|Bruce Power's steam generators plan shouldn't trigger full EA
| Two days of CNSC hearings into Bruce Power shipping plan
|Bruce Power: Shipping steam generators safe
Oct 6 1,2010
|Bruce steam generator shipments could be
postponed until spring
| Steam generator shipment delayed by CNSC
|New website focuses on generator recycling
| NEW WEB SITE - www.rightthingtodo.ca
| Owen Sound mayor won't block Bruce Power's shipment
|Steam generator shipment postponed
| Bruce Power granted licence to transport steam generators
Feb 8 ,2011
| Steam generator opponents plan next move
|U.S. steam generator application withdrawn its application
Staff at Canada's nuclear regulation agency are recommending the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission approve Bruce Power's application to ship 16 low-level radioactive steam generators overseas without triggering a full-blown environmental assessment.
In a 28-page report CNSC staff conclude that Bruce Power's proposed emergency plan for the shipments is adequate to protect the health and safety of the public.
" For the protection of the environment, CNSC staff concludes that the environmental and human health risk from a release due to a credible accident during loading and transport would be very low," the Aug. 20 report says.
CNSC recommend the commission tribunal grant Bruce Power a transport licence, to expire in one year, for the shipment of the decommissioned, school bus-sized steam generators through the Great Lakes and on to Sweden.
More than 60 non-governmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and Great Lakes United, have called for a halt to the shipments pending an environmental assessment.
CNSC staff have concluded that an environmental assessment " is not required," the recommendation report says.
The commission tribunal will consider the CNSC staff's report and recommendation, accept submissions from interveners at a public meeting and then issue its decision. The public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Ottawa.
The CNSC staff recommendation to approve the shipments comes as no surprise, as the agency announced in a statement last month that Bruce Power's plan poses " no safety significant issues" to the public, workers or the environment.
That early declaration, before the public meeting into the matter, angered critics who accused the CNSC of prejudicing the public hearing process.
The CNSC, meanwhile, said the commission tribunal will make an independent, transparent and fair final decision.
Bruce Power, in its application to the CNSC, which was also obtained by The Sun Times, says the shipment plan presents " no risk to the public or the communities the steam generators will travel through."
The vessels will be transported by qualified companies, Bruce Power says, and all health, safety and environmental requirements have been met.
" Bruce Power believes the recycling of the material from the steam generators is a correct and reasonable action," Bruce Power's submission says.
CNSC staff are also satisfied with Bruce Power's land and water transportation plan for the steam generators as well as the company's compensatory measures, according to the recommendation to the commission tribunal.
" CNSC staff conclude that appropriate radiation safety measures have been proposed by Bruce Power to protect the health and safety of the workers and the public," the report says.
Staff also say the proposed shipment would comply with applicable national and international regulations.
" CNSC staff performed an evaluation of the inventory of the nuclear substances present and concluded that the activity contained within the steam generator has been adequately estimated," the report says.
The vessels contain 22 isotopes, including plutonium.
By Lynda Cooper, myFM Radio
Public hearings into Bruce Power’s plan to ship decommissioned steam generators to Sweden for recycling, have expanded to include another day.
According to information on the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) website, hearings will be held on in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 28 and Wednesday, Sept. 29.
Among Tuesday’s presentations, are Bruce Power, CNSC staff, Studsvik Nuclear, Bruce County Council, and the Bruce Peninsula Environment Group.
On Wednesday, representatives from the Town of Blue Mountains, Saugeen Ojibway Nations, and the Power Workers' Union will speak.
Written submissions from the Municipalities of Arran- Elderslie, Georgian Bluffs and Kincardine, the South Bruce Impact Advisory Committee, Town of Saugeen Shores, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Grey Bruce District Labour Council, Canadian Nuclear Workers Council, City of Owen Sound, and Grey County Council, will be read.
