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By Charles Rhodes, P.Eng., Ph.D.

Due to rapid accumulation of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere and oceans mankind must increasingly rely upon nuclear energy for reliable base load power.

During the year 2019 the total world coal production, obtained by summing the productions from the major producers was;
8.13 billion tonnes
= .813 X 10^10 tonnes/year
The corresponding carbon mass that entered the atmosphere in 2019 was about:
0.8 X .813 X 10^10 tonnes / year = .6504 X 10^10 tonnes carbon / year.

The average thermal power liberated by world combustion of coal during 2019 was about:
.813 X 10^10 tonnes coal / year X 32,494 X 10^6 J / tonne coal X 1 year / 8766 hour X 1 hour / 3600 s
= 8.371 X 10^12 watts

The world oil production in 2019 as obtained by summing producers outputs was about 35 billion barrels / year. The corresponding annual carbon output is:
35 X 10^9 barrels /year X .137 tonnes/barrel X .86 tonne carbon / tonne oil
= 0.412 X 10^10 tonne carbon / year
Not all of this carbon immediately goes into the atmosphere because a small fraction of the carbon related to oil production is used to produce asphalt, which may take as much as 50 years to oxidize into CO2.

The thermal power liberated by world combustion of oil is about:
35 billion barrels / year X (5.8 X 10^6 BTU / barrel) X 1055.06 J / BTU X 1 year / 8766 hour x 1 hour / 3600 s
= 6.786 X 10^12 watts

The world natural gas liquids production in 2004 as obtained by summing producers outputs was about 7,393,210 barrels per day. The corresponding annual carbon output is:
7,393,210 barrels / day X 365 days/year X .137 tonnes/barrel X .86 tonne carbon / tonne NG liquid
= .03179 X 10^10 tonne carbon / year
Not all of this carbon goes into the atmosphere because part of the carbon related to NG liquid production is used to produce resins. However, the non-atmospheric carbon amount is likely off set by unreported fossil fuel production, especially unreported coal.

The thermal power liberated by world combustion of natural gas liquids in 2004 is about:
7,393,210 barrels / day X 5.8 X 10^6 BTU / barrel X 1055.06 J / BTU X 1 day / 24 hour x 1 hour / 3600 s
= 0.5236 X 10^12 watts

The world dry natural gas production during 2019, as obtained by summing the producers outputs was:
4100 billion m^3 / year.
The corresponding amount of carbon released to the atmosphere was:
4100 X 10^9 m^3 /year X 1000 lit / m^3 X 1 mole / 22.4 lit X 273/288 X 16 gm / mole X 1 tonne/10^6 gm X .75
= 4.1 X 10^15 lit / year X (1 mole / 22.4 lit) X (273/288) X 16 g / mole X 10^-6 tonne / gm X .75
= 2.082 X 10^9 tonnes carbon / year
=0.2082 X 10^10 tonnes carbon / year
Almost all of this carbon enters the atmosphere.

The averaqge thermal power liberated by world combustion of natural gas in 2019 was:
4100 X 10^9 m^3 / year X 1000 ft^3 / 28.328 m^3 X 1000 BTU / ft^3 X 1055.06 J / BTU X 1 year / 8766 hour X 1 hour / 3600 s
= 4.839 X 10^12 Watts

[8.371 + 6.786 + 0.5236 + 4.839] X 10^12 Wt
= 20.52 X 10^12 Wt
= 20.52 X 10^3 GWt

The world average fossil fuel thermal power per person in 2019 was about:
20.52 X 10^12 Wt / 7.8 X 10^9 people
= 2.63 kW / person

By comparison in Canada and the USA the average fossil fuel thermal power per person is about 9 kWt and the average electrical power per person is about 1.2 kWe. In the Province of Ontario the average thermal power per person is about 7 kWt per person but the Canadian average is higher, in large part due to energy intensive fossil fuel resource extraction in the province of Alberta.

The world nuclear electric capacity in 2004 is about 372,751 MWe.
Assume an average capacity factor of about 0.9.
Then the average nuclear electric power in 2004 was about:
0.9 (372,751 MWe) = 335,476 MWe
= 375.476 GWe

Assume that the average thermal to electricity conversion efficiency is 0.33
Then the total heat emitted by nuclear reactions in 2004 was:
372,751 MWe X 0.9 X 1 MWt / 0.33 MWe
= 1,006,428 MWt
= 1006 GWt

Thus on an average thermal power basis the installed nuclear capacity is only about 5% of the installed fossil fuel capacity.

