Firm eyes Labrador for used nuke site

Rob Antle
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A Quebec-based firm is sounding out potential interest in Lab-rador to house a storage site for spent fuel from nuclear reactors.

"If on the Labrador side, there are communities interested in discussing a $20-billion project, we're in business," Guy Arbour of Securad Inc. told The Telegram Wednesday.

A Quebec-based firm is sounding out potential interest in Lab-rador to house a storage site for spent fuel from nuclear reactors.

"If on the Labrador side, there are communities interested in discussing a $20-billion project, we're in business," Guy Arbour of Securad Inc. told The Telegram Wednesday.

The concept is not a new one, although Securad's previous discussions were with communities on Quebec's North Shore, across the Labrador border.

Several years ago, the company was in talks with local mayors on the issue, Arbour said.

But Securad ultimately shelved its plans due to a lack of cash needed to launch a pricey public-information campaign in the area.

"At the end, we didn't have the money to do that, frankly," Arbour said. "We're just a bunch of engineers and scientists, and we believe this makes very good sense, in terms of the environment. We're not talking about nuclear dumps, nothing (of the) such; we're talking about management of recyclable material."

Securad has been around for 15 years. Arbour said the company initially made contact with Labrador officials in the mid-1990s, but moved on to Quebec when politicians there expressed an interest in the potential project.

But that interest appears to have waned.

Claude BÉchard, Quebec's natural resources minister, told the newspaper Le Devoir this week that the government is opposed to the storage of nuclear waste on Quebec's North Shore.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is developing a long-term plan to select a site for the safe and secure management of Canada's used nuclear fuel.

Public information sessions on the issue are planned for this year in Canada's four nuclear provinces - Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, which have reactors, and Saskatchewan, which produces the uranium used to power them.

NWMO spokesman Michael Kri-zanc said the national plan ultimately calls for spent nuclear fuel to be stored deep underground, in a suitable rock formation such as the Canadian Shield or sedimentary rock.

The process to pick that site won't begin until 2010 at the earliest, and won't conclude any time soon.

"We anticipate it's going to take us eight to 10 years to find an informed and willing community to host the project," Krizanc said.

Spent fuel is currently managed at the nuclear plants where it is produced - in wet storage for seven to 10 years to reduce heat and radioactivity, then in dry storage. "It's all safely contained and managed at the reactor sites," Krizanc said.

The permanent storage site will allow future generations to retrieve the used nuclear fuel down the road, should its use be feasible in decades to come.

NWMO puts the value of the eventual national infrastructure project at $16- to $24-billion. It will involve the development of the repository and the creation of a centre of expertise, and will directly employ hundreds of people for decades.

Nuclear fuel waste owners have established trust funds so the money will be there when it is needed to pay for the project, Krizanc noted.

Meanwhile, Arbour downplayed questions about how hard a sell Securad's plan will be, given the negative connotations associated with nuclear waste.

Securad has not been in contact recently with anyone in Newfoundland and Labrador, he noted. And without any backing here, Arbour acknowledged the company's plans are DOA.

"But again there, we need some local support. Without local support, we're dead."

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Nuclear Waste Management Organization, Canadian Shield

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, North Shore Canada Ontario New Brunswick Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    NO!!

    Don't take anyones waste, then alone Nuclear waste.

    Let them put it somewhere else, like the places where people are getting their electricity by nuclear power plants.

  • Jeff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Don't we have enough Nuclear waste already in Argentia? :)

  • Labradorian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    My vote is a firm NO.

  • Labradorian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Absolutley unacceptable, and unbelievable, tell Quebec to dump it in thier own backyard.

  • Funky
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    BRING IT ON!!!!!!

  • Crnrboy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Anywhere but Here!! You have to be kidding me, nuclear waste in Labrador or on the island. Do you want 3 headed children? Let them keep it, not enough money in the world to take that heat. Enough said.

  • Georges
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    At least it is a resource and employment. Not like the fishery, timber, sealing or anything else in the history of the province has been able to last as long as this will. Heck, ya all could not even keep a train service running, what's up wit dat?!?

    Time people get off EI and welfare and take what is tossed at em`.

