Deep geological storage of spent nuclear fuel is the internationally accepted best practice.
How do we know this when no DGR’s for spent fuel exist? Simple. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has 173 International Member States (including Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States, among many others), prefers spent fuel to be either permanently disposed of via deep geological repositories or reprocessed for use in future reactor designs. Further to that, every country in the world that currently uses nuclear power to supply their electrical grids is in the process of siting or constructing a DGR.
That is why a DGR is considered the international best practice.
Opponents of the proposed DGR talk about geological repositories being “untested” and “experimental”. This, of course, is simply not true. Repositories for low and intermediate level nuclear waste have been in operation for years – Wolseong, in South Korea, since 2015; Olkiluoto and Loviisa, in Finland, since 1992 and 1998 respectively; and Forsmark, in Sweden, since 1988. In addition to that, geological repositories for highly-toxic non-radioactive waste – such as arsenic, mercury, and cyanide – materials arguably more dangerous than nuclear fuel as their toxicity will not fade with the passage of time – have been in operation worldwide for even longer, in places like Giant Mine north of Yellowknife right here in Canada.
Even repositories specifically for nuclear fuel are not new or untested. Test sites and facilities have been constructed and tested with significant success, proving the methods and technologies for this type of storage.
Facts matter. It is so easy to cherry pick a sentence here or there, and misrepresent scientific conclusions for the purposes of creating fear and confusion. At the end of the day, facts matter. Testable, verifiable, replicable science matters. I have faith in the scientists and experts working on the DGR plans.
I have faith in the unparalleled safety record of our nuclear industry.