Stop Radioactive Nuclear Shipments on the Great Lakes

  • By: The Council of Canadians
  • Target: Ontario Ministers of Transportation, the Environment and Energy; Federal Ministers of Natural Resources and the Environment
We know how dangerous nuclear power can be -- if anything goes wrong with the handling or storage of radioactive materials, widespread disaster follows. We can't afford risky radioactive shipments to take place in one of North America's most cherished ecosystems -- the Great Lakes.

Yet the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) approved a plan to ship 16 radioactive steam generators on the Great Lakes, even though First Nation communities, city mayors, US senators, environmental groups and social justice organizations oppose the shipment.

It's not too late to stop this shipment and protect the Great Lakes and the environment, wildlife and people who live nearby: before the shipment is made, the company must get permits from municipalities along the travel route, including many in Canada.

Tell the governments of Canada and Ontario to stand up for the safety and protection of the public and our shared environment by banning all nuclear shipments on the Great Lakes.

**UPDATE: Bruce Power has withdrawn its application to ship the 16 nuclear generators across the Great Lakes BUT reapplication is still possible. Let's keep the pressure on!
Dear Ministers Wynne, Wilkinson, Duguid, Paradis and Kent:

I am writing to demand that the governments of Canada and Ontario to stand up for the safety and protection of the public and our shared environment by banning all nuclear shipments on the Great Lakes.

[Your comments will be inserted here.]

On Friday February 4th, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission approved an application from Bruce Power to ship 16 bus-size radioactive steam generators from Owen Sound, Ontario to Nyk÷ping, Sweden.

In April 2010, Bruce Power applied for a special licence with the CNSC because the shipment failed to meet packaging requirements set out in the CNSC's Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations (PTNSR). The radioactivity of the steam generators is 50 times greater than the legal limits set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency's Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material.

This will set a dangerous precedent for radioactive waste shipments on the Great Lakes and will pave the way for the transport of more than 100 million pounds of highly radioactive waste currently stored on site at the Bruce, Pickering and Darlington nuclear power plants.

The nuclear industry is now considering disposal sites in Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario which would mean approximately 19,080 road shipments through the most densely populated areas of Ontario. Shipping across the Great Lakes rather than on the road would avoid vote-rich areas -- so there is more at stake here than meets the eye.

There has been widespread opposition to this plan from city mayors, senators, First Nation communities, local residents along the planned shipment route, including communities in Europe, and social justice, environmental and women's organizations. Public consultation has been inadequate and many questions remain unanswered. An environmental assessment was conducted in 2006 that approved leaving the steam generators on site but Bruce Power and the CNSC argues that they don't need a new EA to ship this waste to Europe.

The Great Lakes holds nearly 20% of the world's freshwater. They provide drinking water to 40 million people in surrounding areas. This shipment poses a serious threat to the Great Lakes, the North Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and other bodies of water. The Great Lakes are part of the global commons (a shared entity), a public trust and should be a protected bioregion. Any harm to water is a harm to the whole including present and future generations. To date, federal and provincial governments have failed to take responsibility for this shipment. I urge the governments of Canada and Ontario to stand up for the safety and protection of the public and our shared environment by banning all nuclear shipments on the Great Lakes.
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