The hamlet of Inverhuron, Ontario, Canada, nestled into the eastern shore of the lower part of Lake Huron, consists primarily of farmland, cottages, beaches and a provincial park . The permanent and seasonal residents of Inverhuron have a complex relationship with their immediate beachfront neighbour, the world's largest combined nuclear power plant, radioactive waste incinerator and waste storage facility.
Many Inverhuron residents want an independent environmental assessment of what they call the Bruce Nuclear Site , a publicly owned, partly privately operated facility consisting of 9 nuclear power reactors (4 operating, 2 more coming back on line and 3 shut down) and waste storage and incineration facilities (including in-ground and above-ground storage of low, medium and high level nuclear waste). The first of the generating stations (Douglas Point) went into service in 1965. In 1977, Bruce Site A went into service with four 750 MW reactors. In 1984, Bruce B went on line with four 840 MW Candu reactors. A heavy water manufacturing plant was opened in 1981 but has since been shut down. An above ground waste storage facility for 18,000 metric tons of high level nuclear waste will soon open.
The IDRA took its findings and questions to the nuclear power company, Canadian nuclear regulators and ministers of government responsible for Canada's nuclear energy program. Three years passed in meetings and memos, until IDRA members felt they were permanently mired in bureaucratic process.
So the IDRA turned to a legal action. It focused on a new, high-level nuclear waste storage facility (now under construction and near completion on the site). The IDRA took the operators, regulators and federal authorities to court over what it considered were serious discrepancies between the design of the waste facility (as presented to the public and approved by the government) and the design being built.
The IDRA called attention to the manner in which spent nuclear fuel bundles were to be transferred into the new storage facility. And it called attention to issues in the method of storage itself. The volunteer group requested an independent environmental assessment of the design which had been adopted, pointing out that that this was not the design which the power company had submitted for public comment.
None-the-less, the switched design received official approval, even though, in correspondence between Ontario Hydro (now OPG), the government regulator called the changes "major" and admitted that the new design had neither been properly described to the public nor studied in depth by the operators or regulators. (The IDRA also hoped to introduce evidence in court in the form of an affidavit from noted radiation cancer specialist, Dr. David Hoel , that highlighted a possible link between the nuclear site and increased local childhood leukemia statistics and cancer rates -- both well above provincial average.)
In March of 2002, the Supreme Court of Canada turned down an application from the IDRA for an appeal of the previous court rulings. The Supreme Court assessed further costs against the IDRA at the request of the operators of the facility, Ontario Power Generation.
The IDRA had reached the end of the legal line. (See IDRA Supreme Court Application in Document Room )
The Bruce Centre
Some Inverhuron residents decided to take their concerns and questions about the safety of the nuclear facility to the public forum, and to develop more research on both nuclear generated energy and greener, cost effective alternate sources (co-generation, solar, wind, hydrogen etc.).
The Bruce Centre would also encourage an ongoing, independent environmental assessments and risk analysis of the site and the immediate area, as well as publicly controlled monitoring of toxins and radioactive levels in the plants and animals (and humans), soil, air and water within a 50 km radius of the nuclear facility. The Centre proposes that the costs of the independent "EA" and the on-going monitoring be assumed as part of the "costs of operation" of the nuclear facility. This would serve to validate the assertions of regulatory agencies and the operators that it is perfectly safe.
But regardless of geography, when it comes to the pursuit of clean, renewable (profitable) supplies of energy in the U-S and Canada, or anywhere in the world, we hope that you will become one of the "Friends of Bruce".