The hearings will be webcast live at nuclearsafety.gc.ca
By LAURA PAYTON
A Bruce Power plan to ship small amounts of nuclear waste across the Great Lakes to Europe is safe, Canada’s nuclear regulator said Tuesday.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is hearing submissions about a plan to send 16 used steam generators from the Bruce Power nuclear plant in Owen Sound, Ont., to Sweden for recycling.
The generators each weigh about 100 tonnes and contain 4g of low-level radioactive material.
Critics have lined up against the plan and forced public hearings to demand an environmental assessment.
They argue it would set a precedent allowing future shipments of nuclear waste. They’re also scared of the consequences if the ship were to sink, leaving the cargo on the bottom of a lake. And they worry recycling the material will put it into the supply of metals used for consumer goods.
But the plan is safe, CNSC’s chief regulatory officer told the public hearing.
“There would be no impact on the health and safety of the public or the environment,” said Ramzi Jammal.
Opponents say the material is dangerous in part because it’s radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.
“These are man-made materials which are high toxicity alpha-emitters,” said
CNSC hears from both sides
Gordon Edwards, founder of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, explaining they’re more damaging than other kinds of radiation emissions.
But Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s CEO, says people against the plan are misleading the public about the level of danger.
“There are thousands of these radioactive shipments each year – medical, nuclear and industrial,” he said. “This was a very reasonable exercise grossly blown out of all proportion.”
A spokesman from Bruce Power told QMI Agency last week the material is radioactive at such low levels that standing one metre away from it for an hour would expose a person to about as much radiation as one x-ray.
David Shoesmith, a University of Western Ontario professor who’s spent nearly 25 years researching nuclear fuel disposal and containers, says he has no safety concerns about any part of the plan. He says it’s relatively easy to recycle radioactive material.
“It’s perfectly safe in transmission,” he said, adding the probability of it sinking is very low.
But even if the ship sank, “whatever contamination released from it would be diluted to such an enormous extent by the lake that it would be absolutely undetectable... and would not do any damage,” Shoesmith said.
The CNSC will make a ruling on the fate of the shipment in the coming months.
By QMI AGENCY
Bruce Power's plans to send steam generators to Sweden for recycling could be postponed until spring even if the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission allows them to be shipped through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The CNSC held two days of hearings into the proposal two weeks, with opponents of the plans outnumbering proponents. CNSC staff, however, have recommended that the commission grant permission for the plan.
"We really haven't been given any timetable" for a ruling on the matter, Bruce Power spokesman John Peevers said. "The CNSC is now deliberating and we await their decision. As far as timing goes, that sits with them."
Officials at the CNSC could not be reached for comment.
"The St. Lawrence, we're told, is open roughly and generally until Dec. 21 based on weather and past history, so it's something we'll have to look at pending the decision," Peevers said when asked if the company had a timeline for shipping the used generators, which are classified as low-level radioactive waste.
"Whether we would wait that long, we'd obviously want to make sure we could do it safely... if we get early snow or it looks like we might have trouble on the roads then we'd take a look at that. So we're really going to await the commission (decision) and when that comes we'll have to make the assessment whether it makes sense to ship this year or not," Peevers said.
Moving the generators from Bruce Power to Owen Sound, where they will be put on board a ship if the plan is approved, could take more than three weeks, he added.
"Right now we're looking at some options. It could take as much as 22 days... given there may be some bad weather days. But we are also looking at the potential to ship more than one a day, so it could be a short window or it could be a long window."
The company is holding discussion with the Ministry of Transportation about those matters, Peevers said.
Critics of Bruce Power's proposal argue it would set a precedent allowing shipments of nuclear waste through the Great Lakes. They're also concerned about the consequences if the ship carrying the generators were to sink, leaving its cargo on the bottom of a lake.
Bruce Power has said 90% of the steel from the generators can be safely recycled. The remaining 10% would be returned to the company as low-level waste and be stored at the Western Waste Management Facility near Tiverton.
