Thursday, March 15, 2012

Elliot Lake isn't bad for nuclear waste


I remember my trip into Elliot Lake more than 20 years ago.  I was at the height of my career, we had a thriving Geotechnical Department, and we were looking for more nuclear plants, and even had a big project on an underground nuclear plant.  Ah, those were the days!

So you had to fly in on this tiny 13 seater airplane.  I was jammed right behind the pilot.  They only have a single runway, and there was a cross-wind.  Wow!

The rock there is very tight and under very high horizontal stress.  We were looking at a uranium mine which had experienced some large rockbursts.  We climbed through the mine looking at the devastation.  That's where I got a real appreciation for the power of stressed rock, and it led me to more earthquake studies.

We must realize that there is no difference between 'intermediate' waste and the used fuel, which is called 'high level' waste.  Really, in Canada, we don't have high level waste, which I would classify as pure liquid Plutonium, extracted.  That's high-level waste!  The only thing about the fuel is that it can still produce a lot of heat.  Thus we have a problem in that extra heat will stress the rock.

Even if we go to my favourite site in Wesleyville, we have the problem of highly stressed rock and heat.  This is a rock mechanics question at its best!  I believe it is easily done.


Anonymous said...

I've taken to reading some of the Ontario Hydro legacy preliminary design documents in my leisure time. The underground nuke plant and and the Wesleyville 1250 MW CANDU are some of my favorites. But best is the dry storage vs. fuel recycling plan that points to start of construction of a CANDU fuel recycling facility by 1988, then in 1988 the brief letter saying "postponed indefinitely".

Any idea what project 90 was?

Gus83 said...

I've been to the Wesleyville before! It's a ghost town!

Harold Asmis said...

Never heard of Project 90. Probably was one of those 'Business Ventures'. They were even looking at Internet over the wires.

The underground nuke was the best! We didn't get too far on that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous
Where are you getting these docs from?
You must be on the inside.
Thanks for any info.

Harold Asmis said...

This old post is getting a revival on Facebook. Good or bad? Elliot Lake could have my dream for Wesleyville.