Three basic reasons for no DGR in South Bruce

This is the second letter to the editor from Mr. Zettel … to read the first, CLICK HERE
Dear Editor,

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of talking to¬†a number of¬†people¬†about the proposed DGR – those firmly in favour,¬†those just interested,¬†and those fervently opposed.¬† There are many reasons people give for not wanting a DGR in South Bruce, but it basically boils down to the following three issues.

1.¬†This will bring a lot of economic and industrial development to the area.¬† There will be road construction, a lot of heavy equipment, and a lot of trucks on the road.¬† This business will attract a lot of outsiders to our area – they will move here and build¬†houses, and expand our towns and subdivisions.¬† The DGR itself will take 250 acres of good farmland out of production, and the building of homes and associated businesses will take even more.¬† This is a nice, quiet agricultural area, and we don’t want a whole lot of industrial development.

This objection is based on sound logic Рlikely all of those things are true.  The DGR will attract a lot of new people to the area.  Some of the jobs may be occupied by our own children and grandchildren, but a lot of them will likely be taken by experts who come in from elsewhere.  If you just want South Bruce to stay the way it is now, then a DGR is a bad idea.

2.¬†There may be a “nuclear stigma” that could negatively affect our farms and land values.¬† This as well is a very real possibility.¬† A lot of people have a¬†really bad feeling about anything called “nuclear” or “radiation”, and some people have already said ‘they’ won’t buy our farm products if we have a DGR in the area. ¬†
I think this concern is less well-founded.¬† The farmers near Bruce Nuclear have been successfully producing beef, dairy, corn and soybeans for decades, right down-wind from one of the world’s largest nuclear generating facilities.¬† These farms are very prosperous, and as far as I know, they don’t have trouble marketing their products, or¬†have to¬†take lower commodity prices.¬† And¬†certainly¬†the price of land hasn’t suffered.¬† The funny thing is, detractors are¬†actually¬†increasing¬†the nuclear stigma, through their protest signs and anti-nuclear rhetoric.¬† If the DGR goes ahead – a big “if” – construction will not start for 13 years, and operation will not start for about 10 years after that.¬† By that point, I suspect people will have grown comfortable with it, and I’m hopeful that any remaining stigma will not negatively affect agricultural markets.¬†

 3. It will poison our water.  This is the trump card that gets people motivated to oppose the DGR, and in my informed opinion, this is completely and utterly unfounded. 

I agree 100% that “We have to protect our water.” ¬†If the DGR has any reasonable chance to pollute the water with nuclear waste, it must not be built, and it won’t be.¬† Why? Because the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, a formidable government watchdog with sharp teeth, will not allow it, even if the residents of South Bruce want it.¬† I’ve read many of the reports of nay-sayers, and they generally do¬†not¬†give me pause for concern.¬† For example, there is a Finnish geologist who opposes Finland’s DGR, because he thinks there’s a chance it may be damaged by glaciation in the next ice age.¬† OK, but that’s¬†likely 20,000 years from now.¬† A team of Russian scientists believe they’ve found a worst-case scenario for the Sweden DGR, in which used fuel containers could start to corrode within the first thousand years.¬† Well, OK. Canada’s used fuel containers are designed to last 100,000 years, but suppose they start to corrode in 1000.¬† They still¬†have to corrode through an inch of corrosion-resistant copper alloy, and 4 inches of carbon steel.¬† Then there are still 500 meters of solid rock and bentonite clay between the used fuel and the groundwater.¬† Scientists like to debate whether that could cause a problem in 5000, or 10,000 or 100,000 years, or whether it would still last a million.¬† But really, once you get beyond a few thousand years, it starts to get¬†pretty academic, doesn’t it?

In summary, I respect my neighbours‚Äô¬†right to form their opinions about the DGR, and I see many sensible reasons for people to be opposed.¬† But don’t let people tell you it will poison the water.¬† In my opinion, that is simply not going to happen.

Tony Zettel,
RR5 Mildmay