Casey Concerned Over Proposed Shipment of Radioactive Material Through the Great Lakes

Casey Concerned Over Proposed Shipment of Radioactive Material Through the Great Lakes
 
Joins group of senators in writing a letter to Dept. of Transportation and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
 
WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey joined a group of seven senators expressing concern over a proposed shipment of radioactive material through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway by a Canadian Company, Bruce Power Inc.  The letters were sent to Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, Marc Leblanc, Secretary of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment for Environment Canada.  The senators sent the letters in reaction to Bruce Power’s proposal to ship radioactively-contaminated nuclear steam generators through the Great Lakes and United States territory.
 
In the letter to the DOT, the senators wrote, “The Great Lakes are an invaluable resource to our states, providing drinking water to millions and supporting robust economies.  We urge you to comply with both the letter and spirit of the law and reject any proposal that does not protect the Great Lakes or comply with U.S. and international standards.”
 
The senators wrote that the proposed shipment would enter U.S. waters and therefore urged the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) to comply fully and transparently with the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Act’s requirement that the agency “protect against the risk to life, property, and the environment that are inherent in the transportation of hazardous material in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce.”
 
The proposed shipment of sixteen radioactively-contaminated nuclear steam generators would require several exemptions from international radioactive shipping standards because the shipment would exceed the amount of radioactivity allowed for a single shipment and would not comply with current shipping container requirements. 
 
In the letter to Canadian officials, the senators wrote, “While we understand that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s approval is likely imminent, we believe significant questions remain regarding the shipment.  We seek assurances that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Minister of the Environment are conducting thorough and complete reviews of the proposed shipment and data, strictly adhering to international standards, and considering safer alternatives to radioactive shipments through the Great Lakes and contributing radioactive material to the international metal market.”
 
The senators also noted that this decision appears to set a significant new precedent for the use of the Great Lakes for the shipment of radioactive waste, including potentially high-level radioactive wastes. 
 
This shipment of sixteen radioactive steam generators, each weighing close to 100 tons, would be shipped through the Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River before heading across the Atlantic Ocean to Sweden.  Much of the metal from the generators would be melted down and sold as “clean” scrap metal for unrestricted use in commercial products.  This metal is still potentially radioactively-contaminated and such an operation is not authorized in North America.  Any remaining metal would be shipped back to Bruce nuclear power plant in Ontario for on-site storage and/or disposal.

October 7th, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | No Comments