Black Holes of Risk Vol II: Nuclear Waste Storage – updated and on Amazon

Black Holes of Risk

By William Leiss

Collected Papers on Risk Management, 1995-2017

Volume II:  Nuclear Waste Storage

287 Pages

November 2017

Preface by Ortwin Renn

(Also available at and other Amazon markets)

Table of contents

Part Four:  Long-Term Storage of Nuclear Waste

Chapter 19:  Introductory Note to Part Four

Chapter 20: The Interface of Science and Policy

Chapter 21:  Community Engagement (Update 2017)

Chapter 22:  Stigma and the Stigmatization of Place

Chapter 23: Qualitative Risk Comparisons (1)

Chapter 24: Risk Perception Background Study

Chapter 25: Risk Perceptions of Nuclear Waste Storage

Chapter 26: Qualitative Risk Comparisons (2)

Chapter 19

Introductory Note to Part Four

Chapter 20 in Part Four is from an academic journal, but all the remaining chapters originally were produced as consulting reports. Chapter 21 was commissioned by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (, an agency authorized by the Government of Canada to recommend to the Minister of Natural Resources an acceptable plan for the long-term storage and disposal of high-level nuclear waste. (High-Level Nuclear Waste is extremely hazardous and long-lasting radioactive material extracted from Canada’s civilian Candu nuclear reactors, which generate electricity.) Chapter 22 was commissioned by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), a federal agency charged with responsibility for regulating the use of radioactive materials in Canada. Both of these reports were also solo efforts.

The final four documents were prepared by, or on behalf of, an ad hoc four-member body, called the Independent Expert Group [IEG], made up of the following persons:  William Leiss, Chair; Maurice Dusseault; Tom Isaacs; and Greg Paoli. (For Chapters 24 and 25, we had the expert assistance of Dr. Anne Wiles.) The IEG’s work was commissioned by the Joint Review Panel (JRP), a three-member group appointed by two agencies of the Government of Canada, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. These agencies jointly directed the IEG to answer specific questions posed to it by the JRP. The JRP itself was charged with making recommendations to two federal ministers on the acceptability of a proposal by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to build a permanent repository for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste on the site of the Bruce Nuclear Station near the town of Kincardine, Ontario. (Low- and Intermediate-Level Nuclear Waste is made up of materials and supplies used in the operation of the Candu reactors; it is much less hazardous than the high-level waste, but is still radioactive over long periods of time, and by law it too must be sequestered securely.)

The IEG’s work was fully independent, but it worked closely with senior scientific personnel from OPG, which was the proponent for the project. All of our reports were placed by the JRP in the public domain, thus being made available to all interested parties. The IEG prepared three separate reports, which form the four Chapters 23 to 26 in this volume (one of the three reports has been split into two separate chapters). In addition, the IEG members were required to attend public meetings organized by the JRP, and to respond there to questions from the Panel and from the intervener groups and individuals who had official standing for those hearings. The verbatim written transcripts, as well as video records, of those sessions are likewise in the public domain.