Waste Transportation

The transportation of radioactive waste already occurs, but will become frequent on our rails, roads and waterways, should irradiated reactor fuel be moved to interim or permanent dump sites.



PHMSA pledges to comply with NEPA in letter to U.S. Senators

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has pledged to seven U.S. Senators that it intends to fully comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before approving a Canadian radioactive steam generator shipment through U.S. territorial waters on the Great Lakes. PHMSA's Administrator, Cynthia L. Quarterman, wrote to U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on November 8, 2010. Feingold led the effort, that included six other Democratic Senators from Great Lakes states (Durbin from IL, Levin and Stabenow from MI, Casey from PA, and Schumer and Gillibrand from NY), to question and express concerns about the proposed shipment of 16 radioactive steam generators from the Bruce nuclear power plant on the Lake Huron shoreline of Ontario, via Lakes Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario and the rivers and waterways that connect them, across the Atlantic Ocean, to Sweden for "recycling" into consumer products. While PHMSA's pledge to comply with NEPA is welcome, the broad international environmental coalition opposing this shipment and the "recycling" of radioactive waste continues to call for a careful and comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement to be performed, rather than a lesser Environmental Assessment and "Finding of No Significant Impact" (FONSI) rubberstamp. In addition, the PHMSA letter to Sen. Feingold listed 17 instances of "[radioactive] nuclear power plant large components [having] been transported in U.S. waters" -- although some of these shipments were previously known to the public, some of them were not, including a 2001 radioactive steam generator shipment on Lake Michigan from Kewaunee nuclear power plant in northern Wisconsin to Memphis, TN.


Victory, for now: Bruce Power postpones radioactive steam generator shipment on Great Lakes till next spring

The Owens Sound, Ontario Sun Times reports that Bruce Power has decided to postpone its proposed shipment of 16 school bus sized, 100 ton radioactive steam generators until the spring. This represents a huge grassroots environmental victory. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission had planned to simply rubberstamp the risky proposal several months ago, until a groundswell of resistance in the U.S., Canada, and numerous Native American First Nations put the brakes on! See Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section for more detailed information.


Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative submits powerful comments to CNSC opposing radioactive waste shipment

GLSLCI's logo.As announced in a media release, on November 22nd, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI), a binational coalition of over 70 mayors from Quebec, Ontario and the eight Great Lakes States who work to protect, restore and promote the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, submitted strong comments to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in opposition to Bruce Power's application for a permit to ship 16 radioactive steam generators from Ontario to Sweden via the Great Lakes, connecting rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean for so-called "recycling" into consumer products. Additional information, including earlier submissions by GLSLCI to CNSC, are posted at GLSLCI's website.

GLSLCI's major conclusions are: an accident with this proposed shipment has the potential to exceed Canadian federal standards for radioactivity in drinking water; the proposed shipment exceeds the international allowable safety limits for total amount of radioactivity on a single ship; the environmental review is flawed; the continued difficulty in estimating the radioactivity of the shipment is cause for reevaluation and caution; the public participation process is flawed; emergency preparedness measures need several additions and upgrades to better respond to local conditions; the apparent reversal of burden of proof on environmental safety continues, whereby, ironically, CNSC staff appears to be taking the lead in defending the shipment proposal's merit and safety, rather than Bruce Power; the test of "equivalent safety" in light of the various international safety exemptions requested does not seem to have been met; this proposed shipment is not routine, it appears to be setting the Canadian precedent for the transport, export and processing of used radioactive equipment on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. GLSLCI's ultimate conclusion is that, "Taken together, the above conclusions suggest that the environmental impacts continue to be underestimated, the process has been flawed, the shipment presents a precedent and that the original and revised reports fail to provide and present adequate information to enable the CNSC to render an informed decision on whether or not to allow the Bruce Power shipment to proceed," leading it to urge the CNSC to not approve the shipment.


U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow thanked for defending Great Lakes

U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie StabenowBeyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps has thanked U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (Democrats from Michigan) for defending the Great Lakes against radioactive waste shipping risks in an op-ed published today in the Muskegon Chronicle. Although the Canadian radioactive steam generator shipment at issue would not ply the waters of Lake Michigan (it would originate in Ontario and travel eastward), the Port of Muskegon itself has been targeted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, under its Yucca Mountain, Nevada dump plan, for barge shipments of high-level radioactive waste. The irradiated nuclear fuel would have been shipped from Palisades nuclear power plant, on the waters of Lake Michigan, to Muskegon for loading onto a train. In 2002, Sen. Stabenow voted against the Yucca dump due in part to this risky proposal. In 2009, President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu cancelled the Yucca dump. 


Dr. Gordon Edwards submits outstanding comments to CNSC opposing radioactive steam generator shipping and "recycling" plan

Dr. Gordon EdwardsDr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, has shown yet again why he was awarded the Nuclear-Free Future Award in 2006 ("for his enduring role in demystifying nuclear technology helping the public to understand its radioactive predicament") with his "Supplementary Comments on the Proposed Transport of Steam Generators" submitted to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on November 22nd.