Blog by Zann Aeck, Marketing & Communications

Nuclear waste disposal demo – keeping the dialogue open

Recently, Liz Muller and I hosted a webinar about a public equipment demonstration that Deep Isolation conducted in January.   Our intent was to both re-engage people and groups with whom we’ve already connected and at the same time reach out to those not familiar with us. In doing so our goal was to share an important milestone not just as a company, but one for nuclear waste disposal in general. The outcome of this demonstration showed how today’s drilling technology can successfully be applied to deep geologic disposal of nuclear waste.

Liz began the session with a brief overview of the Deep Isolation technology and concept for implementing it to dispose of nuclear waste, and in doing so encouraged tough questions and input from all. She also highlighted the fact that in the months preceding the demonstration we met with the local community leaders on a few different occasions to get their full support. Liz then outlined the events of the public demonstration, spending time to show pictures of the prototype canister sized to fit the test facility’s drill hole and how it latches to the drilling rig.  Along with photos of the test facility, the canister lowering, and empty wireline surfacing, the play-by-play also featured a short clip that shows what we can’t see underground – how the canister rounds the wide curve and is pushed in place into the horizontal section. One of the highlights of the session featured comments from Jeremy Renshaw of EPRI who attended the demonstration.

To keep the session interactive, I asked Liz about 40 questions from the participants.  Questions covered topics such as geology, site analysis, monitoring, canister and fuel assembly specifications, comparisons with other solutions – both waste disposal and interim storage, regulatory standards, licensing, cost models, local community impact as well as our views on liability and responsibility for packaging the waste for disposal.

It is critical to our organization that we keep the lines of dialogue open with all groups that have a stake in nuclear waste disposal especially as we continue to move forward and gain significant ground in bringing a viable solution to a challenging market.