Nuclear Waste Shipment May Brush Wolfe Island Shores

Published on: 2010/07/12 - in News

The Welland Canal linking Lake Erie and Lake OntarioLast April, Bruce Power contacted the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission – Canada’s nuclear regulator – to request a licence to ship low-level radioactive generators from its Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on Lake Huron to Sweden.

The 1,760 tonne shipment of 16 radiation-laced steel steam generators are being transported to Sweden where an estimated 90 per cent of the metals will be cleansed and resold. The remaining materials would be too radioactive for recycling and so would be returned back to the Bruce plant for containment until they are no longer dangerous.

Mike Bradley, the Mayor of Sarnia – where the shipment would travel through in September – has been particularly vocal in his opposition to the plan.

Bradley, along with two Michigan state representatives and a number of native leaders and environmental groups, has signed a petition to stop the shipment. The document expresses their concern about the risk to public safety and anger at the lack of transparency.

If approved, this shipment requires a licence because of its size and its level of radioactivity.

Other shipments of hazardous materials have been shipped through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River in the past, including some that were radioactive, however this shipment requires a licence due to its size and level of radioactivity.

If the voyage gets approved, then according to the Great Lakes – St Lawrence Seaway navigations map below, the radioactive shipment will travel along the length of Wolfe Island’s southeast shore.

The decommissioned generators are more than 30 years old and their replacement is part of a refurbishment project at the Bruce plant. Currently they are contained in a concrete warehouse where workers can only be near them for short periods of time due to radioactivity.

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Resource: Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway Navigation Map

Photo (source) by DB King