CNSC hearings for Bruce Power 10-year renewal wrap-up – Day 4

After four long days of technical data presentations, interventions and oral support presentations, the Bruce Power 10-year Licensing Renewal Application before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) wrapped up on May 31st.

The final day began with a presentation from the Historic Saugeen Métis (HSM). The presentation by Ross Lamont and Patsy McArthur explained that the Historic Saugeen Métis (HSM) is recognized as an independent Métis community.  “We are different from any other Métis community in the Province of Ontario,” said Lamont.

In 2009, the HSM signed a ‘first of its kind’ Métis engagement protocol with Bruce Power that enabled the HSM to engage with Bruce Power on its new Nuclear Build Project.

At that time, Bruce Power sated that it wants to work constructively with Métis and engage them in their historic community, to ensure their asserted rights and interests are understood and addressed.   The HSM and Bruce Power have established an existing relationship that is built on recognition and mutual respect. 

Next on the agenda, Dr. John Barrett, President of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), in his presentation said that the “… best indicator of future performance is past performance”.

“Bruce Power is committed to providing safe, clean and reliable energy and the License Application testifies to unrelenting safety,” said Barrett. “There are groups that consistently try to oppose the nuclear industry ideologically and when there are statements with no basis in fact, we try to correct that.”

James Scongack, Bruce Power Vice-President of Corporate Affairs added however that, “Where there are issues about the industry that are obviously incorrect, our (Bruce Power) policy is zero tolerance and we will aggressively and immediately set out to correct them.”

Barrett went on to say that, “When people talk about the Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents, people have to understand that each had specialized and exaggerated misperceptions, such as the tsunami in Fukushima.  Today, we have improved safety and technology, our reactors are a different type, operations are completely different with highly trained personnel in place 24/7 and we have no tsunamis or seismic activity.  The public has to realize these fundamental differences.”

When it comes to the medical and health field, Bruce Power is about to make a considerable difference according to the experts who came forward.

Richard Wiens of Nordion, a global provider of Cobalt 60 used in the sterilizing of single-use medical items, such as various equipment, explained that Bruce Power has been a significant contributor since 1983 and that 50 per cent of the world’s Cobalt 60 now comes from Bruce Power.

“Gamma processing is used in a wide variety of instances,” said Wiens, “including food treatments on things like mangoes from India and the latest method of controlling insects that carry diseases such as the Zika virus.”

Today, Nordion ships processed Cobalt 60 to 40 countries making Canada a global leader in ‘gamma processing’ and, according to Wiens, Bruce Power is critical in the production of 
Cobalt 60.

“What would have once been ‘waste’,” added Bruce Power President & CEO, Mike Rencheck, “is now being used in the medical community and it offers no additional complexity to our operation.”

Scongack added that Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Nordion and Bruce Power are looking at filling the Cobalt 60 supply gap when Pickering nuclear site is decommissioned in 2024.  Bruce Power is also moving to high-specificity Cobalt that is being used as a ‘gamma knife’ to treat brain and neck cancerous tumours.

“This is a great Canadian story,” said CNSC President Michael Binder, “and the public should be made more aware of it.

As the final day unfolded more interveners in support of the Bruce Power 10-year renewal presented their reasons for supporting the application. 

The Commission, that now has to review all the material presented along with more than 100 written submissions, will  render a decision on whether or not to allow the 10-year License Renewal. 

Following the Bruce Power hearing, the Commission will hold a public hearing on the renewal of the Pickering Nuclear Station operating license under OPG from June 25 – 29th in Pickering.

Final dates for Commission decisions have yet to be determined.