Bruce Power License Renewal Hearings underway in Kincardine

Today, May 30th, was day three of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearings (Part 2) for Bruce Power’s 10-year License Renewal application.

The hearings being held at the Town Place  Suites Marriott Hotel in Kincardine are in-depth presentations before the Commission by Bruce Power, various sectors of the nuclear industry, surrounding communities, organizations, nuclear supply chain corporations and interveners from the public in addition to Indigenous and Métis peoples.

Bruce Power has requested a 10-year License Renewal as opposed to the previous five-year renewals as it moves forward in its Major Component Replacement (MCR) program for refurbishment into 2064.  According to several proponents for the renewal, the extended renewal would provide continuity throughout the lengthy refurbishment period.

The Commission, established in 2000, ” … regulates nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment and disseminates objective scientific, technical and regulator information to the public.”

It has up to seven permanent members, appointed based on qualifications and expertise, and more than 800 employees who review applications for licenses according to regulatory requirements.  The employees then make recommendations to the Commission and enforce compliance with the ‘Nuclear Safety and Control Act’.  The commission is independent at arm’s length from government and has no ties to the nuclear industry.  Its decisions are reviewable only by the Federal Court of Canada.

The Commission at the Kincardine hearings is headed up by President Dr. Michael Binder, Ph.D. in physics, who has had an extensive career in several senior positions, including the Office of the Comptroller General of Canada, the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs, the Defence Research Board and many others.

Day one was primarily Bruce Power and CNSC staff presenting the case for approval of the 10-year license renewal with support shown by the municipality of Kincardine represented by Mayor Anne Eadie, the Lake Huron Fishing Club and the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) represented by President & CEO Paul Rosebush.

Day Two (May 29) however saw several interveners and supporters present their cases for or against the renewal. 

The most lengthy presentation was by Saugeen First Nation chief Lester Anoquot and Cape Croker’s Chippewa Nawash Unceded First Nation Chief Greg Nadjiwon (both groups known as Saugeen Ojibway Nation [SON]) who presented along with lawyer Alex Monem.

Anoquot said that the First Nation people were “… totally excluded from the original plan to bring nuclear power to the region … we still feel we have to fight for every inch but in the past five years, OPG (Ontario Power Generation) and NWMO (Nuclear Waste Management organization) have said they are committed to working with us.”

He went on to say that significant protections are not in place and that First Nations are still not involved in major decision making.

Their lawyer, Alex Monem, said that, although serious efforts had been made by Bruce Power and CNSC to engage SON, rigorous studies and development of a mitigation plan and an agreement on how to measure the results of the studies should be put in place.  “Accommodation concerns must be imposed before any refurbishment begins … SON wants to work with Bruce Power … an agreement should ensure that SON values are considered and a cost benefit analysis should be done.”

James Scongack, Bruce Power Vice-President Corporate Affairs, said that recent discussions with SON have been meaningful and productive.  He also pointed out that public engagement with SON and surrounding communities has been to the “maximum degree” of openness and transparency.

Tomorrow is the last day of the hearings and a full webcast can be seen beginning at 8:30 a.m.: 

To be continued ….