Total world thermal power production by combustion of fossil fuels and by nuclear reactors is:
20.52 X 10^12 Wt + 1.006 X 10^12 Wt
= 21.52 X 10^12 Wt

When this power is averaged over the Earth's surface area As = 509.55 X 10^12 m^2 the average impact is:
21.52 X 10^12 watts / 509.55 X 10^12 m^2
= 0.0422 watts / m^2

The average world hydro-electric power production is about 300,000 MWe

The average world wind energy energy production is about 57,000 MWe

Note that the average fossil fuel thermal output is almost 2 kWt per person on Earth. Assume that the average nuclear power plant operates at a thermal efficiency given by:
(electricity output) / (reactor thermal power output) = 0.33

Then as a minmimum displacement of the present fossil fuel consumption requires new nuclear reactors with about:
20,520 GWt (0.33 We / Wt) / (375.400 GWe) = 18.06 times the present functional nuclear reactor capacity.

Note that this estimate inherently assumes that in both motive power and general heating applications one kWhe can replace 3 kWht. If nuclear reactors are located in urban areas and used for district heating the required reactor capacity might drop by as much as a factor of 2.

Hence with allowance for 2.5 X load growth due to increasing population and increasing per capita 3rd world energy requirements the installed world nuclear reactor capacity needs to increase by about 45 fold over the next 60 years. Viewed another way, the operational world nuclear reactor capacity must double about every 11 years.

A major constraint on the FNR production rate is availability of sufficient fissile fuel to start FNRs. It will be ironic if present attempts to prevent nuclear weapon proliferation via using plutonium as fuel in water cooled reactors lead to extinction of much of mankind due to insufficiency of plutonium for starting future FNRs.

At this time there is complete failure of planning authorities to face this basic nuclear capacity expansion constraint.

Most renewable energy is seasonal. Rivers consistently run much higher in the early spring than in the late summer. In Ontario average wind generation in the summer is half as much as in the winter. In northern Canada solar energy is almost non-existant in mid winter. Thus, contrary to misleading claims by "environmentalists", it is impossible to totally replace fossil fuels with renewable energy without massive seasonal energy storage. The only seasonal energy storage technology that makes any sort of financial sense is hydraulic storage in river valleys between chains of major mountains such as exist in British Columbia and Quebec.

A recent agreement between Ontario and Quebec that allows Ontario access to some of the hydraulic enegy storage in Quebec is clearly a step in the right direction, but relying on such an agreement instead of proceeding with a Fast Neutron power Reactor (FNR) prototype is foolish procrastination because the the hydraulic energy storage in Quebec is expensive to access and its available supply is insufficient to meet Ontario's energy storage requirement for reliable displacement of fossil fuels.

An issue that many people fail to grasp is that average world hydro electric power production will likely plateau at about 400,000 MWe. Some wind power could in principle be used for production of electrolytic hydrogen. However, the economics of wind generation exclusively for hydrogen production are extremely adverse because none of the power generated earns premium income by assisting in meeting the uncontrolled electricity peak load. Hence, to economically displace fossil fuels, about 80% of the present fossil fuel supplied 20,520 GWt of thermal power must come from nuclear energy. There is further energy required for increases in air conditioning, water desalination, synthetic hydrocarbon processing, expanded concrete production and steel production that is not included in the fossil fuel energy total. Displacement of fossil fuels will require at least a 45 fold expansion in world wide installed nuclear reactor capacity. In Ontario the installed nuclear capacity must be increased betweem 7 fold and 14 fold.

To put this matter in perspective, if we adhere to the present OPG/NWMO nuclear waste disposal methodology, which presently contemplates two Deep Geologic Repositories (DGRs), in reality after 60 years 20 DGRs will be required and after 300 years at least 100 DGRs will be required. Clearly the present OPG/NWMO nuclear waste disposal plan is not sustainable. There are certain radio isotopes such as Ca-41, Cl-36, Ni-59 and C-14 where there is no alternative disposal solution other than permanent containment within a DGR. With respect to these long lived low atomic weight isotopes the most important safety measure is to do all necessary to prevent production of these wastes.

For most of the remaining radio isotopes there are disposal alternatives that potentially cost a lot less in terms of both dollars and environmental pollution than the present plan by OPG and the NWMO and that should be pursued. For most shorter lived radio isotopes a DGR should be designed as an interim storage facility rather than as a permanent storage facility.

