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Outcry over secret trucking of weapons grade nuclear waste to South Carolina

secret-agent-SmWeapons-grade nuclear waste shipments to U.S. prompt outcry  Trucks expected to carry radiation-truckcasks containing highly enriched uranium and radioactive isotopes  CBC News Sep 05, 2016 A highly secretive plan to ship weapons-grade nuclear waste from a federal lab northwest of Ottawa to the United States is drawing ire in some of the southern Ontario and American communities along the potential route.

Radioactive waste from the former Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. laboratory in Chalk River, Ont., a major but dwindling world supplier of medical isotopes that is now run by a private consortium, is set to be transported in liquid form to a site in Savannah River, S.C., for processing and disposal. The route could take it through Ontario’s fruit-rich Niagara Region, or possibly even through the border crossing at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., into Michigan, according to a lawsuit trying to stop the shipments. Thelawsuit was filed in a U.S. federal court last month by a coalition of American environmental and nuclear watchdog groups. …….

Kept secret from emergency personnel

The plan is for about 150 shipments by truck to South Carolina, a minimum distance of nearly 1,700 kilometres from Chalk River, which is 180 km northwest of Ottawa. Each shipment would carry four 58-litre steel containers placed inside a larger steel and lead tube, carrying liquid radioactive waste including isotopes of cesium, iodine, strontium and plutonium, according to the U.S. lawsuit.

The waste would also contain a modest but dangerous quantity of highly enriched uranium, which can be used to make a nuclear bomb, the lawsuit states.

The waste is a byproduct of making molybdenum-99, a medical isotope used in diagnostic tests of organs and other body parts.

The Niagara area’s regional government passed a motion last year opposing the shipments…….

One problem raised by opponents is that, for security reasons, the route through Canada and the timetable for shipments are being kept under tight secrecy — so secret that local emergency responders haven’t been kept in the loop.

“There would be no notice given, but of course it would be our first responders, my friends, my neighbours, working in our volunteer force and in our emergency services, that would be exposed… in case there was an accident,” Hodgson said, adding that even his local fire chief only found out through the media.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the federal nuclear safety regulator, approved the steel tube design last year for transporting the nuclear waste, but full environmental assessments have not been conducted in either Canada or the U.S., opponents complain. ……

September 7, 2016 - Posted by | Canada, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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