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NEWS: What’s happening with the Bruce Power shipments on the Great Lakes?

CBC reports and numerous other media outlets are now reporting that, “(On May 13), Bruce Power has withdrawn its request to U.S. authorities to transport 16 decommissioned nuclear steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway to Sweden…”

TIMELINE FOR SHIPMENTS? Anytime, it would seem. CBC reports, “Bruce spokesman Steve Cannon said no timeline has been set for when Bruce Power might reapply in the United States.” The Owen Sound Sun Times reports, “Spokesman John Peevers says the company’s shipment plan has been put on hold — it is not cancelled — and Bruce Power’s goal remains to ship the decommissioned, school bus-sized vessels to a recycling plant in Sweden. …Peevers said it is ‘hard to say’ whether or not the shipments will still go ahead this year. A transport licence, granted to Bruce Power in February by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, is valid for only one year. …’We always have the option of reapplying.'” The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reports, “The bottom line, Cannon says, is that the withdrawal of the application shouldn’t be ‘read more into, other than what it is. In March, we made the announcement to delay plans. We’re not going to continue with that application until we (have) a set timeline,’ he says”

ADEQUATE CONSULTATIONS? In short, no. CBC reports, “Cannon said this proves to First Nations communities (as well as environmental critics and local municipalities) that Bruce Power is serious about addressing their concerns.” The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reports, “Cannon says the company is not conducting open houses or public meetings, but rather meeting parties ‘as they want to receive the information, in individual settings.’ CKTB News in St. Catharines adds, “Peevers says the company has had private, face-to-face meetings with groups with ‘legitimate concerns’. He wouldn’t say how many of meetings had taken place or who had attended.”

WHOSE PERMISSION IS NEEDED? It would appear that at least Canada, the United States, and Sweden have to approve the shipments. CBC reports, “The Ontario private nuclear generating company needs permission from both Canada and the U.S. before proceeding.” Permission was granted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in February. The Owen Sound Sun Times reports, “(Peevers said), ‘We didn’t think it made sense or demonstrated good faith to be proceeding with the regulatory process at the same time as we’re answering questions and engaging with these groups, so we’ve just put it on hold until we have a better idea on when we might ship.'” Though not being reported yet in Canadian media, on May 17, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority reported that they had “decided to approve the shipment of sixteen steam generators from Bruce Power to the Studsvik Nuclear plant in Nykoping, Sweden.”

REASONS FOR THE DELAY? The speculation is that it relates directly to the strong opposition to the shipments, but also to the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The CBC reports, “They’re (Bruce Power) saying after their announcement…they mentioned they’re going to be consulting with native groups. But we’re wondering why they didn’t do that in the first place?’ wondered Joe Delaronde (of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake). He believes concern around nuclear waste — following the nuclear accident in Japan — might have prompted Bruce Power’s decision. …Delaronde said Mohawks are skeptical as is the mayor of Sarnia, an Ontario community on the Great Lakes. ‘It’s a false retreat. All they’re doing is reacting to the fact that there has been an uprising in the Great Lakes from so many groups and organizations and they have every intention of pursuing this,’ said Mike Bradley. (And) the head of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility believes the crisis in Japan is the reason why Bruce Power is further delaying the shipment. ‘I think Fukushima was a wake-up shock to people about the possibility of spills of radioactive material into the environment,’ said Gordon Edwards.”

WHO IS OPPOSING THE SHIPMENTS? The Owen Sound Sun Times notes, “More than 60 non-governmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and Great Lakes United (and the Council of Canadians), have called for a halt to Bruce Power’s shipment plan pending a full-blown environmental assessment.” CBC reports, “Along with Mohawks in Akwasasne and Tyendinaga, Kahnawake Mohawks have led the protest against the shipments.” For more on our campaign against these shipments, please go to http://canadians.org/greatlakes.