    You may not like it, but I would like to see someone come up with a better way to generate revune.

  • Gary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Surely the people of Labrador aren't that short sighted that they would sell their future and that of their children for the few pieces of silver that would come from storing nuclear wastes.

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Just dump it in Sandy Pond with the rest of the crap. Great another industry looking to defecate in our province.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Quebec said no to a $24-billion dollar project. 'Nuff said.

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Biggest problem with underground storage, or even just shipping the cake from mine to reactor, is getting it there. No matter what regulations and precautions, we continue to see things like the creosote dumped in a lake in BC due to a derailment, planes crash, boats sink. Thus as far as I'm concerned move it as little as possible. So shipping it to the island, as one commentator mentioned, would be out for one.

    But in any regard that waste needs to be stored in the province of use. Don't want it here at all. Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan have enough Canadian Shield. Store it there. There are many deep mines up that way as well that might be appropriate for storage, rather than a new Sandy Pond green site.

  • Huh!
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Huh!

    But didn't the locals in Labrador pooh pooh uranium mining in Labrador? Are these same people going to give a thumbs up to this project?

  • T
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Who in their right mind would let someone come in and dump nuclear waste on the pristine and beautiful Labrador? Someone has completely lost their mind if they think that our people will just sit around and let this happen. Unbelievable!

  • Joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Agreed that the best place for this stuff is deep into the ground where it can't affect our ecosystem. But not sure I want it in our backyard. What if a spill was to occur during transportation? The only thing I want glowing in Labrador is the northern lights, not our trees and caribou.

  • ³
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Would you like a free 99 year lease on that one too ? Pick up your own garbage, don't toss it in my back yard. Now, where did they get this idea ? Have they learned to speak Portugese (like in Brazil - as in ValeInco) ? Who really knows what surprises may lay ahead for us. I wouldn't take the chance. If you use it, you bury it in your backyard. This would be a bigger fiasco than ValeInco's promise of massive employment opportunities with an equally devastating threat to the environment.

  • Lloyd
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    M from NL writes: It should be up to the people who live in Labrador as they are the ones who would have to live with potential health and environmental risks.......If it would be safe and the people of Labrador want this in their backyard then I would hope there would be a priority on hiring Lbradorians. unquote

    Interesting, M, interesting. Do you know that many people in Labrador have been crying out to be able to KEEP some of THEIR resources IN Labrador so that they could benefit from them? So far that hasn't worked out too well and with no plans from Williams Government to allow them any Hydro from their resource. Would you speak to him, please, in the manner you indicate above?

    No doubt the issue of nuclear waste is pretty serious. I think it's a very slippery slope when or if you mine uranium (or other) where is the moral or other grounds for refusal to deal with waste? Both mining, processing, using AND storage needs to be approached very carefully.
    Why not Newfoundland?

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    For most of my life I would have immediately responded NO . However, I am now more positive toward the idea. Radiation would be absorbed in the ground except for some atomic isotopes, such as radon, which may be produced. Radon occurs naturally in parts of NL where there is uranium in the rock formations.

    An alternative may be a mountain range in South Eastern Newfoundland which could be more accessible for transportation, rather than interior Labrador.

    Many NL residences would question if a Quebec Co. could produce a good business plan to beneficial NL. Churchill Falls and confidence immediately come to mind.

  • Seamus
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Wow Georges Left Over's, I can see why you are afraid to leave your real name or location with comments like that. Take what we're given and be happy with that? Isn't that how Newfoundland got in trouble in the first place? Can anyone say Churchill Falls!

  • M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    It should be up to the people who live in Labrador as they are the ones who would have to live with potential health and environmental risks. Also I'd like to see information from a dissinterested party advising of the safety of such a thing. The idea would make me nervous based on my conceptions of nuclear waste. If it would be safe and the people of Labrador want this in their backyard then I would hope there would be a priority on hiring Lbradorians.

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    NO!!

    Don't take anyones waste, then alone Nuclear waste.

    Let them put it somewhere else, like the places where people are getting their electricity by nuclear power plants.

  • Jeff
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Don't we have enough Nuclear waste already in Argentia? :)

  • Labradorian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    My vote is a firm NO.

