In January 2012, a Joint Review Panel was appointed by the federal Minister of the Environment and the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). It was mandated to assess the environmental effects of Ontario Power Generation’s project for the development of a proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for low and intermediate level radioactive waste at the Bruce nuclear site, Ontario. The Panel was also mandated to obtain the information required for the consideration of the Licence to Prepare a Site and Construct the project.
On 6th May 2015, the Panel submitted its Environmental Assessment (EA) Report to the Canadian federal government recommending the approval of the DGR project. It contains the conclusions, rationale and recommendations on the safety of the DGR and its ability to safely protect the environment and the public. Since 2006, a Quintessa team led by Richard Little has been providing postclosure safety assessment support to the DGR project including the production of a suite of postclosure safety assessment documents (published in 2011) and the subsequent provision of technical support to Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at the DGR public hearings in 2013 and 2014.
In commenting on the postclosure safety assessment work, the EA report notes that “OPG demonstrated an understanding of the waste management system through a well-structured, well-documented, transparent, and traceable methodology. The assessment documentation provided a clear and complete record of how decisions were made and what assumptions were adopted.” The report goes on to state that the associated studies “have provided the Panel with confidence that OPG's assessment is comprehensive and satisfies the requirements set forth in CNSC Regulatory Guide G-320 and the EIS Guidelines.”
The EA Report has been presented to the federal Minister of the Environment who will consider the recommendations and make a decision.
(Image courtesy of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and Ontario Power Generation - Artist's Rendition of the Deep Geologic Repository)