OPG in the Community – November, 2018

   by Fred Kuntz

DGR payments:  Ontario Power Generation (OPG) resumes annual payments to five Bruce-area municipalities this December 31, 2018, to acknowledge local communities’ continuing role in providing a lasting solution for nuclear waste in a proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR). The schedule of payments was originally outlined in the 2004 DGR Hosting Agreementbetween Kincardine and OPG, and adjusted in the 2018 Amending Agreement.

Under that 2018 amendment, payments resume this year at the 50% level after being held in trust for the previous three years; half the monies in trust were released on ratification by Kincardine council this past February. Payments, adjusted for inflation, will now continue annually in December until either the project is stopped, in which case payments end, or the DGR is approved, which case payments return to 100% levels. Municipalities benefitting from the payments are Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Huron-Kinloss, Arran-Elderslie and Brockton.

OPG’s DGR, for low- and intermediate-level waste, would be built 680 metres below the Bruce nuclear site – deeper than the CN Tower is tall – in solid rock that has been isolated from the surface for more than 400 million years. An independent review panel concluded in 2015, after record-long hearings, that the DGR will protect the Great Lakes and the environment, the Bruce site is appropriate, and the facility should be built “now rather than later.”

Currently, OPG is developing a response to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who asked in 2017 that OPG update its cumulative affects analysis for the Environmental Assessment with information on the DGR’s impact on the physical and cultural heritage of Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON). That analysis, the minister said, must be informed by the result of SON’s community process. OPG, which committed in 2013 that it would not build the DGR without SON support, remains engaged in respectful dialogue with SON, and believes both sides are making good progress toward mutual understanding.

Around the world, DGRs are considered a scientifically sound solution for nuclear waste. OPG maintains that a DGR at the Bruce site is the right thing to do, for future generations.

Honouring veterans:  OPG placed wreaths and participated in local Remembrance Day memorial services this past weekend, including in Port Elgin, Tiverton and Kincardine. Observances also occurred on Nov. 11 at all OPG facilities, including a period of silence and reflection at the Western Waste Management Facility. OPG CEO Jeff Lyash asked our staff to remember Canada’s servicemen and women who have “demonstrated their dedication and selflessness” to defend freedom and safeguard international peace. He also acknowledged OPG employees who serve in the Canadian Forces as Regular Forces or Primary Reserves: “You make the company proud, and our thoughts are always with you when you are away from home.”

  OPG at Port Elgin’s Santa Parade                            2017

Deck the truck:   Volunteer elves at the Western Waste Management Facility are about to start cobbling OPG’s float for three local Santa Claus parades, occurring Nov. 24 in Port Elgin, Nov. 30 in Southampton and Dec. 1 in Kincardine. Check your local municipal website for parade routes and times – and watch for the OPG truck, which could possibly be mistaken for a wayfaring winter wonderland.

Around Ontario:

  • Highest safety ratings:  The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has once again awarded OPG’s Darlington and Pickering nuclear stations its highest safety rating of “Fully Satisfactory.” This is the ninth consecutive year for Darlington, and third year in a row for Pickering, in achieving the highest possible safety rating. “Excellence in nuclear operations remains our focus at Ontario Power Generation,” said Sean Granville, OPG’s Chief Nuclear Officer. “We remain committed to providing clean energy while protecting the public, the environment and our staff.”
  • Shining attraction: If you’re in Niagara Falls this holiday season, don’t miss the Winter Festival of Lights. OPG proudly presents Canada’s foremost illumination festival, continuing from now till January 31. The event, founded in 1982, attracts over 1.5 million visitors a year.