  • Labradorian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Absolutley unacceptable, and unbelievable, tell Quebec to dump it in thier own backyard.

  • Funky
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    BRING IT ON!!!!!!

  • Crnrboy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Anywhere but Here!! You have to be kidding me, nuclear waste in Labrador or on the island. Do you want 3 headed children? Let them keep it, not enough money in the world to take that heat. Enough said.

  • Georges
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    At least it is a resource and employment. Not like the fishery, timber, sealing or anything else in the history of the province has been able to last as long as this will. Heck, ya all could not even keep a train service running, what's up wit dat?!?

    Time people get off EI and welfare and take what is tossed at em`.

    You may not like it, but I would like to see someone come up with a better way to generate revune.

  • Gary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Surely the people of Labrador aren't that short sighted that they would sell their future and that of their children for the few pieces of silver that would come from storing nuclear wastes.

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Just dump it in Sandy Pond with the rest of the crap. Great another industry looking to defecate in our province.

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Quebec said no to a $24-billion dollar project. 'Nuff said.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Biggest problem with underground storage, or even just shipping the cake from mine to reactor, is getting it there. No matter what regulations and precautions, we continue to see things like the creosote dumped in a lake in BC due to a derailment, planes crash, boats sink. Thus as far as I'm concerned move it as little as possible. So shipping it to the island, as one commentator mentioned, would be out for one.

    But in any regard that waste needs to be stored in the province of use. Don't want it here at all. Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan have enough Canadian Shield. Store it there. There are many deep mines up that way as well that might be appropriate for storage, rather than a new Sandy Pond green site.

  • Huh!
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Huh!

    But didn't the locals in Labrador pooh pooh uranium mining in Labrador? Are these same people going to give a thumbs up to this project?

  • T
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Who in their right mind would let someone come in and dump nuclear waste on the pristine and beautiful Labrador? Someone has completely lost their mind if they think that our people will just sit around and let this happen. Unbelievable!

  • Joey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Agreed that the best place for this stuff is deep into the ground where it can't affect our ecosystem. But not sure I want it in our backyard. What if a spill was to occur during transportation? The only thing I want glowing in Labrador is the northern lights, not our trees and caribou.

  • ³
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Would you like a free 99 year lease on that one too ? Pick up your own garbage, don't toss it in my back yard. Now, where did they get this idea ? Have they learned to speak Portugese (like in Brazil - as in ValeInco) ? Who really knows what surprises may lay ahead for us. I wouldn't take the chance. If you use it, you bury it in your backyard. This would be a bigger fiasco than ValeInco's promise of massive employment opportunities with an equally devastating threat to the environment.

  • Lloyd
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    M from NL writes: It should be up to the people who live in Labrador as they are the ones who would have to live with potential health and environmental risks.......If it would be safe and the people of Labrador want this in their backyard then I would hope there would be a priority on hiring Lbradorians. unquote

    Interesting, M, interesting. Do you know that many people in Labrador have been crying out to be able to KEEP some of THEIR resources IN Labrador so that they could benefit from them? So far that hasn't worked out too well and with no plans from Williams Government to allow them any Hydro from their resource. Would you speak to him, please, in the manner you indicate above?

    No doubt the issue of nuclear waste is pretty serious. I think it's a very slippery slope when or if you mine uranium (or other) where is the moral or other grounds for refusal to deal with waste? Both mining, processing, using AND storage needs to be approached very carefully.
    Why not Newfoundland?

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    For most of my life I would have immediately responded NO . However, I am now more positive toward the idea. Radiation would be absorbed in the ground except for some atomic isotopes, such as radon, which may be produced. Radon occurs naturally in parts of NL where there is uranium in the rock formations.

    An alternative may be a mountain range in South Eastern Newfoundland which could be more accessible for transportation, rather than interior Labrador.

    Many NL residences would question if a Quebec Co. could produce a good business plan to beneficial NL. Churchill Falls and confidence immediately come to mind.

  • Seamus
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Wow Georges Left Over's, I can see why you are afraid to leave your real name or location with comments like that. Take what we're given and be happy with that? Isn't that how Newfoundland got in trouble in the first place? Can anyone say Churchill Falls!