The entire nuclear energy cycle, including both electricity production and nuclear waste disposal, must be made sustainable.

A potential public issue is formation of long lived inert gas radio isotopes. The problem with inert gases is that it is almost impossible to physically isolate them from the atmosphere for long periods of time. If the entire world is powered by fission nuclear power over time the accumulation of long lived inert gas radio isotopes in the atmosphere may become a public issue. In the immediate proximity of used fission fuel concentration plants shorter lived inert gas isotopes such as Kr-85 could be a cause of public concern. The short lived isotopes should be well mixed with the atmosphere before they reach the public. The inert gas isotopes that are might be problematic are:
Ar-39269 years
Ar-4233 years
Kr-812.1 X 10^5 years
Kr-8510.7 years

This is where Jerry Cuttler's work is extremely important. The substance of his findings is that small increases in the background radiation level have no negative impact on human health. There have been all kinds of cancer forecasts based on the linear no threshold model that predicted increases in human cancers that have not been experimentally observed.

It is of paramount importance that this issues be properly communicated to the public at large.

If we assume that the entire world is nuclear fission powered, at some point in the distant future Kr-81 may raise the background radiation level significantly. Assuming man kind is still around at that point it might become necessary to transition to nuclear fusion to avoid this problem. However, that issue is many centuries in the future.

I presently do not know the production rates of Kr-81 and Kr-85 per unit of fission heat produced. This data likely exists somewhere. The number of each radioactive inert gas isotope atoms formed per kg of Pu fissioned must be determined. The Kr-81 concentration in the atmosphere will be a good indication of the cumulative fission nuclear power production on Earth.

Sustainable Nuclear Fuel Cycles and World Regional Issues

1970 Fast Breeder Reactors

Thermal Breeder Reactors

Long Term Sustainability of Nuclear Fuel

A link list to about 30 files by Jack Devanney addressing climate change, nuclear power regulation and nuclear power sustainability

Any Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) design that is not consistent with long term nuclear power sustainability is not the right design. The DGR concept that is presently contemplated by the NWMO and OPG is not sustainable and hence is not acceptable. Achievement of safe sustainability requires future ongoing DGR accessibility. The requirement for ongoing accessibility determines the type of rock in which the DGR should be located and the elevation of the DGR storage vaults with respect to the elevation of the surrounding water table. There must be an adequate provision for future changes in the water table elevation with respect to the DGR elevation. For example, the Niagara escarpment, which is about 100 m high, is only 12,000 years old. Hence as a minimum the DGR vault must be more than 100 m above the present water table.

If dilution of radio isotopes is relied upon as a means of reducing nuclear waste toxicity, and if a DGR open period is 60 years, over 10,000 years the required number of DGRs will increase by a factor of:
(10,000 years / 60 years / DGR) X 45 = 7500 DGRs
causing the average background radiation contribution due to long lived isotopes in DGRs, which may be considered acceptable with two DGRs, to increase by almost four orders of magnitude. Hence dilution of nuclear waste is neither an acceptable nor a sustainable method of reducing nuclear waste pollution. The NWMO/OPG safety case for the proposed Bruce DGR is simply not sustainable.

One of the complexities of the nuclear power industry is the need for multiple reactor types for cost efficient use of uranium. Natural uranium consists of about 99.3% U-238 and about 0.7% U-235. The most efficient way to use both existing power reactors and all the potential energy contained in natural uranium is to use the nuclear fuel in a succession of different reactor types.

The first step is uranium enrichment as is presently done in the USA. That process typically creates low enriched uranium with a U-235 fraction in the range of 3% to 5% and depleted uranium with a U-235 fraction of less than 0.7%. The depleted uranium should be stored for future use as FNR (Fast Neutron Reactor) blanket fuel. The enriched uraunium is fissioned in existing LWRs (light water reactors) to make electricity. The used LWR fuel typically contains greater than 1% U-235 plus some Pu and other transuranic elements.

The second step is to selectively remove uranium oxide from the used LWR fuel. This removed pure uranium oxide contains more than 1.0% U-235 and hence, with minor modification, is usable as CANDU reactor fuel. This pure uranium oxide contains some radioactive U-232, so appropriate biosafety precautions must be followed in new fuel fabrication and handling.

The residue containing Pu, transuranics and fission products from the used LWR fuel is fed to the FNR core start fuel production process.

The pure uranium oxide extracted from the used LWR fuel is used to fuel a heavy water cooled and moderated CANDU nuclear reactor. The CANDU reactor will consume part of the remaining U-235 and will convert a portion of the U-238 into Pu-239 plus other trans-uranium actinides.

