Here in Canada we are threatened with the “in-situ decommissioning” [“entombment”] of two old nuclear reactors that have both been shut down for several decades.

These two reactors are both owned by the federal government, not by any utility company — the WR-1 reactor on the Winnipeg River in Manitoba, and the NPD reactor (NPD = Nuclear Power Demonstration) on the Ottawa River about 250 km upstream from the Nation’s Capital, Ottawa. These reactors have already been defueled and drained of their coolant, and the solid dry radioactive structures are now ready for decommissioning.

Until a few years ago, it was always understood that the structures of defunct reactors would be carefully dismantled, the radioactive rubble would be packaged and transported offsite for eventual emplacement in a suitable waste repository, and the site would be returned to “green field” status.

But now the decommissioning enterprise has been placed in the hands of a consortium of multinational corporations, and they — using public money — have radically altered the plan.  They want to just drop all the radioactive debris into the sub-basements of the reactor buildings and then flood those underground structures with Portland cement, creating a subterranean cement mausoleum (I call it a radioactive outhouse) for eternity.

Item 2 below is a brief that I wrote on behalf of CCNR regarding the NPD entombment project.  If you read pages 9-11 of the “Radioactive Outhouse” you will see the nub of our objection to this “entombment” option.

Reactors must be built close to water for cooling purposes.  Radioactive waste should be as far away from water as possible.  Since entombment uses the same site for both the reactor and its waste, it is a completely unscientific and irresponsible proposition.  It turns the reactor site into a radioactive waste disposal site, despite the fact that it was never intended for that and never qualified for that.

I have also included an article (item 1 below) I wrote last week on this subject (i.e. concerning the NPD reactor).

Gordon Edwards.

1. Article – Nuclear Waste Dump on the Ottawa River

2. The Radioactive Outhouse (NPD reactor on the Ottawa River)