How the DGR Project Began
For more than 40 years OPG's Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) has safely stored low and intermediate level waste from the Bruce, Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations on an interim basis. In 2001, the Municipality of Kincardine approached OPG to jointly look at developing options for a long-term disposal facility for low and intermediate level waste at the Bruce nuclear site.
An Independent Assessment Study identified three options deemed to be technically feasible and capable of safely storing the waste:
- A deep geologic repository (DGR)
- An enhanced processing, treatment and long-term storage, and
- A covered above-ground concrete vault.
In 2004, the Municipality of Kincardine - by resolution - endorsed moving forward with the DGR because of its higher safety margins.
Memorandum of Understanding
Following the Municipality of Kincardine’s resolution, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between OPG and the Municipality of Kincardine set out the terms to develop a plan for the long-term management of low and intermediate level waste at the Western Waste Management Facility located on the Bruce site. This MOU was signed in April 2002.
Kincardine Endorses DGR
Following a review of the Independent Assessment Study Report, Kincardine Council passed a resolution on April 21, 2004 (Kincardine Council #2004-232) to: "endorse the opinion of the Nuclear Waste Steering Committee and select the "Deep Rock Vault" option as the preferred course of study in regards to the management of low and intermediate level radioactive waste" because it had the highest margin of safety and is consistent with best international practice. The surrounding municipalities of Saugeen Shores, Brockton, Arran-Elderslie, and Huron-Kinloss also expressed support for the Deep Geologic Repository proposal.
The Kincardine Council indicated they preferred the Deep Geologic Repository because:
- It provides the highest level of safety of any option.
- There will be a rigorous environmental assessment and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulatory process The deep geologic repository will permanently isolate the low and intermediate level waste stream, much of which is already stored on site.
- No high level waste or used nuclear fuel would be allowed.
Hosting agreements have been used in a number of jurisdictions in Canada and internationally for communities which support the location of a long-term waste management facility.
The Hosting Agreement was signed on October 13, 2004. It includes the following provisions:
- OPG will design, license, construct and operate a deep geologic repository for low and intermediate level waste streams currently stored at the WWMF.
- Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Huron-Kinloss, Arran-Elderslie and Brockton will be paid over 30 years subject to achieving key milestones.
- No used fuel would be stored in the DGR.
- Kincardine Council obtains endorsement from Kincardine residents.
Kincardine Council determined that they would seek formal endorsement of the hosting agreement from Kincardine residents through a community poll. Leading up to the poll, a community education/information plan was put in place to provide all residents an opportunity to obtain information about the DGR concept and the hosting agreement. An independent company conducted the telephone poll in January and February 2005. Diligent efforts were made to contact each household, and each eligible resident, either by telephone or by mail if no telephone contact could be made. Seasonal residents were mailed a copy of the question and asked to respond by mail.
Of the 5,257 eligible households indicated in the 2001 Statistics Canada Census, 3,763 participated in the poll. This represented 6,778 individual votes. The results of the vote were:
| Don't know/Refused
Kincardine Council accepted the poll results as an indication of sufficient support to move forward with the Hosting Agreement for the DGR.