Then application of the selective uranium oxide separation process to the used CANDU fuel results in pure uranium oxide plus more residue containing Pu, transuranics and fission products.

The pure uranium oxide is now depleted to about 0.3% U-235 and is set aside for future use as FNR blanket fuel.

The residues containing Pu,transuranics and fission products are fed into the FNR core start fuel production process.

It is then necessary to use an electrolytic process to reduce the concentrated residue to metallic form and to separate the lower atomic weight fission products from the higher atomic weight U, Pu and transuranics.

The fission products are placed in 300 year isolated dry storage to allow them to safely naturally decay.

Then the remaining U, Pu and transuranic metallic fuel is used as core start fuel in a liquid sodium cooled fast neutron reactor. This reactor fissions the plutonium and transuranics and converts part of the surrounding U-238 into new plutonium.

Periodically the FNR fuel is removed and low atomic weight fission products in the core fuel are extracted and placed in isolated storage for 300 years. The inner ring of blanket fuel bundles is reprocessed to harvest more Pu. The weight of fission products removed from the core fuel is replaced by an equal weight of harvested Pu-239 and transuranics. The weight of Pu removed from the blanket is replaced by an equal weight of depleted uranium drawn from storage.

This fuel recycling methodology improves the energy yield of natural uranium over 100 fold and reduces the future requirement for long term nuclear waste storage by about 1000 fold. However, due to the technical complexities and irrational thinking governments are reluctant to embrace efficient nuclear fuel recycling.

Thorium (Th-232) may also be bred into U-233 for use in CANDU reactors. However, a major problem with the thorium fuel cycle is that thermal neutron fission of U-233 does not provide enough fast neutrons to economically consume the trans-uranium actinides. Another problem with the thorium power cycle is that it lends itself to production of concentrated U-233 and hence possible nuclear weapon proliferation.

by Peter Ottensmeyer
The problem, as I see it, is that it’s always a competition for the available neutrons. If you push them towards producing more fission neutrons by increasing the fissile component, you have fewer neutrons left for conversion of fertile to new fissile components. What you gain on the swings you lose on the round-abouts. The first graph (Fig. 33) for the idealized case of “fuel only” (no structural/coolant/moderator absorption) shows calculations for the pairs of U-238/U-235, U-238/Pu-239 and Th-232/U-233 in the thermal range.

The cross-overs maximize both effects, but once one effect falls below 1.0 then either the reactor won’t operate or the conversion ratio is below 1.0. All pairs achieve values greater than 1 simultaneously at low enough fissile concentrations, but not high enough above 1.0 to have working reactors, considering that too many nascent fast neutrons are lost in the thermalization process. That’s why there are no uranium-238 based thermal breeders. The Th-232/U-233 is best in the thermal regime; but are the new-neutron-yields of at best 1.15 high enough at a CR=1 to permit thermalization and a functioning thermal reactor?

A similar calculation at 0.3 MeV (fast spectrum?) (Fig. 37) shows that all fissile/fertile pairs work, with U-238/Pu239 being best.


1. Safe and economical interim storage of the present inventories of spent fuel and other nuclear waste. In this respect recent events at Fukushima Daiichi have clearly demonstrated that the existing inventories of radio toxic materials should be moved to a dry storage location that is high above the local water table;

2. Change in nuclear reactor design from slow neutrons to fast neutrons so that the prime energy source is the plentiful uranium isotope U-238 instead of the much less abundant uranium isotope U-235;

3. Recycling of spent CANDU and other spent water moderated reactor fuel to convert the highly radio toxic long lived trans-uranium actinides into short lived radio isotopes that rapidly decay into non-toxic low energy stable isotopes. This recycling process extracts 99% of the potenial energy from the nuclear fuel instead of only 1% as presently realized with CANDU and other water moderated reactors;

4. Recycling of irradiated nuclear reactor materials such as zirconium to both reduce the cost of new nuclear reactors and to minimize the mass and volume of radio toxic material in storage;

5. Recovery of tritium/helium-3 for sale to third parties to earn income, to reduce the mass and volume of radio toxic material in storage and to provide helium-3 which is required for detecting illicit shipments of fissionable material;

6. Development of safe, economic, accessible and reliable storage for radio isotopes with half lives less than 30 years such that after 300 years the stored material, storage containers and storage space can all be reused;

