place between the PWU, CNSC and Bruce Power.
Duncan Hawthorne, who was on the hot seat during the
hearing, said that he felt any opportunity for open dialogue was a good
thing but that the annual review sufficiently answered any questions.
The PWU agreed that there had been significant improvement in the
relationship with Bruce Power. When it comes to issues or concerns
on-site, there is a series of levels to deal with them including a Joint
Committee, Policy Committee and senior management. "The system works
very well," said Faulkner, "and we've (PWU) been working very diligently
with the company.
Hawthorne then added that the reason for the tiered system allowed
everyone on-site to be represented. "Our philosophy has been that we
have committees to solve our own problems. The Joint Committee will try
its best to resolve issued and we try to never take issues off-site. We
want to solve our own problems. It's a policy and everyone knows about
The PWU agreed. "Often arbitrators don't understand the workings of the
site," said Faulkner, "and, therefore, it's better to solve issues
on-site. There will always be a difference of opinion. The union will
always say we need more staff and the company will we, we have enough."
"We are trying to bring in more workers in a pro-active way," said
Hawthorne. "Our focus has been to recruit bright, young people to make
them nuclear operators. The examinations are not easy. Also, one of the
things we are working on is to have senior partners pass on their
knowledge in a mentoring way before retirement. We have been trying to
escalate the whole Nuclear Operator program."
The PWU said it is looking down the road so that it will have
appropriate staff available at all times. "We must come to an
understanding and we are willing to work with the company."
Hawthorne agreed. "There will always be differences but we are working
at improving relationships."
The process of the hearing was complex with many issues raised ranging
from the environment to health and safety of not only those on-site but
in surrounding communities.
..... to be continued