Letter to Canada’s Environment Minister

** P.S. on Nov. 29th: I need to either pull this posting off, or revamp it extensively. We have a new Env. Minister, & there are other actions I'd recommend in terms of contacting Cdn politicians. No time to fix this right now, but I will do so soon!! If you are in a hurry, do write to (federal) Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis, the federal & (Ontario) provincial Env. Ministers, your own federal Member of Parliament, your provincial Member of Parliament - write letters to the editor, & so on!! Make noise, in other words. Again, I will try to get to revamping this posting soon....

Please see the blog post entitled “Radioactive Cutlery, Anyone?” for a full explanation of the purpose of this letter.

It was Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, who drafted this letter.

I have sent a copy to our federal Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, & also to the other Canadian federal party leaders, under my own name (with the explanation that I support Dr. Edwards’s concerns).

I have also sent it to my federal MP (Member of Parliament). If you don’t know who your (Canadian) federal MP is, go here to find out her/his name & contact info.

Then, please send a letter of your own! By all means, use your own words…

And use that blog post “Radioactive Cutlery, Anyone?” to find some Web links so you can read up on the issue of shipping radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes, & sending radioactive waste to a company that will ensure it winds up in consumer goods - & maybe the Baltic Sea…

Letter to:

The Honourable Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment Les Terrasses de la Chaudière 10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3. Email: <Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca> Dear Mr. Prentice: In 2005, Bruce Power submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment on the Refurbishment of two Bruce A reactors, Unit 1 and Unit 2.  This EA was accepted following the publication of a Final Screening Report by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in 2006. In the EA documents, both Bruce Power and CNSC stated that the 16 steam generators to be removed from the reactors during refurbishment would be classified as radioactive waste and would be stored on site at the Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) owned and operated by OPG (Ontario Power Generation). In fact it was stated by both bodies that the steam generators could not be recycled because they were radioactive waste. Now Bruce Power has announced plans to send these 16 steam generators, each weighing about 100 tonnes, through the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Sweden, where the steam generators would be disassembled and most of the metal would be melted down by the Studsvik company and sold as scrap metal for unrestricted use. This recent change of plans has greatly altered the context of the original environmental assessment, as the transport of the steam generators, the disassembly and melting of the metal, and the return of up to 25 percent of the most radioactive solid material back to the Bruce peninsula, now poses potential environmental impacts for many communities in the Great Lakes basin as well as those along the shores of the St. Lawrence River and around the Baltic Sea.  It also raises important questions about the import and the export of radioactive waste from Canada and the environmental impact of further contaminating the world's scrap metal supply with man-made radioactive materials such as plutonium, cobalt-60, cesium-137, carbon-14, and many others. Great concern has been expressed about these shipments by organizations in Canada and the United States of America. The CNSC has admitted that international regulations cannot be adhered to in the case of these shipments because of the lack of prescribed and approved containers and the fact that the total amount of radioactivity in the proposed shipments exceeds the maximum permissible amount prescribed by the IAEA by a wide margin. On an even more fundamental level, does the Government of Canada in fact allow the export of radioactive waste from Canada, or the import of radioactive waste from other countries? The CNSC originally intended to grant a licence for this shipment without any public process, but the public reaction has been so great on both sides of the border that CNSC has now arranged for two days of hearings (September 28 and 29) for which there have been almost 80 interveners, 40 of them prepared to make oral submissions.  However, we do not feel that two days of rushed hearings, with each party having 10 minutes to speak, and no real opportunity to explore the many intricate questions that arise in this context, nor to question the proponents or the regulators as to their assumptions and methodology, nor to address in a meaningful way the larger questions of radioactive contamination of the Baltic Sea, or the alarming increase in radioactively contaminated scrap metal in the world, or the return journey overland from Halifax of 400 tonnes of the more highly radioactive residues, occupying a volume of about 100 cubic metres. We therefore ask you, as Minister of the Environment, to require a new Environmental Assessment process to be launched to address the full range of questions surrounding the proposed shipment of 16 radioactive steam generators to Sweden for the purpose of “recycling” the contaminated metal. Yours very truly, Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. cc. Michael Ignatieff, Liberal leader <ignatieff.m@parl.gc.ca> Jack Layton, NDP leader <laytoj@parl.gc.ca> Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Québécois leader <Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca> Elizabeth May, Green Party leader <emay@greenparty.ca>