Deadline passes for steam generators

Author: 
Scott Dunn
Source: 
The Sun Times
Date published: 
Sat, 2012-02-04

Bruce Power’s licence to transport steam generators containing radiation for recycling expired Friday.

The nuclear power generator has not reapplied and said in a news release Friday it will do so “when it’s appropriate.”

It also said there is “no urgency” to ship the generators.

Company spokesman John Peevers declined to answer questions about it.

“Bruce Power continues to believe recycling offers the best environmental solution for reducing our footprint and is something we remain entirely committed to,” the company said in a statement.

If Bruce Power applies to renew its licence, the Canadian Nuclear Safety and Control Act requires the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to hold another public hearing, the Council of Canadians said in a news release this week.

Interveners at hearings in September 2010 decried the lack of an environmental assessment despite changes to original plans of leaving the waste on site.

“This is an opportunity for the CNSC to begin a needed shift in Great Lakes governance by genuinely listening to public input and consulting with First Nations,” council chair Maude Barlow said in the release.

Mayors, U.S. senators, First Nation communities, residents and environmental groups opposed the plans, according to the council statement.

“If Bruce Power wants to forge ahead with this plan, the CNSC should respect the public’s will and stop the shipment,” Barlow said in the release.

Last March, Bruce Power announced it would delay its shipment plan to continue discussions with First Nations, Metis and others seeking additional information.

Peevers allowed the company could apply for another one-year licence from the CNSC if the shipments weren’t made in time.

Last May, Peevers said plans to transport the 16 bus-sized, decommissioned generators were on hold.

At that time Bruce Power withdrew its application for United States Department of Transportation approval to ship 16 radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes, bound for Sweden.

“The steam generators are safely stored in a building on the Bruce Power site,” the company statement said Friday.

More than 60 non-governmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and Great Lakes United, have called for a halt to Bruce Power’s shipment plan pending a full-blown environmental assessment.

The CNSC approved the shipment. It confirmed Friday the company has not applied for a new licence.

A spokesman said Friday by e-mail: “Should an application be received, the Commission would need to determine the process it would follow. It is premature at this time to speculate on the process that would be selected and the timing.”

Critics say they fear the plan will set a dangerous precedent for shipping nuclear waste through the Great Lakes and have raised concerns about potential threats to human health and the environment.

But Bruce Power argues it’s being environmentally responsible by shipping the generators, a plan supported by its “neighbouring communities” in Grey, Bruce and Huron counties. Each 100-tonne generator, containing four grams of radioactive substances, the company said, would be transported by road to Owen Sound, then make the rest of their journey by ship.

Studsvik Nuclear AB in Nyköping was to recycle 90% of the steel from the generators and return the rest to Bruce Power. It would be stored at the Western Waste Management Facility.

“Since Bruce Power’s application in April, 2010, more steam generators from around the world have been sent to Studsvik’s facility in Sweden for recycling, demonstrating that other companies share the view that recycling is the right thing to do,” the company said in its statement Friday.

            

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