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European civil society opposes Bruce Power’s radioactive shipment

On Monday morning, I met with Mayor Albert De Hoop, President of KIMO International (Kommunenes Internasjonale Miljøorganisasjon / Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation) in Amsterdam about Bruce Power’s shipment of radioactive waste. Sean Morris, Secretary for the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), joined us from Manchester by phone. We shared information and discussed ways to collaborate to stop the shipment.  KIMO is a coalition of 160 European municipalities dedicated to giving municipalities “a political voice at the international level” and addressing marine problems. The NFLA is a coalition of 75 local governments throughout the British Isles. Both groups have condemned the shipment.

On March 28, Bruce Power stated that they would delay the shipment to consult with First Nations in Canada. However, just two days after this statement, the US Department of Transport’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration put up a notice in the federal register on Bruce Power’s application for a transport permit. The fact that Bruce Power has proceeded to apply for a US transport permit raises the question of whether Bruce Power is genuinely interested in hearing First Nations’ concerns about the shipment.

According to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s decision, Bruce Power also needs approvals from the UK, Denmark and Norway to pass through their waters. However, concern and opposition to Bruce Power’s shipment in Europe has quickly grown.

The shipment has been an issue in Scottish media. The Scottish government and Friends of the Earth Scotland have expressed concerns over the shipments.

KIMO issued a press release condemning the shipment and recently sent a letter to the Swedish, Danish and English ministers requesting that they investigate the issue.

The Nuclear Free Local authorities also released a statement expressing opposition to the shipment. They will be taking further actions to stop the shipment.

The Enhedslisten party in Denmark has raised questions concerning the shipment in the Danish Parliament. The Danish Committee of Environment and Planning will be holding a public consultation on April 28. Economy and Industry Minister Brian Mikkelsen and Environment Minister Karen Ellmann will be asked to explain their position. Friends of the Earth Denmark have also issued a press release opposing the shipment.

With the nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan and trace levels of radioactive iodine found in the US, the UK, Iceland, Switzerland, South Korea, the Philippines, China and Canada, the events in Japan provide a stern warning to governments around the world that nuclear accidents do not respect national borders. The shipment of Bruce Power’s radioactive waste from Canada to Sweden – the first of at least four shipments –  pose a threat North America and Europe’s waters. European civil society is extremely concerned about the threat this shipment (and future shipments) pose to European waters. Hopefully, European governments will have better public consultation in Europe than North American governments have had here in Canada and the US. We will continue working with our European allies to stop the shipment and protect our water commons.