By Lynda Cooper, myFM Radio
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) wants more information before ruling on whether Bruce Power can ship 16 used radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Environmentalists, First Nations and residents along the proposed route are concerned about shipping the school bus-sized steam generators from Owen Sound to Sweden for recycling.
The commission wants more data on the Environmental Impact Assessment, emergency plans, and the amount of radioactivity allowed in shipments.
The CNSC is encouraging the 79 participants in hearings last month in Ottawa to file written submissions by Nov. 22.
Bruce Power has said a person would have to stand beside one of the generators for a few hours to receive the same amount of radiation given off by a chest X-ray.
BY TROY PATTERSON
Kincardine News Staff
Bruce Power launched a new website last week in an attempt to provide a steady flow of accurate information to the public and the media about its plan to ship 16 steam generators to Sweden for recycling.
The purpose of the site - www.rightthingtodo.ca - will be to provide easily accessible, verifiable information to interested people.
“We believe we have a responsibility to minimize the amount of waste we produce while we refurbish our reactors, reducing our environmental footprint. That's why recycling the clean components of steam generators is the right thing to do.” said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s President and CEO.
In a media release, the company said it will "continue to provide the public with facts regarding its plan to reduce the amount of waste and the company’s environment footprint by recycling the outer shell of 16 steam generators."
The website outlines the plan with facts, videos, photos and expert opinions. The website will be updated on a regular basis.
"We will continue to share information with the public throughout this process," added Hawthorne.
Bruce Power spokesperson John Peevers said the website will provide a venue to provide a “lively”, informative site that answers questions people have and is updated as the story develops. The company had planned on putting the website together, adding it was coincidental the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission requested more information from CNSC staff about Bruce Power’s project.
Peevers said some national media outlets misinterpreted the notice, saying the CNSC required more information from Bruce Power, which isn’t the case. The 79 interveners now have 30 days to review the 280page document with information that was resubmitted by CNSC staff.
“Many anti-nuclear groups are spreading misinformation,” said Peevers. “A lot of these groups will oppose everything we do. But you just have to look at the news stories and read the comments to see there’s a lot of people who support what we’re doing.”
Due to the additional work by the CNSC and the extended review period, Peevers said the project “ could potentially be shipped in the spring” if the delays continue, although the decision has yet to be made.
Until then, Bruce Power is hoping to promote the website as a source of information to debunk the hundreds of groups that have signed on to oppose the plan, from Canada and the US.
“ Once people see the facts, we hope they’ll agree this is the right thing to do to recycle (the steam generators) and reduce their environmental footprint,” said Peevers.
A change in mayor has ushered in a different attitude in the mayor's office at city hall towards Bruce Power's plan to ship low-level radioactive steam generators out of the Owen Sound Harbour.
While the city's former mayor, Ruth Lovell Stanners, still harboured concerns over the controversial transportation plan, rookie Mayor Deb Haswell says she feels comfortable with its safety and will be simply monitoring the plan, if approved, to ensure all safety measures are followed.
"If the CNSC ( Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) recognizes that this is a safe transport and the medical officer of health recognizes it as a safe transport, then I will accept that," Haswell said in an interview inside the mayor's office, which she received the keys to on Friday.
She said "everything" she has read so far indicates the proposed shipments will be safe.
She said she plans to meet soon with Bruce Power officials to discuss the entire transportation plan in detail and to ensure it will be carried out safely — from the time the generators enter the city limits until they are shipped out of the Owen Sound Harbour.
Bruce Power has applied to the CNSC for a transport licence to ship 16 decommissioned, school bus-sized steam generators out of the Owen Sound Harbour, through the Great Lakes and to a recycling plant in Sweden.
CNSC staff support the plan, but the commission, which held public meetings in September, has not yet made its decision on whether to grant the licence.
More than 60 non-governmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and Great Lakes United, have called for a halt to the plan pending a full-blown environmental assessment.
