Judge ap­proves plan to ship nu­clear waste

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - JAMES CULIC

A pro­posal to ship highly ra­dioac­tive nu­clear waste through Ni­a­gara has been given ap­proval from a U.S. judge.

The ship­ments were orig­i­nally meant to be­gin last year, but le­gal in­ter­ven­tion and protests sent the pro­posal to fed­eral court. On Thurs­day, a fed­eral judge in Wash­ing­ton ruled that the U.S. Depart­ment of En­ergy could legally move for­ward with its plan to im­port about 6,000 gal­lons of liq­uid nu­clear waste. The depart­ment’s pro­posal in­cludes a truck­ing route which crosses the Peace Bridge be­tween Fort Erie and Buf­falo.

Mov­ing the nu­clear waste is ex­pected to be a long, slow process, with doc­u­ments sug­gest­ing it would take more than 100 truck­loads over the next four years to move all the nu­clear waste over the bridge.

The nu­clear waste — which is of the highly-en­riched weapons grade va­ri­ety — orig­i­nally came from the U.S. and was shipped to Canada decades ago. The liq­uid nu­clear waste was im­ported by Canada and sent to a nu­clear re­search fa­cil­ity in Chalk River, Ont., where it is re­pur­posed for med­i­cal pro­ce­dures. Once pro­cessed, the weapons grade ura­nium can be bro­ken down and used for the de­tec­tion and treat­ment of var­i­ous can­cers.

Ac­cord­ing to judge Tanya Chutkan, the pro­gram has been run­ning for decades without any prob­lems.

“This pro­gram is part of a larger ef­fort, dat­ing back to 1950s, in which the United States has pro­vided highly en­riched ura­nium to for­eign nu­clear re­search re­ac­tors con­di­tioned on the prom­ise to not de­velop nu­clear weapons, then later ac­cepted the spent nu­clear fuel and tar­get ma­te­rial back from those for­eign re­ac­tors to avoid the stock­pil­ing of nu­clear ma­te­rial in for­eign coun­tries and to en­sure the safe pro­cess­ing and main­te­nance of the ma­te­rial in the United States,” she wrote in the 18-page rul­ing which ap­proved the plan.

The le­gal ac­tion was brought for­ward by Be­yond Nu­clear. Since the waste could the­o­ret­i­cally still be used to cre­ate a strong nu­clear ex­plo­sion, Be­yond Nu­clear op­posed the move­ment of the ma­te­rial. .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.