Skip to content

NEWS: Decision on Great Lakes shipments delayed

CottageCountryNow.ca reports that, “A federal decision to permit the shipment of 16 radioactive steam generators across the Great Lakes has been delayed indefinitely. For reasons unexplained, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) said on Monday (January 17) that it needs more time to deliberate the proposed shipment.”

“On November 22, the commission set a deadline of 30-business days before it was obligated to reach a decision. (But now), ‘While the CNSC strives to render hearing decisions within 30-business days, in some instances more time is needed for deliberations,’ the CNSC said in a statement.”

The Sarnia Observer adds that, “Aurele Gervais, spokesperson for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, said the commissioners have gone beyond the normal 30 business day deadline for a response. ‘I don’t know what (they) are discussing. I only know that the commission members are still in deliberations. (Thirty days) is an internal guideline that we try to follow but the commission members can take the time they feel is necessary to deliberate,’ Gervais said. ‘Sometimes we fall within that 30 business days, sometimes we don’t.'”

Bruce Power applied to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in April 2010 to proceed with these shipments of radioactive waste on the Great Lakes. Then in July, due to public concern, the CNSC announced that one-day of hearings would take place in September. Reports from that time said that the CNSC would make its decision by November 11. Then it was announced that the decision would be delayed until December 22. Then there were media reports that the decision would be made by late-December or early January. Now no time frame is being given for a decision.

CountryCountryNow.ca notes, “Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility believes the CNSC is delaying their decision for several reasons, but mainly because the transfer has become so controversial. ‘I think they do see it as a public relations problem more than anything else,’ he said. ‘It’s also conceivable that, they think, if they just wait long enough everybody will lose interest.'”

CBC.ca adds that, “Mike Bradley, the mayor of Sarnia, Ont. who is opposed to the shipment, said Thursday the commission can afford to take extra time on such an important issue. ‘I think it means there’s been enough pressure raised on both sides of the border by a wide coalition of different groups and individuals to say you really have to make sure this is the right thing to do and you have to justify it,’ Bradley said.”

The Sarnia Observer also highlights, “Gervais (from the CNSC) said the delay has nothing to do with a uranium shipment that was diverted from its destination in China after rough seas damaged the containers used to haul the material. ‘I wouldn’t want to link the two files,’ he said. ‘They are two very separate files. In all matters, the commission members examine all information available to them and carry out their due diligence on each specific file.'” More on that early-January incident in this National Post article at http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/01/17/storm-knocks-open-ships-uranium-drums-forcing-emergency-return-to-b-c/.

The Council of Canadians has been speaking out against the proposed nuclear shipments since August when we first issued an ACTION ALERT against the Bruce Power plan. In September national water campaigner Emma Lui made our case against the shipments in a deputation to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4770.

The CottageCountryNow article is at http://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/news/article/931346–feds-delay-plans-to-ship-toxic-waste. The Sarnia Observer article is at http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2939140. The CBC article is at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/windsor/story/2011/01/21/wdr-bruce-power-decision-delayed.html.