Opponents argue, among other things, that sending the nuclear waste through the Great Lakes would set a dangerous precedent. They are also concerned about the consequences if the ship sank, leaving the cargo on the bottom of a lake.
Lovell Stanners, while mayor, expressed concerns about Bruce Power's plan. She later told reporters that she would accept the CNSC's final decision, but never retracted her earlier public comments, even though her council was united in backing the plan.
Haswell, meanwhile, has only expressed concerns related to the integrity of the harbour wall, which is federal government property. She said assurances by Dr. Hazel Lynn, Grey-Bruce's medical officer of health, that the shipments pose little to no risk to human health "carry a lot of weight."
She said she is also satisfied the company that will ship the vessels to Sweden has the proper expertise to carry out a safe transport.
Haswell does say, however, that city council should have been informed of Bruce Power's plan earlier and engaged in early discussions.
The city cannot block Bruce Power from executing its plan because the harbour is federally owned and the CNSC is the lone approval body for the shipment of nuclear components.
However, the city has forwarded recommended safety precautions to the CNSC for approval.
Bruce Power will wait until spring to move 16 used steam generators, considered to be lowlevel nuclear waste, if it gets permission to ship them to Sweden, company spokesman John Peevers said Tuesday.
The company is awaiting a decision from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on its application to transport the huge generators, which each weigh about 100 tonnes and contain an estimated four grams of radioactive material, from the nuclear power complex near Tiverton to Owen Sound, then by ship through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic and Sweden.
Bruce Power also requires approval from agencies in the United States and Sweden, Peevers said.
The CNSC held public hearings into Bruce Power's plans on Sept. 28 and 29 in Ottawa. After those hearings, the commission asked for a supplemental report from its staff and then gave the 79 groups or organizations that participated in the hearings until Nov. 22 to comment on it. The commission expects to make a final decision within 30 working days of that date, CNSC spokesman Aurele Gervais said Monday.
"Given the fact we've always taken safety as our Number 1 priority in everything we do and looking at the weather conditions, we have made a decision that regardless of what comes out from CNSC and when it comes, shipping this year is not going to happen,"Peevers said.
Assuming we get a decision from the CNSC granting our licence" the soonest the generators would be shipped would be the spring, he said.
The company also requires permission to ship the generators through the Great Lakes from a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation and into Sweden from the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI), which supervises all nuclear activities in that country, Peevers said.
"It's never good form for us to prejudge what a regulator will do," he said when asked if the company had any reason to believe permission would be withheld by either the U. S. or Sweden.
Peevers said Bruce Power did not know how long the process would take.
The company has said 90% of the steel from the generators can be safely recycled. The remaining 10% would be returned to the company as low-level waste and be stored at the western waste management facility near Tiverton.
TIVERTON, Feb. 4, 2011
Bruce Power is pleased with the announcement today by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) granting a licence to allow the shipment of steam generators to Sweden for recycling of certain components.
"We always believed this was the right thing to do to reduce our environmental footprint and we are pleased the soundness of our case has been verified by the CNSC and a license has been approved,” said Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO of Bruce Power.
Following the hearing in Ottawa last year, Bruce Power took the extraordinary step to launch an information website to provide the public and stakeholder’s additional factual information on the company’s proposal. Through public opinion polling, Bruce Power found strong public support for the plan to reduce its environmental footprint.
The website can be viewed at www.rightthingtodo.ca.
Safety is our number one priority at Bruce Power and the timing of the shipment will be determined once all of the approvals are in place and conditions are determined to be optimal. At that time Bruce Power will comment on next steps.
For a copy of the full CNSC decision, please go to www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca
About Bruce Power
Bruce Power is a partnership among Cameco Corporation, TransCanada Corporation, BPC Generation Infrastructure Trust, a trust established by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of Energy Professionals.
By PAUL JANKOWSKI
Opponents on both sides of the Canada-U. S. border are continuing efforts to stop the shipment by Bruce Power of 16 decommissioned radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.
