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« Help stop radioactive steam generator shipment on the Great Lakes! | Main | Bi-national environmental coalition demands U.S. Dept. of Transportation scrutinize risks of radioactive waste ship on Great Lakes »
Friday
Oct012010

7 Great Lakes States U.S. Senators object to radioactive waste shipment from Canada to Sweden

Seven U.S. Senators from Great Lakes States -- Russell Feingold (D-WI), Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Durbin (D-IL, Assistant Senate Majority Leader), and Charles Schumer (D-NY) -- have written to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Canadian federal government, expressing serious concerns about a proposed shipment of 16 radioactive steam generators from Bruce Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario to Sweden for "recycling" into consumer products. The shipment, on board a single ship, would violate International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) limits for the quantity of radioactivity aboard a single vessel. The shipment would travel via Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and connecting rivers (St. Clair, Detroit, the Welland canal, and St. Lawrence), and then across the Atlantic Ocean (see route map). Shockingly, Bruce Power's CEO, Duncan Hawthorne, has stated that there is no emergency plan for dealing with the sinking of the ship, stating there would be plenty of time to determine what to do once the ship sank. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, as well as the US DOT PHMSA, must approve permits for the shipment before it can commence. PHMSA has recently been the subject of severe criticism for oil pipeline leak and natural gas pipeline explosion disasters, as well as for the close ties between its leadership and companies involved in these disasters. Beyond Nuclear, along with a coalition of environmental groups, has called upon PHMSA to conduct a full environmental analysis on the proposed shipment, in order to fulfill its National Environmental Policy Act federal legal obligations, before permitting the shipment to enter U.S. territorial waters on the Great Lakes -- 20% of the world's surface fresh water, drinking supply for 40 million in the U.S., Canada, and numerous Native American/First Nations, and regional engine for one of the biggest economies on the planet.