Maude Barlow urges Swedish Minister of the Environment to stop radioactive waste shipment

Media Release
June 13, 2011

In a letter dated June 13, 2011, Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians urges Swedish Minster of the Environment Andreas Carlgren to intervene and revoke Studsvik’s permit to transport the radioactive shipment.

Canadian company Bruce Power plans to ship 16 bus-size radioactive steam generators from the Great Lakes in Canada to Nyköping, Sweden. Bruce Power is contracting Swedish company Studsvik to transport and decontaminate 90% of the steam generators and free release the scrap metal into the consumer market.

Barlow, who was the Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly, warns, “With Studsvik’s plant in Nyköping, the recycling of this radioactive waste will further pollute the waters of the Baltic Sea, which is already known as one of the most radioactive seas in the world... This is the first of several shipments that threaten the North Sea, the North Atlantic Ocean, Canadian and US lakes and other bodies of water.”

The shipment of radioactive waste has drawn criticism from city mayors, US senators, environmental organizations and First Nation and other communities. The radioactive levels of the steam generators also exceed legal limits set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material by 50 times. The shipment sets a dangerous precedent. Michael Binder, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, has admitted that there has never been a shipment of this magnitude on the Great Lakes before. Public consultation in Canada, the US and Europe has been inadequate.

In April, 20 European civil society organizations sent a letter to Canadian, US, UK, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish governments demanding a stop to Bruce Power’s plan to ship radioactive waste.

Bruce Power has delayed the shipment to consult with First Nations in Canada. While Bruce withdrew their application to the US Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in May, Bruce Power and Studsvik still have permits with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Swedish Radiation Authority respectively to transport and decontaminate the radioactive waste.

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Download the letter: English | Svenska | Français