Sierra Club Canada was to hold a conference call today to discuss a possible court appeal of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's Feb. 4 decision to grant Bruce Power a licence to transport the generators, which the company and CNSC consider low-level nuclear waste, to Sweden, John Bennett, the club's executive director, said Thursday. The CNSC decision can be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada within 30 days of being handed down, according to Aurele Gervais, the spokesman for the commission.
"We don't know exactly what the legal challenge will be, but lawyers I've talked to sort of preliminary all think there might be some grounds. The point of our conference (call) this week will be to discuss what the grounds might be and then who will actually join the action," Bennett said. "If Sierra Club is reasonably convinced we have a reasonable chance we will undoubtedly be part of that. This fight's not over by any means".
Bennett said while the only avenue left to contest the plan in Canada is a court challenge, Sierra Club was working with "partners in the United States" who are focusing on the process there.
Bruce Power needs permission from regulators in the United States and Sweden before proceeding with its plans to send the huge generators, which weigh 100 tonnes each, to Studsvik Nuclear AB, in Nyköping, Sweden. Studsvik would separate and recycle the uncontaminated steel in the generators and return the rest, an estimated 10%, to Bruce Power for storage at the western waste management facility.
Both Bennett and the Canadian Environmental Law Association referred questions about the American approval process to Kevin Kamps, the radioactive waste watchdog of Beyond Nuclear, a non-profit organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC.
Opponents vow to continue opposition
Kamps said any approval would come from the Pipelines and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA), which he called an “obscure agency” of the Department of Transportation.
“It’s little known actually. I’d never heard of it before this steam generator issue came up,” he said.
Kamps said opponents of Bruce Power’s plans in the U.S. would push for “full environmental impact statement hearing,” which would include public meetings and public comment process. Whether one would be held, he couldn’t really say. PHMSA has in the past decade or more approved “17 waterborne shipments of large radioactive nuclear components,” Kamps said. “Only one of them was on the Great Lakes. It was two steam generators... from northern Wisconsin down to Memphis, Tennessee. So we assume it went through the waterways of Chicago, but definitely on Lake Michigan.”
Kamps said it was “our assumption, not having done the research yet... that PHMSA did a rudimentary environmental assessment and a quick finding of no significant impact, which is in our opinion very much a rubber stamp process” in its earlier approvals.
“Now they’ve got a large amount of attention on both sides of the border and to the best of our ability we’re not going to let them get away with a rubber stamp like that this time.”
“Part of the merit to our argument is they have issued these quick approvals of these past shipments without looking at the inherent risks of waterborne radioactive waste shipments, especially on the Great Lakes,” he said.
One of the concerns Beyond Nuclear has is the precedent the Bruce Power shipment would set, Kamps added. “It’s so large, 16 steam generators. It’s getting exemptions galore from ordinary standards. But it also is a precedent for much worse to follow, which would be high-level radioactive waste shipments.”
The Lake Michigan steam generator shipment is “a good cautionary tale” he said. “It took place in late 2001, it happened very, very quietly. I would even say secretly.” Environmental watchdogs were in the midst of fighting a proposal to set up a high-level radioactive repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada and on high alert for any nuclear shipments “and it went by us without anybody knowing about it. We didn’t find out about it until Bruce Power bragged about it. They said this is not unprecedented, what we’re about to do.”
David Ullrich, the Chicago-based director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, said that group remains opposed to Bruce Power’s plans. He said he has so far been unable to obtain information from the U. S. Department of Transportation about its approval process “because they tell us they haven’t received an application yet.”
Bruce Power spokesman John Peevers said earlier this week that the company has yet to make its applications to American and Swedish regulators.
“We have been asked to appear before a parliamentary committee . . . to talk about the project, which we welcome. So right now we’re kind of focused on that. We see it as a good opportunity to tell the story and present scientificbased factual information.”
The House of Common’s standing committee on natural resources has set aside two days --March 8 and 10 --“to examine the decision of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) concerning the proposed shipment of 1,600 tonnes of radioactive steam generators by Bruce Power, the broader policy framework governing import and export of radioactive waste from Canadian territory, transport of radioactive waste through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, and “recycling” of radioactive metal for free release into the marketplace,” according to the minutes of a committee meeting Nov. 10.
The committee has invited CNSC president Michael Binder, representatives of Bruce Power, Mayor Gaëtan Ruest of Amqui, Que. Ullrich, Patrick Madahbe, the Grand Council chief of the Union of Ontario Indians, and Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility to testify and others may yet be asked to attend, Andrew Lauzon, the clerk of the committee, said.
There has also been opposition in the U.K. to the shipment.
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities, an umbrella group that has received policy support from 75 local governments there, has expressed its “deep alarm” about the plan. “We don’t want them passing by our waters and putting our communities at risk. The waste should remain in Canada and be safely managed there,” NFLA chair Bailie George Regan was quoted as saying in announcing the launch of a campaign to stop the ship from passing through British waters.
Peevers said the ship carrying the generators would travel through “international waters” once it reached the Atlantic until it got to Sweden.
By Denis Langlois
Bruce Power has withdrawn its application to the United States Department of Transportation for approval to ship 16 radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes.
Spokesman John Peevers says the company’s shipment plan has been put on hold— it is not cancelled — and Bruce Power’s goal remains to ship the decommissioned, school bus-sized vessels to a recycling plant in Sweden.
“We remain convinced and believe that this is the right thing to do and recycling these steam generators is going to reduce our environmental footprint, but we recognize there is still questions out there and we want to make sure that everybody has a chance to have their questions answered,” he said Tuesday in an interview.
Bruce Power announced in March that it would delay its shipment plan “to allow for further discussions with First Nations, Metis and others seeking additional information.”
Peevers said the withdrawal of Bruce Power’s application to American authorities is “in keeping” with its announcement to delay the shipments until the company completes consultations with “groups that continue to have questions” about the transportation plan.
“We didn’t think it made sense or demonstrated good faith to be proceeding with the regulatory process at the same time as we’re answering questions and engaging with these groups, so we’ve just put it on hold until we have a better idea on when we might ship,” he said.
Peevers said it is “hard to say” whether or not the shipments will still go ahead this year. A transport licence, granted to Bruce Power in February by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, is valid for only one year.
“We’re not trying to put a hard deadline on any of these conversations. We’re going to continue to talk as long as it takes and if it doesn’t happen this year, we always have the option of reapplying.” From Page 1
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.
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.
Peevers said Bruce Power is engaged in ongoing “face-to-face discussions with people who have questions or are asking for more information” on the plan.
Bruce Power wants to truck the generators, which it says weigh about 100 tonnes apiece and contain four grams of low-level radioactive material, from its nuclear power complex near Tiverton to Owen Sound, where they will be loaded onto a ship and carried through the Great Lakes — on both the Canadian and American sides— and the St. Lawrence Seaway across the Atlantic to Sweden.
Studsvik Nuclear AB in Nyköping is to recycle 90% of the steel from the generators and return the rest to Bruce Power, which will store it at the western waste management facility.
In March, after Bruce Power announced it would postpone the shipment pending further discussions with concerned groups, company spokesman Steve Cannon told QMI Agency the delay is not an acknowledgment by Bruce Power that the company had not adequately consulted with First Nations, which have collectively condemned the planned shipment.
“First Nations have expressed their adamant opposition to this shipment,” Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse was quoted as saying in a Fe b. 2 4 n e w s release from the Chiefs of Ontario. “ The Union of Ontario Indians and the Mohawk communities of Kahnawake, Akwesasne and Tyendinaga are at the forefront of opposing the shipment and the Chiefs of Ontario will support them in this struggle.”
The Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Si e r ra Club of Canada have filed two applications in Federal Court seeking a judicial review of the CNSC approval.
revised 2011 May 28