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PostPosted: Aug 20, 2010 8:47 am 
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Joined: Nov 30, 2006 9:18 pm
Posts: 1939
Location: Montreal
Village wants nuclear waste;
Pinehouse goal to host storage facility for spent nuclear fuel

Saskatoon Star Phoenix, 20 August 2010
Jason Warick

Leaders from the northern Saskatchewan village of Pinehouse want the community to host a nuclear waste storage facility.

Pinehouse officials sent a letter earlier this week to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) in Toronto, declaring their intent to be considered as the future site for Canada's nuclear waste storage, a project estimated to be worth as much as $24 billion, said NWMO spokesperson Jamie Robinson. Pinehouse joins Ear Falls, Ont., as the two Canadian communities to declare their interest since NWMO began to accept letters of intent in May.

"It's a very significant, large national infrastructure, economic development project," Robinson said.

Other Canadian reserves and municipalities, including several in Saskatchewan, have made inquiries but not a formal declaration, Robinson said. The NWMO, established as a condition of federal regulations and funded by the nuclear industry, is seeking a Canadian site to store spent nuclear fuel. Construction could begin in eight to 10 years, with the facility operational in 2035, he said. They intend to select a "willing host community" and will not impose themselves without the consent of the relevant government authorities at each step of the process. Once up and running, such a facility would remain active for 50 to 60 years, he said.

For Pinehouse, the letter now triggers NWMO officials to conduct a site screening process, which could take up to 90 days. NWMO is primarily looking to see if the location "has got good rock," Robinson said.

There are several other conditions which must be met before proceeding further in the process. A site of at least 40 hectares must be available.

If the facility is built 500 metres below ground as planned, it must not interfere with any water tables, potential natural resource extraction or heritage and protected areas, Robinson said. It also can't be close to any fault lines or geologically unstable areas.

"You're basically looking for a real piece of solid, boring rock where there hasn't been any activity and you don't anticipate any activity for years," Robinson said.

Rob Norris, Minister Responsible for Uranium Development Partnership, said the provincial government has not received any official word on Pinehouse's intentions. Until, then, he can't comment on the proposal. In any case, the provincial government will withhold judgment until the process is much further along, he said.

Officials at the Pinehouse village office referred calls to Mayor Mike Natomagan, but he was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.

Pinehouse is located 400 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

PostPosted: Aug 20, 2010 12:20 pm 

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5039
They don't want nuclear waste. They just want the money, which is a lot for such a marginal risk. The waste is good, high profile, political insurance for getting the compensation...

PostPosted: Aug 20, 2010 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Nov 30, 2006 9:18 pm
Posts: 1939
Location: Montreal
Yeah, this sort of thing seems to be gaining popularity in different places....

Spanish Town Dreams of Nuclear Dump
Wall Street Journal (Online and Print)
4 August 2010
By Jonathan House And Joe Ortiz

VILLAR DE CAÑAS, Spain— Mayor José María Saiz believes he has a shot at re-energizing this dying town in central Spain. On a site just beyond its old white houses, amid fields of barley and sunflowers, he envisions building Spain's first centralized depot for nuclear waste.

"When a once-in-a-life opportunity like this comes along, you grab it," says Mr. Saiz, 45, who is also the owner of a small farming-equipment manufacturer.

Spain's decade long construction boom brought new houses, employment and prosperity to places like Villar de Cañas. Now, the country's fiscal meltdown—double-digit budget deficit, an unemployment rate of 20% and a troubled banking system—has quickly reversed all that, leaving the town's dwindling population of 450 with few prospects for growth.

Mr. Saiz's town is among eight finalists battling for the dubious privilege of storing waste from the country's eight nuclear reactors. Spain's Industry Ministry, which is set to name the winner in coming weeks, had expected to field applications from towns close to nuclear-power plants, a spokesman said.

Instead, all but three of the original 13 applications came from towns that had no local plant—but were drawn by a project that would bring €700 million ($910 million) in investment over 20 years, €7.8 million in annual direct payments and hundreds of jobs.

Town residents, in a twist on antinuclear protests, are rallying for nuclear waste. In May, Mr. Saiz led some 50 people from Villar de Cañas to Madrid to present supporting documents for the town's official bid, which boasted that 68% of its 357 registered voters supported hosting a nuclear-waste facility. In front of the Industry Ministry building, residents unfurled green and white banners to press their desire for an Almacén Temporal Centralizado: "Yes, we want the ATC in Villar de Cañas."

