Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In response to the author of “reader delves into concerns on tritiated water and nuclear waste” letter of February 12th 2013 (Kincardine News)

Dear Editor; In response to the author of “reader delves into concerns on tritiated water and nuclear waste” letter of February 12th 2013 I feel a few counterpoints are justified. The author of the letter stumbles through a few issues and attempts to create anxiety and fear by questioning the regulatory environment that nuclear power plants and the waste management organization on the Bruce Site operate in. This genre of letter is often dressed up as some kind of environmental rescue mission when in reality the insertion of doubt, fear and anxiety is the intent and is done so with limited technical data to exacerbate the goal of generating fear at the expense of clear and concise data. The author does make some statements about the Code of Conduct within Bruce Power and OPG and that is for the companies to comment on. Further, the letter states that the incineration of waste at the WWMF is some kind of secret when it is clearly noted in publicly available information on the internet (posted by OPG). The majority of technical issues the author of the Feb 12th letter touches on are done so with little or no research. To debunk all the author’s information is not possible in a letter to the editor, but I will focus on three items; thermal environmental emissions, derived emission levels and storage of waste. The author speaks to the temperature difference between condenser cooling water inlet and outlet or more accurately known as thermal environmental emission monitoring. This temperature difference is of such high priority that if the temperature difference approaches Ministry of Environment action limits the generating units must take action up to and including shedding load. Derived emission levels are attached to all nuclear plant emissions and in the case of nuclear operators in Canada actions to mitigate emissions begin at one percent of the allowable emission limit. It is reasonable to limit my comments to refurbishment waste and low and intermediate waste and in the most highly regulated industry in the world every piece of this waste is documented and stored such that location, level of activity and level of control is known and retrievable by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission at anytime. The author of the original letter does speak to green politicians, but it is a little odd that in that context there is no doubt cast by the author on the greenhouse emitting gas plants that must be run to back up all the “so called” green alternatives. The emissions from these plants are without a doubt harmful and under the poorly named green energy act they are built instead of the prudent course of fully utilizing the first class nuclear plants in Canada and converting the already existing coal plants at Nanticoke, Lambton and Thunder Bay to be run on natural gas and biomass. Once again the anti-nuclear / pro wind lobby throws themselves into the discussion with little preparation and a desire to create anxiety instead of recognize the future as a well mixed electrical grid with new and refurbished nuclear plants, converted coal plants, hydro-electric plants and some level of renewables that does not propagate the use of natural gas or play any role in base load generation. Dave Trumble, Kincardine