Municipality amends DGR agreement with OPG

OPG to release $1.24 million in hosting payments to Kincardine


By Barb McKay


The Municipality of Kincardine has amended its agreement with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to host an underground facility for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste, and will receive $1.24 million this year as a result.


The municipality and OPG first penned the hosting agreement in 2004, as OPG made plans for a deep geologic repository (DGR) to store waste from OPG-owned nuclear generating stations; the waste is currently being stored above ground at the Western Waste Management Centre. The repository is to be built 680 metres deep in impermeable rock at the Bruce Power site.


As part of the agreement, Kincardine and four neighbouring municipalities – Huron-Kinloss, Saugeen Shores, Arran-Elderslie and Brockton – received annual payments from OPG to recognize their roles in the project. The project has been held up by of delays in the federal approval process, and, since 2015, OPG has put the hosting payments on hold and in trust, pending federal government approval.


However, the terms of the 2004 agreement dictate that it must be amended by June 2018 to account for missed milestones and determine what the level of payments will be going forward. The amended agreement stipulates that OPG will pay each of the municipalities half of the money that has been held, accounting for inflation, and hold the remainder until a decision on the DGR has been made.


Fred Kuntz, manager of corporation relations and communications for OPG – Bruce County, attended last week’s Municipality of Kincardine council meeting and said it is prudent for OPG to hold 50 per cent of the payments in trust. The original agreement states that, if the DGR is not approved, the payments will stop. If the project is approved, the rest of the money will be released and annual payments will resume.


In total, OPG will dole out nearly $2 million as established in the amended agreement. Kincardine will receive $1,240,521, Saugeen Shores will receive $477,124, Huron-Kinloss will receive $133,595 and $76,340 will be allocated to each Brockton and Arran-Elderslie.


Kuntz said nuclear remains an important part of Ontario’s energy mix.


“We need sources of energy that are carbon-free,” he said. “We can’t build another Niagara Falls and we can’t rely entirely on wind and solar.”


The continued use of nuclear requires a permanent solution for Ontario’s nuclear waste and Kuntz said OPG is committed to the DGR as that solution. He noted that DGRs are accepted internationally as best practice for the safe and permanent disposal of nuclear waste and said that OPG will undertake constant monitoring from the moment that construction begins and for 300 years after it is decommissioned.


“The lake is protected and that is what the DGR is – a lake protection measure.”


The federal environment minister is waiting on Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) to complete its community process to review information related to the project before a decision is made. Kuntz said OPG continues its communication with SON.


“We continue to be engaged with SON in respectful and meaningful dialogue. We expect that to continue into next year and I can tell you it is going well.”


Municipal councillors reiterated their support for the project.


“I want to thank you for your co-operation and for working with us on this amendment, and I want to reiterate how pleased we are with your corporate sponsorships,” said Councillor Maureen Couture.


Through its corporate citizenship program, OPG has sponsored local festivals, tree plantings and the expansion of Kincardine’s trail system, among other initiatives.


As part of the amended hosting agreement, OPG and the Municipality of Kincardine will form a working group which will come up with recommendations to develop a centre for excellence in Kincardine. The idea of a centre of excellence has been swirling around since the original agreement was written in 2004 but has never been clearly defined – though there has been an emphasis on the need for educational opportunities in trades related to the nuclear industry.


Councillor Laura Haight asked Kuntz if there was a timeframe in mind to form the working group.


“I have a sense from the community that they are eager to get going on this, and so is OPG,” Kuntz said.


He added that terms of reference would be required, and that if there were any funding requirements to establish the centre of excellence, it would have to wait until the DGR is approved, “but there is no reason we can’t get started.”


Aside from establishing the partial payments to the five municipalities and setting up a working group for the centre of excellence, OPG’s hosting agreement remains the same. That did not sit well with one local resident who attended last Wednesday’s council meeting.


Eugene Bourgeois lives in Inverhuron and asked why the property value protection plan – a component of the 2004 agreement – had not been updated.


“For anyone in Inverhuron, such as me, there’s a stigma that has affected the value of our properties and we must prove causation,” he said.


Under the property value protection plan, Bourgeois said, residents who believe the DGR project has hurt their property value must prove that radioactivity from the physical DGR is the cause and so the plan does not come into effect until the DGR is operational.


“Inverhuron already suffers from a stigma,” he said. “I would like council to take this into consideration and negotiate with OPG.”


Kuntz said if OPG had tried to redo the entire agreement is may have led to litigation. He said, without being a real estate expert, his understanding is that the market values in the municipality tend to rise and fall with what is happening in the nuclear industry here. He added that there is a Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act that deals with property devaluation due to stigma.




The alteration, the object was to discharge the monies, and the monies were held in light of the fact that points of reference were missed, on the grounds that the endorsements procedure is longer than foreseen. In any case, it's still on track, the DGR venture is as yet continuing, dissertation proposal online it's the correct activity. So we thought it was fitting to discharge a portion of the monies to the districts to demonstrate great confidence and value their help.