OPG in Bruce County: Update – February, 2022

Fred Kuntz, Sr. Mgr., Corporate Relations and Projects | Bruce County

Have your say: Following 14 months of public engagement, Natural Resources Canada on Feb. 1 released its draft of a “modernized” federal policy framework on radioactive waste. Now NRCan is seeking written feedback on the draft Policy for Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning – and you can have your say, through April 2, 2022. At OPG, good stewardship of the by-products of clean, zero-carbon nuclear energy is the mission of the team at Nuclear Sustainability Services (NSS), whose main operations are based at the NSS-Western facility at the Bruce nuclear site in Kincardine. The NSS team is focused on innovations to minimizing waste, promoting environmentalism and embracing the Three Rs to reduce the volumes of materials for storage or disposal. While some materials are waste, others can be reused, recycled or free-released as clean. Some nuclear by-products are even precious – including life-saving medical isotopes such as Helium-3, Molybdenum-99 and Cobalt-60, used in hospitals around the world to sterilize equipment or diagnose and treat diseases, saving millions of lives.

Supporting strategy:  Related to the NRCan federal review of radioactive-waste policy, a parallel process is underway to develop a supporting strategy, by which the Canadian nuclear industry working with its regulators can implement the new policy most effectively. In 2020, NRCan delegated this integrated-strategy development to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), which this month released its second “What We Heard” report on a dozen community-engagement sessions all across Canada in 2021, including in Kincardine. You can read more about the NWMO’s strategy process at its website called A Next Step.

Parliamentary study:  Besides the aforementioned NRCan federal policy review and the NWMO strategy development, a third federal process on the same topic is underway. The House of Commons committee on Environment and Sustainable Development is conducting a study of “nuclear waste governance” – its sessions are streamed live, online. Jason Van Wart, Vice President of OPG’s Nuclear Sustainability Services, appeared at the committee (known as ENVI) on Feb. 3, to express OPG’s confidence in the regulation of nuclear waste through the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, emphasizing the industry’s focus on safety, environmental stewardship and lasting solutions for disposal, while providing clean energy and medical isotopes to the benefit of Ontario and beyond.

Thanks, Lynda:  For many in Bruce County, a familiar face at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) over the years has been Senior Communications Adviser Lynda Cain, who administered OPG’s local sponsorships under the Corporate Citizenship Program (CPP). With Lynda’s help, OPG has sponsored scores of worthy programs led by not-for-profits and charities across the Bruce area, including festivals, food banks, shelters, science fairs, tree plantings and fish hatcheries. With Lynda retiring this month after 33 years with the company, she is passing local responsibility for the CCP program to OPG Communications Officer Kaitlyn Nevill.  Applicants for CCP support can reach out to Kaitlyn at kaitlyn.nevill@opg.com. With warm thanks for Lynda’s service to our community, we wish her all the best in retirement!

Around Ontario and beyond:

  • Indigenous landscape: Guests dropping by OPG’s Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre in Cornwall will soon enjoy serene views, thanks to an Indigenous-inspired landscaping project at the site. By this summer, the Saunders visitor centre will be planted with woodland herbs and medicines important to Indigenous people. It’s part of a long-term, sustainable landscape plan for the centre, developed by OPG, the City of Cornwall, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, and the Cornwall Horticultural Society. The landscape will include a Mother Earth and Tree of Peace feature, a medicine wheel and culinary garden, and scenic views of the St. Lawrence River.
  • Clean-energy overhaul: Work has begun on Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit 1, the third of four reactors to undergo mid-life refurbishment. OPG, working with Ontario’s robust nuclear supply chain and other project partners, has passed the midpoint in the 10-year execution of this $12.8 billion project, which will enable production of clean, safe, low-cost and emission-free electricity from Darlington for 30 more years.
  • Goodbye to coal: This past weekend, OPG demolished the former Lambton Generating Station including four smokestacks, in Courtright, Ontario. Lambton opened in 1969 and closed in 2013. In this province, we stopped burning coal in 2014 – the single-largest climate-change action in North America to date. With nuclear energy now providing the majority of Ontario’s electricity, we have the cleanest electrical grid on the continent, with even more progress promised toward a net-zero-carbon economy in OPG’s Climate Change Plan.
  • 100 years young:  OPG’s flagship Sir Adam Beck I Generating Station in Niagara Falls is a hive of activity this year. Not only is the station celebrating its 100th anniversary, workers are replacing two historic generating units at the 438-megawatt, 10-unit facility. When it went into service in 1922, the station became the largest hydro plant in the world.