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ACTION ALERT: Stop the shipment of radioactive components through the Great Lakes

The Toronto Star has reported that, “On April 1, Bruce Power asked Canada’s nuclear regulator for a licence to ship (radiation-laced steel) steam generators from its power plant (in Kincardine) on Lake Huron to Sweden, where 90 per cent of the metals inside the generators are to be recycled and resold. The remaining materials that are too radioactive to be recycled will then return to the Bruce plant to be contained for the rest of their radioactive lives. The generators, which spent more than 30 years inside the reactors at Bruce Power’s nuclear plant, contain thousands of small tubes that emit beta, gamma and alpha radiation. Each generator, which weighs 110 tonnes and is the size of a school bus, has a 5-cm-thick steel shell and any holes in those shells would be welded shut before transport. Though the shipment would go through the jurisdictions of two countries and multiple states and provinces, the commission, which generally acts as a public tribunal, had designated just one person to decide whether the shipment would proceed.”

“The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission said in a statement (on July 29) that ‘in light of public concern’ over a proposal by Bruce Power to ship 16 steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway the commission will hold a one-day hearing to consider the plan (in Ottawa on September 29). Though opponents to the shipment had been lobbying for such a hearing, the wording in the commission’s statement has only added to their concerns that the proposal will be approved with or without any public debate or input. In its statement announcing the hearing, the commission said it ‘will not issue a licence unless it is satisfied the shipment will be completed safely,’ but added that the commission’s staff had already ‘concluded that there are no safety significance issues associated with the proposed shipment.’”

Commentary in the Toronto Sun against this plan by Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath can be read at http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/2010/07/28/14858291.html.  She writes, in part, that, “Forty-million people rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water. But starting this fall, Bruce Power wants to transport 32 of these 100-tonne vessels, each containing 5,000 radioactively-contaminated tubes, through Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The plan to ship radioactive steam generators through our waterways comes as a big, nasty surprise. After all, Bruce Power promised in its 2005 Environmental Impact Statement they would not even transport the steam generators on public roads — which they will have to do to get them to Owen Sound.”

TAKE ACTION
50 organizations – including the Council of Canadians, the Ontario Coalition of Aboriginal People, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the Sierra Club, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Greenpeace Canada, the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment – and almost 2,500 individuals have signed a petition opposing this plan to ship radioactive tubes across the Great Lakes. Please add your name to the petition at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3670.

The Toronto Star article is at http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/842593–public-hearing-to-be-held-on-shipment-of-nuclear-waste-through-great-lakes?bn=1.