7. Development of a safe, economical and reliable methodology for concentration, isolation and storage of long lived low atomic weight isotopes such as C-14, Cl-36, Ca-41, Ni-59, Se-79 and Sn-126 that have no present or foreseeable future value. The storage methodology should recognize that dilution is not a solution to pollution and that these isotopes are highly mobile in water. eg Dry storage in double wall stainless steel-porcelain containers;

8. Modification of nuclear reactor designs to minimize future production of long lived low atomic weight isotopes such as Cl-36 and Ca-41 which form water soluble chemical compounds;

9. Modification of nuclear generating station designs to reduce use of concrete by siting the reactors at higher elevations to avoid tsunami and flood risks and by use of liquid sodium primary coolant to avoid the problem of potentially having to contain radio active steam;

10. Use of natural draft cooling towers instead of direct lake water cooling to reduce cooling water requirements, to allow siting reactors at higher elevations with respect to cooling water bodies and to minimize reactor impact on marine species;

11. Change in nuclear reactor design to separate mechanically stressed components from neutron stressed components to extend facility life, to reduce reactor maintenance costs and to reduce formation of neutron activated decommissioning waste.

12. Large scale deployment of helium-3 based neutron detectors to prevent illicit transport of fissionable material.

Unfortunately, the present NWMO and OPG plans for the Bruce DGR fail to address all of the aforementioned issues. The present NWMO and OPG plans are implicitly based on three false assumptions which are fashionable but which have no basis in fact.

1. The first false assumption is that future nuclear reactors will be assembled by skilled tradesmen using the same methodology as was used four decades ago for assembly of CANDU reactors.

2.The second false assumption is that non-accessible burial of unprocessed long lived nuclear waste below the water table is a sustainable activity and that this activity is acceptable to the Canadian population;

3. The third false assumption is that the electricity rate payers are indifferent to:
a) the cost of DGRs,
b) the cost of labor in nuclear reactor construction and
c) the cost of expensive and non-recycled nuclear fuel and nuclear reactor materials.

1. For construction worker safety most of the materials used in nuclear reactor construction need to initially be non-radioactive;

2. When a nuclear reactor reaches the end of its useful working life its radio active components are not recyclable;

3. All radioactive waste material should be permanently consigned to a DGR;

4. The DGRs should be inaccessible after closure and hence should to be located far below the surrounding water table.

5. The rock surrounding a DGR should be soft and inherently unstable to the point of being self sealing as with limestone or salt;

6. The DGRs should rely primarily on the character of the surrounding rock to minimize the rate of diffusion of water soluble material from the DGR into the surrounding environment;

7. Dilution of radio toxic material is considered by NWMO/OPG to be an acceptable solution to pollution.

I suggest that the aforementioned implicit assumptions by NWMO/OPG are all wrong and hence the related conclusions are also all wrong.

1. I have worked on development of advanced microprocessor based equipment control systems and on the design of liquid sodium cooled fast neutron reactors, as described at www.xylenepower.com/FNR%20Design.htm and adjacent Nuclear related web pages. The OPG assumption that the cores of new nuclear reactors will be assembled by skilled tradesmen is not valid because during the last thirty years there have been major advances in robotic assembly technology and because during the same period a sufficient inventory of radioactive material has accumulated to justify automated radioactive material recycling. Canadian robotics were used to assemble the International Space Station. Robotics are now widely used in automotive assembly. By comparison the assembly of a fast neutron reactor is a relatively simple task.

2. With robotic assembly it does not matter if the reactor materials and fuel components are initially radio active. Fast neutron reactor fuel bundles are intended for robotic assembly;

3. Hence neutron irradiated chromium, iron, uranium, plutonium, zirconium, and trans-uranium actinides can all be recycled.

4. Hence the DGRs should remain permanently accessible to permit on-going safety inspections, risk mitigation and material recycling. The DGRs will make extensive use of robotic technology developed by and for the hard rock mining industry;

5. In order to inexpensively exclude water from an accessible DGR the elevation of the DGR storage vaults should be high above the local water table and the DGR should be gravity drained and naturally ventilated;

6. In addition to reliance on the quality of the surrounding rock the nuclear waste stored in the DGR should be further isolated from the environment via long life engineered containers (> 10,000 years) where the contents of each container are uniform. Achieving that objective requires improved waste sorting at the reactor sites using gamma ray spectrometers and may require significant radio chemistry;

7. The DGR should have internal gravity drainage to sumps and should provide ongoing access for remote monitoring, risk mitigation and material recycling. The sump overflows must be gravity drained.

