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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Canada - U.S. court clears way for liquid nuclear waste shipments over Niagara roads.

Canada - U.S. court clears way for liquid nuclear waste shipments over Niagara roads. (niagarafallsreview).

A U.S. judge has cleared the way for shipments of radioactive waste that could pass through Niagara.
Local environmentalists haven’t given up yet on stopping that plan.

Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Gracia Janes, environment convener for the National Council of Women of Canada, said she remains hopeful that the efforts of U.S. political leaders may yet succeed in stopping the shipments of liquid nuclear waste from Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, Ont., a community near Algonquin Park, to a disposal site in Savannah River, S.C., 1,700 kilometres south.

Seven U.S environmental organizations launched a lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE) last summer regarding plans for as many as 150 shipments of the material over four years. The lawsuit asked the court to rule that the shipments require an additional environmental impact statement, saying the material has never previously been transported along public roads in a liquid form.

In total, about 23,000 litres of the material — a byproduct of the creation of medical radioisotopes, which includes cesium-137, strontium-90, and plutonium-239 — are to be shipped back to the U.S., as part of a 2010 agreement to repatriate radioactive material, costing the Canadian government about US$60 million.

But last Thursday, the U.S. court supported claims by the DOE in 2015 that the material poses no more danger in its liquid form that it would as a solid.

“This is serious. It’s really very serious,” said Janes.

Lincoln regional Coun. Bill Hodgson said he was disappointed about the U.S. court verdict in the case.

“I’m puzzled and disappointed,” said Hodgson, who has led local efforts in opposition of the nuclear waste shipments.

Hodgson said he’s also concerned about the potential impact on local emergency workers, if the worst-case scenario happens.

Even a close call could have “huge economic and social impacts on our community,” he said.

"Down-blending and solidifying the waste in Canada would be cheaper, faster and safer than moving this dangerous liquid cargo through dozens of communities,” he said. Read the full story here.

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