Franta, Jaro

This submission is the English version of an earlier post to the NWMO by Gilles Sabourin -- see,352,86,21,1,Documents

Greetings !

Having read your document "Understanding the Choices," I have the following comments :

1. On page 26, it says that "....radiation exposure risk would be significant initially, with no certainty that the risk reduces over time."

The last part of this sentence is patently false. We know with complete certainty that the risk reduces over time, as is in fact stated in several instances within the document, for example p. 59, "The radioactivity of nuclear fuel wastes will continue to decay, but isotopes.... will remain radioactive and pose potential, although declining, risks."

It is regrettable, in my opinion, that the NWMO neglects to devote adequate attention to providing accurate information to the Canadian public, particularly on the uniquely distinguishing feature of nuclear waste management : that the passage of time reduces radiation levels and consequently danger levels.

2. On page 29, it says that "Reprocessing poses an additional risk, in that enriched uranium could fall into the wrong hands and could be used for the development of weapons." Perhaps the author intended to say depleted uranium or plutonium ? Since Canadian reactors use only natural uranium, there is no possibility whatsoever of obtaining enriched uranium from an eventual reprocessing of spent fuel.

3. Note 1 below Figure 4-1 states that "Extended monitoring and building refurbishment/ repackaging activities continue in perpetuity, based on a 300-year cycle," which is wrong. It is not required in perpetuity. Eventually the level of penetrating radiation of spent fuel decreases below the level emitted by natural rock. At that point it shall be no more necessary to safeguard spent nuclear fuel, than it is to safeguard rocks today. It would be more accurate to say "for an indeterminate period," as stated elsewhere in the document.

4. In a more general sense, I find that the evaluation of options is grossly deficient, in that it only considers management of spent fuel produced by existing reactors during their expected lifetimes. If Canada continues to exploit nuclear energy in the medium-to-long term, as is likely, then the evaluation of spent fuel management options will be very different from that in the document. In my opinion, the NWMO must consider the likelihood that nuclear energy will be exploited in Canada long into the future, and evaluate its recommendation for long-term spent fuel management accordingly. For instance, as the reserves of uranium ore gradually become depleted through mining, the incentives for spent fuel reprocessing will grow.

Thank you.

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