8. Storage vaults for long lived radio isotopes should be about 400 m below grade to provide certain containment of long lived radio isotopes through numerous glaciations;

9. The DGR should be formed in stable high density granite to provide a combination of durability, water exclusion, and safe access for thousands of years;

10. Recycling of spent CANDU fuel involves trans-uranium actinide fission in a fast neutron reactor. As compared to the present CANDU process the spent fuel toxicity lifetime is reduced 1000 fold and the energy per kg available from natural uranium is increased 100 fold;

11. The fast neutron reactor fuel cycle allows for major material, labor and DGR cost savings for the benefit of the electricity rate payer;

12. Recent political polls indicate that at least one third of the Ontario voters are opposed to the projected electricity price increases related to wind generation and its required supporting energy storage and transmission costs and are seeking electricity price mitigation;

13. Contrary to claims by the NWMO there is no evidence that any permanent "receptive community" in Canada is in favor of high level non-accessible nuclear waste burial in that community. The majority of witnesses from the Bruce area before the Joint Review Panel are opposed to the present NWMO/OPG Bruce DGR plans.

14. Any location that is naturally sufficiently dry for safe long term storage of long lived nuclear waste does not have sufficient ground water to support a permanent community.

1. As fossil fuels are phased out part of the energy requirements that fossil fuels presently meet must be met by synthetic hydrocarbon fuels made using nuclear energy;

2. As a result of this increased dependence on nuclear energy the public will become less tolerant of present technical incompetence and wasteful practices at OPG and the NWMO;

3. The public will insist, if only as a cost saving measure, that materials such as iron, chromium, zirconium, and uranium that contribute significantly to the overall cost of nuclear energy, be recycled both to save money and to reduce the radioactive material inventory. Hence for both worker safety and cost reduction nuclear reactor modules will be robot assembled;

4. The informed public will demand fission of trans-uranium actinides to prevent long term pollution of drinking water;

5. In the future mankind will have no practical alternative to liquid metal cooled fast neutron reactors operating with U-238 for fossil fuel displacement, due to depletion of the U-235 resource. Note that the deuterium-tritium-helium-lithium fusion fuel cycle is also a liquid metal cooled fast neutron process.

6. The only known aneutronic energy source is the (H-1) - (B-11) process, but there are serious questions as to whether that process can ever yield enough power gain to be useful as a practical energy source.

7. The relatively high coolant temperature of a liquid metal cooled fast neutron reactor allows efficient heat dissipation via evaporation of water instead of by direct lake or sea water cooling, and thus greatly reduces the impact of nuclear power on marine species.

8. Nuclear reactor designs should be modified to minimize formation of C-14, Ca-41, Cl-36 and Ni-59;

9. With respect to existing CANDU reactors reasonable efforts should be taken to recover tritium/helium-3 to minimize nuclear weapon proliferation.

From a geophysical perspective by far the best nuclear waste storage location in Canada is Jersey Emerald. Jersey Emerald is a 5 million square foot naturally dry depleted Canadian hard rock mine with about 10 km of main access truck tunnels, 12 foot to 60 foot high internal storage vaults and geology that is uniquely suitable for storage of radio isotopes and/or other highly toxic material. The Jersey Emerald workings are 200 m to 600 m below grade but are more than 300 m above the surrounding water table. The lower portions of Jersey Emerald are in extremely dense water tight granite. Jersey Emerald was a critical source of zinc, lead and tungsten during WWII but was closed in 1972 due to low commodity prices. Today Jersey Emerald is likely the most safe and secure facility in North America for nuclear material storage.

In 2013 Jersey Emerald and the surrounding property and mineral rights were available for purchase at a price that was a tiny fraction of the projected cost of the Bruce DGRs.

In August 2013 both the NWMO and OPG failed to even inspect Jersey Emerald when it was available to them, free and clear, complete with 4000 hectares of assembled surrounding property, including both surface and mineral rights, for $67.5 million. For an estimated additional $100 million NWMO/OPG could have acquired an additional 16,000 hectare exclusion zone, giving NWMO/OPG title to everything within an 8 km radius of Jersey Emerald. The failure of both NWMO and OPG to place a $2 million dollar purchase deposit on the Jersey Emerald property prior to December 13, 2013 will likely go down in Canadian history as the worst ever management decision relating to nuclear power. This matter is indicative of the gross incompetence and/or corruption within the executives of both OPG and the NWMO.

This web page last updated February 11, 2023.

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