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Plan to Ship Radioactive Parts Over Great Lakes Condemned

by Richard J. Brennan

OTTAWA—Environmental groups Tuesday condemned plans by Bruce Power to ship radioactive generators across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region to Sweden.

“Do we really want the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence to become routine transportation routes for radioactive debris for decrepit nuclear reactors?” said Kevin Kamps, a researcher for Washington-based Beyond Nuclear. (photo by Flickr user by Marcin Wichary) At a news conference they warned that the private power producer’s proposal to ship 16 100-tonne radioactive generators could be harmful both economically and physically for the region.

“Do we really want the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence to become routine transportation routes for radioactive debris for decrepit nuclear reactors?” said Kevin Kamps, a researcher for Washington-based Beyond Nuclear.

The concerns were raised Tuesday as two days of public hearings by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission began in Ottawa.

Environmental groups and the mayors of more than 100 communities in the affected area oppose the plan to transfer the radioactive waste through Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean, en route to a processing plant in Sweden.

Bruce Power generates about a one-fifth of Ontario’s electricity.

Bruce Power’s original plan involved storing the generators in a cement bunker at its site in Tiverton, Ont., but now it proposes to send the generators to Studsvik, a Swedish company that can reprocess the generators and reduce the amount of waste that would need to be stored.

The remaining waste would then be returned the Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce Power site.

Gordon Edwards, of the Great Lakes United Task Force on Nuclear Power, said the plan would set a precedent.

Sierra Club Canada says the plan contravenes an environmental assessment approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Among the many non-governmental organizations, concerned citizen groups and organizations to speak at the hearing are Sierra Club Canada, Bruce County Council and the Swedish Environmental Movement’s Nuclear Waste Secretariat.

The commission has previously said there is no safety concern involved in issuing a licence to Bruce Power for the shipment.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen told reporters later the nuclear commission is clearly more interested in helping out the nuclear industry than protecting Canadians.

With files from The Canadian Press

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