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NEWS: Municipal opposition to Great Lakes radioactive shipments growing

Municipal opposition to Bruce Power’s plan to ship radioactive steam generators on the Great Lakes is growing.

MONTREAL: The McGill Daily reports that, “Last week, the City of Montreal announced that it will not allow a shipment of 16 decommissioned Bruce Power nuclear generators to be transported through Montreal on the St. Lawrence. …If the (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) accepts Bruce Power’s request and allows the generators to be shipped through Montreal, then the city could simply prevent the ships from docking in Montreal’s harbour. …Despite the research carried out by the CNSC, the city of Montreal still has doubts about the safety of the shipments. According to Valérie Desgagné, spokesperson for the city, Montreal’s main concern is the risk of contamination as the ‘shipment’s radioactive waves would be fifty times higher than the international limit.’”

GREAT LAKES AND ST. LAWRENCE CITIES INITIATIVE: The Kingston Whig-Standard reported on September 22 that, “The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, representing (70) mayors of towns and cities on both sides of the Great Lakes criticize the CNSC for not consulting them and not releasing an analysis of what would happen if there is an accident. …The mayors’ group argues that the amount of nuclear waste in the proposed shipment exceeds by 50 times the International Atomic Energy Agency’s radioactivity standard for a single freight vessel on the lakes.”

KINGSTON: The Whig-Standards adds, “Kingston mayor Harvey Rosen said given the vital importance of the lakes to those living around them, the government needs to give more assurances that the shipment will be safe.”

ST. CATHARINES: The Standard reported in late-September that, “St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan, a coalition board member, met with members of the nuclear safety commission in the summer to discuss his concerns about the shipment. Despite that meeting, McMullan said he shares the coalition’s concerns about a lack of public consultation and ‘incomplete information’ about the contentious shipping plan. McMullan said the group still has questions about the level of contamination in the shipment. …McMullan said his main concern is the lack of details about how Bruce Power would deal with a potential ‘catastrophic event’ that dumped radioactive material into the lakes. ‘What is the backup plan? I don’t feel like we’ve received enough information about those measures yet,’ he said.”

SARNIA: The McGill Daily adds, “In September, Sarnia, Ontario mayor Mike Bradley stated his concern that a possible spill from the shipments would affect residents’ drinking water.” Bradley has stated, “Forty million Americans and Canadians take their freshwater, their drinking supplies from the Great Lakes. All we need is one incident to bring about a major catastrophe on the Great Lakes.”

BLUE MOUNTAINS: The Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin reported on September 22 that, “Blue Mountains (mayor Ellen Anderson) is predicting the area could see some massive demonstrations if Bruce Power’s plans to ship decommissioned (100-tonne radioactive) steam generators from the nuclear plant near Tiverton through Owen Sound’s harbour (and the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Atlantic ocean) to Sweden is approved.” She has also stated, “I can’t understand how (the CNSC) would approve (this). Water isn’t a good place to be shipping this stuff. We don’t have enough information. …I’m thinking about the generations to come. My personal feeling is, if I don’t do the right thing now, I’d be responsible for the future accidents.”

OWEN SOUND: The Owen Sound Sun Times has reported that, “(Owen Sound has) no power to approve or reject Bruce Power’s plan to load the generators onto a cargo ship in the Owen Sound Harbour and transport the vessels through the Great Lakes, since the harbour is owned by the federal government. But, up until (late September), city officials said Bruce Power needed a heavy load permit from the city before it could truck the school bus-sized, decommissioned steam generators on city-owned streets. Local critics of the plan had hoped to use the city’s bylaw as leverage and pressure city council to block Bruce Power’s shipment plan. A group of residents, led by Sharen Skelly, presented council with a 220-name petition last week that calls on council to reject an anticipated application from Bruce Power for a heavy load permit.”

“In an interview with The Daily, Marc Drolet, Public Affairs and Media Relations Representative for the CNSC, said that the commission should reach a final decision by mid- to late December. …If the CNSC decides to grant Bruce Power’s request, the power of municipalities to block the shipment’s transportation will be called into question.”

The McGill Daily article is at