Electricity Daily, Vol. 24, Issue 031, No. 0005
February 15, 2005
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission recently applauded the environmental performance of a radioactive waste incinerator at Ontario Power Generation Inc.’s Bruce nuclear park.
Since 1977 Bruce has been one of OPG’s volume reduction options for Ontario “low- and intermediate-level” radioactive waste. The Bruce nuclear park features the four-unit Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear generating stations as well as OPG’s Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF). Radwaste is transported from across the 20-reactor Ontario nuclear power program to the park.
In 2004, CNSC reported that operations at the Bruce incinerator “do not result in significant effects on the atmospheric environment.” CNSC staff named a Bruce Power report as their source of technical data on radionuclide emissions from the incinerator and argued that Bruce Power’s assessment of doses to the public from operation of the nuclear park proved that the radionuclides released from the park to air and water “could result in an effective dose to the most critical member of the public” which is considered a small fraction of the public dose limit.
However, Norm Rubin, director of nuclear research and senior policy analyst at Energy Probe, countered that the incinerator dose alone, which is only a fraction of total doses from the Bruce generating stations, carries an estimated risk of fatal cancer several times higher than would be tolerated from conventional pollutants. Rubin said, “Very few Canadians would prefer to suffer cancer from nuclear pollution rather than from conventional chemical pollution. We believe therefore that this double standard is mistaken and absurd in practice and unsustainable in a democracy.”