Resident Caridad Saez Olmo, a 70-year-old housewife, is in the minority when she says she has doubts about the proposed dump's safety. When she hung a banner from her balcony that read "We Don't Want ATC," a neighbor tore it down, she said. The mayor's office says that was because part of the banner was attached to the neighbor's house.

Others here have taken on the out-of-towners who have descended on this and other candidate towns, often bearing coffins that symbolize the "nuclear cemetery."

Nuria Saiz, the mayor's cousin and an advocate for the dump, says environmentalists from several groups tried to frighten them during a public information session in March, warning of possible accidents and deaths.

"This town is already dead!" Ms. Saiz says she told the meeting.

Villar de Cañas has seen its population dwindle from 2,000 inhabitants in the 1970s, as machines started replacing Spain's farmhands. While Spain's rural towns have generally been less hard-hit by the crisis than those along the coast or near big cities, where the country's recent building activity was most intense, the end of the building boom could represent an existential threat here.

During the second half of this decade, many newly prosperous offspring of Villar de Cañas started returning to build homes for retirement or vacations. Revenue from building permits and central government transfers surged. The local government paved dirt roads, put up housing for low-income families and built a swimming pool and playground. It put up new street lamps and restored the church's 250-year-old organ.

Five crews of five or six construction workers set up shop here. Many bought homes.

But now, budgeted 2010 revenue is down about 10% to €300,000 ($395,000) from 2009 and the regional government of the Castilla-La Mancha region is delaying payment for services the town provides on its behalf. Villar de Cañas has reined in investments and roadbuilding, canceled its summer-school program and started charging elderly residents for some of the at-home assistance program financed by the regional government.

Construction-equipment operator Miguel Millán, 47, who like most of the town's builders is unemployed, has pinned his hopes on the waste dump. "If we don't get it, I don't know what I'm going to do," he said.

Villar de Cañas has picked out a spot of agricultural land more than a mile outside town on which to erect the massive structure, which will be about 300 yards long, 85 yards wide and nearly 30 yards high. The first of its kind in Spain, it would store the country's nuclear waste for 60 years. After that, another use will have to be found for the spent fuel or another storage installation built.

Mr. Saiz said the waste dump facility alone would employ 120 people. But the project also includes plans to build two business parks, one for nuclear-energy companies and another for other types of companies. The new workers would need more services, which would create more jobs.

The facility would be most similar to one opened next to a nuclear power plant in Borssele, Netherlands, in 2003. Environmental group Greenpeace slowed construction of that facility with a legal challenge it launched in 1999 but eventually lost.

In Spain, Greenpeace says transporting waste to a centralized facility creates the possibility of accidents during transit. "We propose an urgent and progressive closure plan [of nuclear plants] to reduce the amount of nuclear waste to be managed, and we think the least-bad solution is the dry storage of waste in individual sites," said Greenpeace spokesman Carlos Bravo.

Said Mr. Saiz: "All the experts say there is no danger."

Villar de Cañas, like many of its co-competitors, faces powerful opposition in its bid from its regional government. Castilla-La Mancha President José María Barreda has said he doesn't want a waste dump in his region.

Catalonia President José Montilla has said the same, possibly tarnishing the credentials of Ascó, widely considered a front-runner in the process because it is located next to a nuclear plant and a train line.

Rafael Vidal, the 57-year-old mayor of Ascó and technical auditor at the nearby nuclear-power plant, said he was caught off guard by the opposition of the Catalonia regional chief. "The bidding criteria didn't say we needed approval of the regional governments," he said.

Mr. Vidal said the waste dump would give his town of 1,600 people the opportunity to continue developing its local nuclear industry, which could prove key if Spain follows through with current plans to decommission the Ascó power plant by 2025.

More than 1,000 people work every day at the plant, and tax revenue from the site accounts for 75% of the town's budget. "The only thing that's giving stability and creating employment in Southern Catalonia is the nuclear plant," said Mr. Vidal. "Thank goodness for that, no?"

PostPosted: Aug 20, 2010 5:11 pm 

Joined: Dec 20, 2006 7:50 pm
Posts: 280
The first of its kind in Spain, it would store the country's nuclear waste for 60 years. After that, another use will have to be found for the spent fuel or another storage installation built.

Why? Does the building fall apart in 60 years? I surely doubt that.

PostPosted: Dec 14, 2010 4:01 am 
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Joined: May 24, 2009 4:42 am
Posts: 821
Location: Calgary, Alberta
All very logical really, it's a big investment that could support a number jobs and steady income for the local government for many many years.

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