Coalition Calls for the Halt of Radioactive Steam Generator Shipment

Media Release: August 18, 2010

OTTAWA, ON & BUFFALO, NY – In a letter to U.S., Canadian, and Indigenous leaders last week, Great Lakes United called for a halt to the planned shipment of 1700 metric tonnes of radioactive waste through the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River later this year.
This fall, Bruce Power plans to ship 16 radioactive steam generators from Owen Sound, Ontario to a Studsvik facility in Sweden. Each generator weighs 110 metric tonnes and contains over 50 trillion becquerels of long-lived man-made radioactive materials, including five isotopes of plutonium. In Sweden, Studsvik plans to melt up to 90 percent of the radiation-laced metal and sell it as 'clean' scrap intended for unrestricted use.

"We don't want to see consignments of radioactive waste from old nuclear reactors crossing the Great Lakes without prior notification to municipalities and proper community consultation," said Derek Stack, Executive Director of Great Lakes United. "These shipments will establish a dangerous precedent."

Over 60 NGOs have signed a petition opposing the shipments. Last week Great Lakes United sent a copy of the petition along with a letter to leaders on both sides of the border asking them to use their authority to stop these shipments.

"In a 2005 Environmental Impact Assessment, Bruce Power said these steam generators were radioactive waste and would be stored permanently on-site, so there is already an alternative plan which has been approved; the shipments are completely unnecessary," said Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

In Canada, Great Lakes United’s letter was sent to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec, and officials of the Chiefs of Ontario. In the United States , the letter went to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, the Secretaries of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, and officials of the National Congress of American Indians. The letter was also sent to the chairs of the International Joint Commission.

Kay Cumbow with Michigan-based Citizens for Alternative to Chemical Contamination said, "We have to act now to safeguard our precious waterways for future generations."

Bowing to public pressure, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission recently agreed to a one-day public hearing in Ottawa on September 29 on this issue. Intervenors may give oral or written submissions; they must notify the CNSC of their intentions by September 13. Below is a link to register.

Register for the public hearing:



Derek Stack
Great Lakes United

Gordon Edwards
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

Kay Cumbow
Citizens for Alternative to Chemical Contamination

Michael Keegan
Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes