Our guest speaker for July was Bradley Hammond, the son of club member Peter Hammond who is a Queen’s University graduate and is the senior communications manager for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. The subject of his presentation was Canada’s Plan for Used Nuclear Fuel.
Bradley described the plan, called Adaptive Phased Management and how it evolved during discussions with many Canadians and specialists to be implemented in a suitable area with a willing host and with the input of surrounding communities including First Nation and Metis.
He pointed out that there are just over 2.6 million used fuel bundles which are now stored at the sites where there are produced in facilities licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization or NWMO is required to manage all used nu-clear fuel produced in Canada.
Bradley said that the site selection process began in 2010 by seeking interested communities. He added that the selection process may take about 15 years followed by a 10-year period to prepare and construct the facility. Actual placement operations will occur over a further 40 years.
NWMO is seeking a deep geological repository to be constructed at a depth of approximately 500 metres with the used fuel enclosed in a multiple-barrier system. An extensive environmental monitoring system will be put in place to operate throughout the life time of the facility.
Bradley said that the whole process will also create up to 2,800 direct and indirect jobs during the site preparation and construction phase and about 2,400 jobs per year during operations.
During a question and answer period, Hammond said that the transportation of liquid nu-clear waste from Chalk River to a disposal site in South Carolina which has been in the news recently is not regulated by the NWMO but he added that he has full confidence that strict regulations make the process as safe as possible.