Bruce power shipment
The privately operated nuclear power plant, Bruce Power, proposes to ship 16 radioactive steam generators from its facility in Bruce County Ontario, to be processed at an authorized facility in Sweden. Bruce Power requires special approval from the regulatory authority the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for this shipment because the total amount of radioactivity (5.46 terabequerels) exceeds the limit allowed on a single ship and the sheer size of the generators do not fit regular package requirements.
This shipment requires loading of the school bus sized, 100 tonne steel steam generators onto a transport trailer and driving them one by one to Owen Sound Harbour, where they will be all loaded into the hull of one ship. The miles of internal tubing of the steam generators have been contaminated by use at the nuclear power plant. The generators contain a mixture of radioactive isotopes and have been welded shut. The generators will be welded to metal saddles and these saddles welded to the floor of the ship.
The loaded ship will then carry the steam generators from Owen Sound Harbour, throughout Lake Huron, Erie and Ontario, up the Seaway and out into the Atlantic to Sweden. The radioactive material that cannot be recycled by the Swedish company, Studsvik, will be shipped back to Bruce Power for long term storage. Studsvik recycles the steel and sells it for unrestricted use.
The shipment requires special approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada. The City of Owen Sound also needs to give approval through the local permit, Permission to Move a Large Object. The shipment requires an emergency response plan for both the land and water portions.
A number of municipalities along the proposed shipping route have passed Council resolutions expressing concerns or opposing this radioactive waste shipment. On February 4, 2011 the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission announced its approval of this shipment. The shipment was also discussed at House of Commons Committee on Natural Resources on March 8 and 10, 2011. The Cities Initiative was invited to testify at this hearing.
On March 8, 2011 the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Sierra Club Canada launched an application for judicial review of this shipment. On March 28, 2011, Bruce Power announced that they would delay this shipment to allow additional time for consultation with First Nations, Metis and other groups seeking additional information.