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Radioactive waste shipments through the Great Lakes

Based on Bruce Power’s estimates, the steam generators are approximately 90% plutonium. In particular, the steam generators are approximately 64% plutonium-239. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years.

Why the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Should Stop Bruce Power’s Radioactive Shipments through our Great Lakes | rabble.ca, by Emma Lut, 24 Nov 10, Bruce Power has applied for a licence at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to ship 16 radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway to Sweden.

City mayors, US Senators, environmental groups, First Nations communities and other civil society groups have raised many important concerns about this shipment. Nearly 80 groups provided written submissions and half of them intervened at a public hearing on September 28-29, 2010. The CNSC extended the deadline to November 22 for supplementary submissions and is now poised to make a decision by December 22, 2010…….

The Special Licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Bruce Power has applied for a special licence because they are unable to meet the packaging requirements set out in the CNSC’s Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations. The total radioactive level also exceeds the legal limits set out in International Atomic Energy Agency’s Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material by 6 times.

The Steam Generators are 90% Plutonium

Based on Bruce Power’s estimates, the steam generators are approximately 90% plutonium. In particular, the steam generators are approximately 64% plutonium-239. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years. They have noted that “internal exposure to plutonium is an extremely serious health hazard. It generally stays in the body for decades, exposing organs and tissues to radiation, and increasing the risk of cancer. Plutonium is also a toxic metal, and may cause damage to the kidneys.”

Civil Society Concerns about the Plan

The Great Lakes holds nearly 20% of the world’s freshwater and 95% of North America’s freshwater. They provide drinking water to 40 million people in surrounding areas. The Lakes are a public trust and a commons (a shared entity). There are several significant flaws with the plan that could impact our largest freshwater source

  • It could set a dangerous precedent for regularly shipping radioactive waste that exceeds legal limits through the Great Lakes……
  • The International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH) has noted that radionuclides found in the Great Lakes, including tritium, carbon-14, cesium and long-lived iodine-129, pose a serious health hazard even at low levels. An accident on the Great Lakes would further contribute to radioactivity and pollution in the Great Lakes…
  • • Some First Nation communities and municipalities were not adequately consulted……
  • Bruce Power’s emergency response plans and the CNSC’s accident scenarios are inadequate…….
  • The radioactive metal will be recycled and sold back into consumer markets………….Why the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Should Stop Bruce Power’s Radioactive Shipments through our Great Lakes | rabble.ca

November 30, 2010 - Posted by | environment, USA

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