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Shipment of nuclear steam generators on Great Lakes sets a dangerous precedent

questions remain about the long-term fate of its radioactive waste material……. the industry faces a major public-relations war whenever it proposes to move radioactive waste.

Plan to ship radioactive generators through Great Lakes draws protest – The Globe and Mail, 29 Sept 10, Bruce Power’s plan to ship radioactive steam generators for recycling in Sweden is raising a storm of protest along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River – a stark reminder for Canada’s nuclear industry that its waste-handling problems remain an obstacle to development.
In a hearing on Tuesday, staff of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission urged a panel to approve Bruce Power’s proposal to remove 16 steam generators from its property on Lake Huron and ship them through the Great Lakes system, down the St. Lawrence River, and then to Sweden for decontamination and processing…

..environmentalists say the shipment would be a troubling precedent by expanding the amount of radioactive waste that is being transported around North America, and municipalities along the route have urged the commission to reject the proposal and force Bruce to store the 100-tonne generators on its site.

Concerns about nuclear waste have long been an Achilles heel for the nuclear industry. Canada has six reactor sites – three power stations in Ontario, one in Quebec, and one in New Brunswick, and the research unit at Chalk River, Ont. They must store their high-level nuclear waste on site in a manner that is meant to be temporary.

Efforts to find a permanent storage site are moving slowly as officials try to build acceptance in communities that might receive the waste, and those through which the waste would be transported. The reaction to the proposed shipment of low-level radioactive waste suggests the scope of the challenge.

In a written submission, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative – a coalition of mayors – urged the commission to reject the plan to ship the generators, saying the municipalities have serious concerns about its potential environmental impact, the process followed and the precedent-setting nature of the proposal. They called for a full environmental assessment…..

The nuclear industry is eager to see new reactors constructed across North America as part of a global nuclear renaissance, but questions remain about the long-term fate of its radioactive waste material……. the industry faces a major public-relations war whenever it proposes to move radioactive waste.

September 29, 2010 - Posted by | Canada, wastes | , , , , , , ,

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