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«IAEA-TECDOC-1553 Low and Intermediate Level Waste Repositories: Socioeconomic Aspects and Public Involvement Proceedings of a workshop held in ...»

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The Council’s decision to support the DGR as its preferred option was based on the following

key points:

⎯ It provided the highest level of safety of any option, ⎯ There would be a rigorous environmental assessment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulatory process would provide opportunities for public input before construction is approved, ⎯ The DGR would permanently isolate the low and intermediate level waste stream, much of which is already stored on site, ⎯ It provides significant economic benefit to the residents of the municipality, and ⎯ No high-level waste or used nuclear fuel would be allowed in the facility.

Kincardine’s next step was to seek OPG approval and negotiate an agreement.


An illustration of the proposed repository concept is shown in Figure 1. It is composed of a series of vaults located at a depth of between 500 and 700 m in Ordovician age (~ 450M years old) limestone overlain by a 200 m “cap” of Ordovician shale. It is expected that the upcoming site geotechnical characterization investigations will show that both the limestone and shale formations are homogeneous in nature, have wide lateral extent and are of very low permeability such that contaminant transport would be controlled by diffusion (i.e., extremely slow).

Fig. 1. Proposed Deep Geologic Repository for L&ILW on Bruce Nuclear Site.

5. THE HOSTING AGREEMENT The Hosting Agreement was negotiated by a steering committee with representatives of OPG and Kincardine during the period from May to October 2004. The agreement is based on the implementation of the DGR at the WWMF.

The agreement included provisions for a community consultation exercise, allowing local residents an opportunity to express their endorsement/rejection/neutrality regarding Council’s decision to support the DGR. A positive mandate from the community was required in order for the agreement to take effect.

The agreement doesn’t affect OPG’s right to pursue its existing waste management activities at the WWMF.

The Agreement includes payments to Kincardine and four adjacent municipalities, a property value protection plan, and provision of new jobs in the community among its features. The agreement does not include used nuclear fuel (high level waste).


In October 2004, immediately following the signing of the Hosting Agreement, a storefront Community Consultation Centre was opened in the downtown core of the Municipality. The storefront, staffed by the Municipal Council and OPG representatives, provided an opportunity for the local residents to obtain information about the DGR proposal, and to provide feedback to the Municipality and to OPG and to discuss any issues and questions that they had.

Weekly newspaper ads began at this time. They featured specialists such as geoscientists, a public health official, EA consultant, and Kincardine Mayor - all in support of the proposal.

Presentations to Kincardine groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Service Clubs, Bruce Hydro Retirees, Senior’s Club, Women’s Institutes and Sororities were scheduled as well.

Briefings continued to be provided to key stakeholders and Councils of the surrounding municipalities. Briefings were also provided to groups that at times have been critical of our WWMF operations, such as local Beach Associations.

A DGR project newsletter was mailed to residents in November, and in December the WWMF Neighbours newsletter carried a feature story on the DGR. In late December and early January, DGR booklets were mailed to all Kincardine residents. The mailing was timed to coincide with the start of the community polling process.


Following the three-month consultation period, a telephone poll of permanent and seasonal residents was conducted by Kincardine to gauge community acceptance of the proposed facility. A total of 72% of eligible residents participated in the survey. Of those, 60% voted YES, 22% voted NO, 13% were NEUTRAL and 5% voted DON’T KNOW or refused to participate.


Following the positive community poll in Kincardine, OPG shifted its communication focus to surrounding municipalities. OPG had committed to these communities to hold similar Storefront Information sessions as had been held in Kincardine. OPG conducted a series of three day mini-storefront information sessions in each of the municipalities of Saugeen Shores, Brockton, Huron-Kinloss and Arran-Elderslie during April and May 2005. At these sessions, response to the DGR proposal was very positive. There was little concern expressed by the small number of people in attendance and the majority were genuinely interested in learning more about the DGR proposal. They tended to stay for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes and appeared to leave the information session feeling very comfortable with OPG’s plans. Following each of the mini-storefront sessions DGR booklets were mailed to all residents of the municipality.

DGR Open Houses were also held in May in the two local First Nations communities of Saugeen and Nawash. Hosting of the two sessions had been a commitment agreed to by OPG and First Nations in the ongoing Roundtable Discussions between the two parties. There was not a large turnout at the Open Houses but many questions were raised. OPG was encouraged to continue to hold these information meetings for the Bands.

In the summer, in an effort to reach seasonal residents, OPG hosted a series of three Open Houses in the shoreline cottage communities south and north of the Bruce site. Again, a small number of people attended the sessions. A handful of shoreline residents expressed concern however, the majority of attendees indicated support for the DGR proposal.


Some of the specific practices and activities that contributed to the success of the

communications and the positive community poll results are listed below:

⎯ Information used for public communication was provided to staff working at the Bruce nuclear site allowing them to be ambassadors for the proposed project with their neighbours ⎯ Bruce hydro retirees were given information at an early stage and acted as ambassadors of the proposal ⎯ Special attention was given to providing briefings and information to community leaders ⎯ Special attention was given to briefing the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Environment ⎯ Special attention was given to briefing Union officials ⎯ Where possible, communication efforts were a joint effort by Kincardine and OPG ⎯ The Community Consultation Centre (a storefront office on main street Kincardine) provided an opportunity for the public to obtain information at their convenience ⎯ The importance of surrounding communities was recognized in communication efforts.

⎯ DGR booklets were mailed to all residents ⎯ Local media were briefed early in the process and at critical junctures ⎯ The Hosting Agreement Media Announcement demonstrated/showcased support from surrounding municipalities and MP and MPP ⎯ Newspaper advertisements quoting respected specialists were used effectively ⎯ Specific community questions and concerns were addressed promptly and directly ⎯ Communications staff had long histories of living in the local area ⎯ Visits made with Council members to international repositories provided an opportunity for them to meet with officials of existing host communities ⎯ Public concerns about the polling process were addressed


As OPG moves into the regulatory phase of the project and begins the Environmental Assessment, plans to significantly gear up communications are underway. This planned increase will be on top of an already intense existing communication programme at the

WWMF. Additional activities planned for 2006 include:

⎯ DGR Mobile Exhibit ⎯ DGR video ⎯ Attendance at more Community Events ⎯ DGR Speakers Bureau, to significantly increase speaking engagements ⎯ Increase local OPG sponsorships.

Further information on OPG’s Deep Geologic Repository Project can be found at www.opg.com/dgr.

–  –  –

The assistance of T. Squire, Director Public Affairs, and F. King, Director Nuclear Waste Engineering and Technology, Nuclear Waste Management at Ontario Power Generation, in preparing this paper is gratefully acknowledged.

–  –  –

[1] SQUIRE, T., BARKER, D., The Review of Options for Long term Management of OPG’s Low and Intermediate Level Waste.

[2] CASTELLAN, A.G., BARKER, D., The OPG/Kincardine Hosting Agreement for a Deep Geologic Repository of OPG’s Low and Intermediate Level Waste.

[3] HEYSTEE, R.J., JENSEN, M.R., Proposed Deep Geologic Repository of Low and Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste at the Bruce Nuclear Site.

[4] KING, F., Canadian Experience in Communicating the Safety of Radioactive Waste Disposal.

Selected activities related to public acceptance of operating repositories in the Czech Republic J. Faltejsek, L. Steinerová RAWRA, Czech Republic Abstract RAWRA operates three repositories in different locations. Each of these locations has its own specific needs. Incentives are provided based on the governmental decision: each municipality on whose territory a repository is operating can apply for grant aid up to a limit set by the Government Resolution. To promote public interest a number of information facilities have been built in the affected municipalities, including those considered as a hosts for a geological repository. The visitor centres were also opened at RAWRA headquarters (1999) in Prague and directly at the Richard repository in 2001. The most of customers are recruited from schools, but also individual visitors are seeking information about the radioactive waste management issues. Information function is accompanied by other activities such as specialised training for local fire brigades in emergency activities regarding transportation of radioactive materials.


The Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) was established on 1 June 1997 as a result of the Decision of the Minister of Industry and Trade. According to the Czech Atomic Act, the RAWRA is the only organization that can dispose radioactive waste in the Czech Republic.

All radioactive waste repositories in the Czech Republic which are in operation, i.e. the repositories Dukovany, Richard near Litoměřice and Bratrstvi in Jachymov, were put into state ownership on 1 January 2000. The repositories, which had been operated by private operators, have been transferred under the management of the state organization (RAWRA).

RAWRA is now responsible for the safe operation of all repositories. These repositories were commissioned in 1965 (Richard in Litoměřice), 1975 (Bratrství in Jáchymov) and 1995 (Dukovany).

These repositories have different disposal concepts, accept different type of wastes and have received different requests from the local public. People in all three localities asked for financial support. RAWRA as the state organization has strictly limited capabilities to provide incentives. RAWRA can provide some grant aid to the municipalities in the territories where the repositories are located. However, the grant value is set by a government resolution.

Jáchymov is the municipality near the repository Bratrství which has disposed of waste containing naturally occurring radioactive materials. This area has had a long tradition of exploiting ionizing radiation. Many uranium mines were located in this area (also the material from which M. Curie separated radium originated from this location). Many houses are contaminated by radon emanation. Radon is used as main treatment in spa activities.

On the contrary, repository Richard has mainly accepted institutional wastes for disposal and is situated near to the town of Litoměřice. Repository Richard has been in operation for more than 40 years. In 2001RAWRA opened an information centre at the facility. Students are the major visitors to the Centre. A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of the site.

During World War II the Germans converted part of the then limestone mine into an underground factory. Confidence building, primarily based on reporting to the municipality, is accompanied by other activities such as special training for local fire brigades in case of emergency concerning vehicles transporting radioactive materials.

The newest repository Dukovany is used mainly for disposal of operational wastes from Czech Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) at Dukovany and Temelín. The location of the repository within the guarded area of NPP Dukovany makes it difficult to distinguish RAWRA as being an independent entity from the NPP´s operator. The repository (together with approx. half of the NPP area) is situated on the territory of the Rouchovany municipality. While the NPP supports all municipalities in its surroundings, RAWRA is only entitled to support the Rouchovany one. A small information centre regarding radioactive waste management has been opened in the local public library. Three computers in the centre provide connection to internet; this has been well accepted as only limited access to internet was available in the Rouchovany area in the past years. A similar approach is now being used for information centres in the localities selected for planned research for the deep geological repository siting.


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