Coxworth, Ann

I'm impressed with the way this task is being tackled. It seems that the options are being approached honestly without the pressure of a presumed "right answer". It has been important that you have spent a lot of time and energy on ensuring that the right questions are being asked, and that the values on which decisions will be based have been defined in a broad, participatory process.

As a participant in the Scenarios project, I am pleased to note the way in which the assessment team used our work. Their analysis (Sec. 6.3) of the impact of differing futures on the effectiveness of different management options seems sound. I would suggest that the message here is that the responsible thing is to assume the worst in terms of future scenarios. This leads me toward a variation of the DGR approach - i.e. one in which the final closure of the repository is not projected to take place within the predictable future. This would permit on-going monitoring, flexibility and a higher degree of security than would above-ground or shallow storage. My main concern with the original, AECL deep-disposal concept was the inability to monitor for leakage once the vault is closed. I assume it would be possible to create a temporary closure system, very resistant to intrusion but still allowing for monitoring, a system which could at some future, undefined stage be replaced with permanent closure if this were deemed appropriate. The big issue in all such strategies that involve action by future generations will be the perpetuation of knowledge through extremely long time periods. A process for "remembering" will be a big challenge.

Best wishes for your on-going work,


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