ACTION ALERT: Voice your concern to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regarding Bruce Power's plan to ship radioactive steam generators across the Great Lakes

Jul 21 2010

Bruce Power plans to ship 16 radioactive steam generators out of Owen Sound Harbour, via the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, to a recycling facility in Sweden. Bruce Power has already secured approvals from the federal government, which owns Owen Sound's harbour, to store the generators on its land and ship them out of its port. An application for a licence to ship the steam generators is currently before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), due to the cargo's size and level of radioactivity. According to the Owen Sound Sun Times (July 12, and July 15, 2010), if approved, it would be the first time a licence has been issued to ship nuclear waste across the Great Lakes. Once the radioactive waste is onboard the ship, there is a concern that it would no longer be Bruce Power's responsibility in the event of an accident during transport, but that of the Swedish company. The CNSC advised the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) that, to date, there has been no final determination by the CNSC for the process for the approval, but a technical review is currently underway. However, according to the Toronto Star (July 11, 2010), the CNSC has designated responsibility for the decision on whether the shipment will proceed to just one person, the director of the commission’s Transport Licensing and Strategic Support Division.

While there is no set deadline for the submission of public comments, CNSC staff have advised CELA that comments are needed as soon as possible, and that the proposal is currently undergoing technical review. Please take a moment, as soon as possible, to submit public comments to the CNSC to express your concern over Bruce Power's plan to ship radioactive generators across the Great Lakes to Sweden. Comments, and questions, can be sent to:
            Attention: Mr. Marc Drolet
            Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
            Tel: 613 947 0442 or toll free 1-800-668- 5284

In your comments to the CNSC, you may want to consider including some of the following points:

• The shipment of radioactive waste through the Great Lakes, presents a risk to public safety and the environment, through the emission of penetrating gamma radiation, and the possibility of an accidental release of radioactive contaminants that give off harmful alpha and beta radiation.
• If Bruce Power’s proposal is approved and a license is issued by the CNSC, this would set an undesirable precedent for future shipments of radioactive waste across the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and across the Atlantic Ocean.
• The clean up of Canadian waters, in the event of an accident during transport, should not be left in the responsibility of Studsvik, the Swedish company that will recycle the material once it arrives in Sweden.
• Given the risk of harm to human health and to the environment, and given the international concern in relation to Bruce Power’s proposal, the decision of whether the shipment will proceed should not rest with the CNSC, the Canadian nuclear regulator, alone. Part of the decision-making process under the CNSC should provide for participation by members of the public, all three levels of Canadian government, as well as binational consultation. We urge the CNSC to provide for public participation and transparency in the decision-making process by considering comments from the public and by holding comprehensive hearings on the licence application.

Also, as you may have seen in the notice recently circulated by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), more than 50 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and groups from a dozen nations, and over 150 individuals throughout and beyond the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway have signed onto a resolution voicing their opposition to Bruce Power's plan to transport radioactively contaminated equipment to Sweden.

Please consider taking a moment to sign on to the resolution opposing Bruce Power's plan to ship radioactive generators across the Great Lakes to Sweden. The resolution can be accessed online.

For more information:

            The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility -
            Nuclear Information and Resource Service -
            Greenpeace Canada -
            Northwatch -
            Great Lakes United -
            Canadian Environmental Law Association -

For more information from the CNSC, contact Mr. Marc Drolet at:
            tel: 613 947 0442

For more information from Bruce Power, members of the public can contact Bruce Power directly, at:
            Mailing address: P.O. Box 3000 177 Tie Rd., R.R. 2,
            Tiverton, Ontario N0G 2T0
            Main Switchboard: (519) 361-2673 or toll free at 1-866-748-4787

For more information from CELA, contact:
            Burgandy Dunn, student-at-law, at:
            Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel,