Recommendation 5: Design of facilities should prioritize the protection of water.

The safety of the various technical options can be demonstrated from a technical standpoint for a variety of locations, including near bodies of water. What information would be helpful to you to feel confident in the safety of the facilities?

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BlairPBromley's avatar
Sep 26, 2022 - 16:36

• Any Strategy for Radioactive Waste in Canada should make provisions and allowances for reprocessing and recycling to extract all the heavy elements and actinides (isotopes of Th, Pa, U, Np, Pu, Am, etc.) found in spent nuclear fuel or partially reprocessed nuclear fuel and targets, for subsequent recycling and reuse as new fuel for different reactor technologies (SMRs, Gen-IV, and Gen-III/Gen-III+ reactors).

• Thus, if any spent nuclear fuel is placed in a deep geological repository (DGR), then at the very least, it should be made to be easily retrievable.

• Ideally, all heavy elements / actinides found in spent fuel should be extracted and recycled for transmutation and destruction.

• Placing actinides in a Deep Bore Hole or DGR is not the best long-term strategy.

• However, placing fission products in Deep Bore Holes and/or a DGR is a reasonable strategy.

• However, provisions should also be made for extracting long-lived fission products (LLFPs) and long-lived activation products (LLAPs) for isolation and potential destruction/transmutation in targets placed in different reactor technologies, or using accelerator-based neutron sources.

• Ultimately, the only radioactive items that should be placed in Deep Bore Holes or a DGR are intermediate-life fission products and activation products (ILFPs / ILAPs) that have a half life of less than 100 years. Within 10 half lifes (~1000 years), then most of these ILFPs/ILAPs will have decayed by 3 or more orders of magnitude, with a radiotoxicity that is far below that of natural uranium ore.

• By implementing full recycling of actinides, and implementing partitioning and transmutation of LLFPs and LLAPs, it will enhance the protection of the public and the environment, and thus it will help build public confidence, assurance and support, and thus will improve public “buy-in” and and “social license” to continue using nuclear energy and radioactive sources.

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Anonymous's avatar
Oct 1, 2022 - 10:08

Although the storage site is an obvious consideration. Mitigating the potential of release to the environment especially waterways during transportation is essential. Waterways in some areas of the province are so interconnected that the potential for far reaching environmental impacts can be regional, interprovincial and international.

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Advocate's avatar
Oct 6, 2022 - 16:18

It is naturally assumed, and required by regulation, that the design and performance of such facilities fully protects water. The challenge has been and always will be convincing some that such protections are assured. Waste owners have long struggled with providing intuitive and compelling assurances that a facility will have no impact on waterways. When carefully put in plain terms, most people are capable of understanding the science behind these assurances. These communications are key to resolving anxiety around protection of water. However, science skepticism and political grandstanding are unfortunately on the rise and those individuals or groups will always seek to grow doubt among all who will listen. Combating these false assertions rapidly and head-on is the key to maintaining and growing support that the water is indeed protected. This will take much time and effort and also requires the use of bold language that often makes engineers uncomfortable. Using terms like improbable or unlikely will never inspire confidence. Using probabilities is even worse, a one in a million chance just makes everyone picture that one. Be bold, quick, concise and most of all be right.

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