Broad Coalition Reinforces Opposition to Radioactive Steam Generator Shipment on the Great Lakes

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Michael Keegan, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, (734) 770-1441
Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216

Broad Coalition Reinforces Opposition to Radioactive Steam Generator Shipment on the Great Lakes

OTTAWA, Ontario - A
broad coalition of groups in both the U.S. and Canada took full
advantage of an opportunity provided by the Canadian Nuclear Safety
Commission (CNSC) to voice continued opposition to the shipment of
radioactive steam generators on the Great Lakes. The radioactive waste
shipment from Bruce Nuclear Power Plant near Owen Sound, Ontario to
Studsvik in Sweden – for so-called “recycling” into consumer products --
has generated a groundswell of public opposition on both sides of the
border in the Great Lakes region, as well as overseas.

"The
multitude of interventions and additional comments made should serve to
remind the CNSC that there continues to be broad opposition to this
shipment," said Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great
Lakes in Monroe, Michigan, U.S.A. Keegan serves as U.S. co-chair of the
Great Lakes United (GLU) Green Energy / Nuclear-Free task force.

Great
Lakes United’s “Resolution to Stop the Shipment of Radioactive Steam
Generators on the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence” is posted at http://www.ccnr.org/Resolution_e.pdf. Additional documents can be found at http://www.glu.org/en/campaigns/energy/nuclear/steam-generators.

“Endorsers
of the GLU resolution to stop the shipment of radioactive steam
generators from the Bruce Nuclear Complex through the Great Lakes and
St. Lawrence” is posted at http://www.ccnr.org/Resolution_NGO_sort.pdf.
It includes 7 Aboriginal Organizations, 38 Local Municipal Authorities,
7 Professional Organizations, 14 Peace and Justice Organizations, 23
Environmental Organizations, and 30 Nuclear Watchdog Organizations.

In
addition “Quebec Municipalities that have passed the attached
resolution to stop the shipment of radioactive steam generators from the
Bruce Nuclear Complex through the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence as of
November 4, 2010,” posted at http://www.ccnr.org/Municipality_BW_e.pdf, lists 39 Quebec municipalities that have passed the resolution against the transport.

“We
have also emphasized that Bruce Power’s and CNSC staff’s trivialization
of this proposed shipment’s cargo as so-called ‘low-level’ radioactive
waste, representing ‘no risk’ to the public or environment, is false and
misleading,” said Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear
Responsibility in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Dr. Edwards serves as
Canadian co-chair of the GLU Green Energy / Nuclear-Free task force.

“In
fact, the amount of plutonium-239 inside the 16 steam generators is
enough, in principle, to give more than 52 million atomic workers their
maximum permissible ‘body burden’ of 0.7 micrograms,” Dr. Edwards said.
“And if the other plutonium isotopes inside the steam generators --
plutonium-238, plutonium-240, plutonium-241 and plutonium-242 -- are
factored in, the number of workers that could be overdosed is doubled,”
he added.

A November 15, 2010 media release, “Steam Generators: Radioactive Cargo is Mostly Plutonium,” is posted at http://www.ccnr.org/Media_Release_2010_11_15.pdf.
A backgrounder prepared by Dr. Edwards, entitled “Plutonium in the
Bruce ‘A’ nuclear steam generators,” and submitted as part of the
supplementary comments, is posted at http://www.ccnr.org/SG_plutonium_CNSC.pdf. Dr. Edwards’ supplementary comments to CNSC are posted at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/canada/2010/11/23/broad-coalition-files-supplementary-comments-opposing-radioa.html.

“Bruce
Power’s CEO, Duncan Hawthorne, admitted at CNSC public hearings two
months ago that there is no emergency plan for recovering the ship if it
sinks in the Great Lakes, flippantly adding that there would be plenty
of time to figure out what to do,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.
“But CNSC staff admitted that the welds sealing the radioactivity within
the steam generators are only dependable to a depth of 800 feet
submerged underwater, the exact depth along portions of the Great Lakes
shipment route. This means there is zero safety margin,” Kamps added.

Kevin Kamps’ and Michael Keegan’s supplemental comments are also posted at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/canada/2010/11/23/broad-coalition-submits-supplementary-comments-to-cnsc-oppos.html,
as are those of Ziggy Kleinau, submitted on behalf of the Bruce
Peninsula Environment Group, Inc., which called upon CNSC five years ago
for an independent full panel review on the Bruce nuclear power plant's
refurbishment, the most stringent environmental assessment provided
under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. CNSC has, thus far,
rejected such requests. 

Seven
Democratic U.S. Senators from five Great Lakes states have also called
upon the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipelines and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration to carry out a rigorous environmental
review before permitting the radioactive steam generator shipment to
enter U.S. territorial waters on the Great Lakes. Their letters are
posted at:  http://www.beyondnuclear.org/canada/2010/10/1/7-great-lakes-states-us-senators-object-to-radioactive-waste.html.
Such concern is bipartisan, as Republican U.S. Representative Candice
Miller has called for stringent environmental and security precautions,
stating "With hazardous materials, such as the type that is embedded
within these generators, there must be a zero-tolerance for compromising
our environment.” U.S. Congresswoman Miller’s full statement is posted
at http://candicemiller.house.gov/2010/10/miller-statement-urging-phmsa-to-begin-review-of-bruce-powers-radioactive-materials-shipping-plan-no.shtml, and an earlier statement is posted at http://candicemiller.house.gov/2010/10/miller-us-federal-agency-should-review-bruce-power-ldts-shipping-plan-of-radioactive-materials-now.shtml.

The
Great Lakes represent 20% of the Earth’s surface fresh water, providing
drinking water for 40 million people and driving one of the biggest
regional economies in the world. If approved by CNSC and the U.S.
Department of Transportation’s Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA), the proposed radioactive steam generator
shipment would traverse Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair,
the Detroit River, Lake Erie, the Welland Canal, Lake Ontario, the St.
Lawrence River, and the Atlantic Ocean.

For additional information on this controversial Canadian radioactive steam generator proposal, see http://www.beyondnuclear.org/canada/http://www.ccnr.org/. as well as

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Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

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