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NEWS: Ontario’s permission needed for radioactive shipments on the Great Lakes

CKTB reports that, “For months, the McGuinty government refused to take a position on Bruce Power’s plan to ship radioactive steam generators from its Kincardine nuclear plant via the Welland Canal and the Great Lakes for recycling in Sweden. The McGuinty government had claimed the issue was solely under federal jurisdiction. Now, the government’s position has changed. When challenged by NDP Environment Critic Peter Tabuns, Transport Minister Kathleen Wynne admitted for the first time that the provincial government was playing an active role.”

“Tabuns says the Minister needs to sit down with concerned people before granting any approvals for transport of the radioactive steam generators on public roads and waterways. Wynne refused to make the commitment, though.”

According to the Hansard transcripts:

Mr. Peter Tabuns: My question is for the Minister of Transportation. Ontarians, First Nations, environmental experts, mayors and US senators all oppose the transport of radioactive steam generators from Kincardine to Owen Sound on public roads and then across the Great Lakes to Sweden. Each generator exceeds acceptable safe standards for radioactivity shipped in one vessel. Does the Minister of Transportation support this unnecessary and dangerous plan which so many experts and community leaders oppose?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I think the member opposite knows full well that the rules and regulations fall within the federal government’s purview. Obviously we have regulations and safety precautions in the province of Ontario. All of those rules will be followed, but I think the fundamental question about the transportation and the disposition of these materials has to do with federal government legislation. I think that the member opposite would do well to talk with his federal counterparts.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I think the minister may have washed her hands of this far too soon. First the Minister of Energy says that the shipment is a federal issue, even though low-level nuclear waste has always been a provincial responsibility, and now the Minister of Transportation says it has nothing to do with her authority, even though the Bruce Power website states that transport permits are required from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation and discussions are already being held with your ministry. That sort of seems to me, Minister, like you have some connection to this decision. When will the government stop covering up their involvement on this issue and start meeting with local citizens, First Nations—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d just ask the honourable member to withdraw the comment, please.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I will withdraw. When will the government be open about this issue and start meeting with local citizens, First Nations and mayors who are so concerned about this proposed shipment of waste?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I was quite clear that we will adhere to and we will honour the rules and regulations that are in place on behalf of the provincial government. We will make sure that every single one of those is followed. We are absolutely committed to working in collaboration with all levels of government on an important issue such as this one, but at the end of the day, the overarching concern, the overarching issue of how to deal with the disposition of waste and the safety issues concerned has to rest with the federal government. We are partners, obviously, in the transportation; the roads are our responsibility. We have some of the safest roads in North America. We will keep them that way and we will work in partnership with the federal government.

The news report is at The transcript can be found at