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E-M:/ Take action against plutonium transport in Michigan or elsewhere



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Enviro-Mich message from Joy Strawser <mec@voyager.net>
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Kay Cumbow of the Citizens For a Healthy Planet asked me to post her
letter and to urge you to take action on this serious issue.

************************************************************************As
part of a non-proliferation arms deal with Russia, the U.S. Dept. of
Energy (DOE) has proposed to test leftover U.S. bomb plutonium at Chalk
River, Ontario, for use heavy water (CANDU) reactors.  The DOE also
plans to use MOX in U.S. reactors and store some plutonium in glass logs
(vitrification). The last two options are undergoing a full
environmental impact statement (EIS), with hearings being held in the
Southern and Western states the past two weeks. The Canadian- U. S.
proposal for the test at Chalk River (called the Parallex Project) is
being eyed separately with merely an environmental assessment for which
it seems, no hearing need be held. If the Chalk River tests are
successful, and if the U. S., Canada and Russia agree, both the U. S.
and the Russia would send much larger shipments of this dangerous cargo
to the Bruce reactors on Lake Huron. The DOE would most probably truck
it in from Savannah River, South Carolina, with an armed escort.  Russia
would ship via the St. Lawrence Seaway or fly it in. The proposed U.S.,
Canadian and Russian MOX programs are all heavily based on U. S.
taxpayer subsidies, which would help prop up financially failed nuclear
industries in Canada and the U.S.  As for non-proliferation, both
India's and Pakistan's bombs came from nuclear power programs. The test
at Chalk River is the foot in the door to a larger
plutonium economy.

Amazingly, not one Bluewater resident on the DOE's plutonium disposition
mailing list received copies or knew of the draft environmental
assessment (published August 1997) until it was discovered just weeks
ago by citizens searching the Internet. This report was sent only to
Native American Tribes and Governors of States on the proposed transport
routes from Los Alamos, New Mexico to Chalk River, Ontario. Theirs were
the only comments solicited. The Final Environmental Assessment is due
any day and will either ask for a full environmental impact statement,
or publish a Record of Decision with a Finding of No Significant Impact.
This decision will be based on the Canadian environmental documents and
the aforementioned Governors' and Tribes' comments, which are
unavailable to the public. Many Bluewater citizens believe that DOE will
approve the project, as the test plutonium is considered so
insignificant by the DOE, that they will not even send an armed escort!
There could be as many as three test shipments. Of the three routes
proposed from Los Alamos, the route through Michigan is the shortest. 
Plus the Bluewater Bridge is already approved for transport of large
amounts of radioactive materials.

This past week both the Port Huron City Council and the St. Clair County
Board of Commissioner passed resolutions requesting the DOE hold a
hearing in the Port Huron/ Sarnia area to answer our communities'
concerns, and to extend the comment period for the current EIS. 
However, if this separate Final Environmental Assessment finds no
significant impact for the U. S. /Canadian project, resolutions for a
hearing may be moot. Citizens For a Healthy Planet is asking local
government groups and citizens (both U. S. and Canadian) to urge the DOE
to complete the Final Environmental Assessment for the Parallex Project
only after a hearing in the Port Huron/Sarnia area is held and area
concerns are addressed. We also ask that you contact Governor John
Engler at (517) 373-3400 (FAX : (517) 335-6863) and ask him to request
the same. Send requests to: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fissile
Materials Disposition, P.O, Box 23786, Washington  D.C.  20026-3786, or
call (800) 820-5156. Fax comments to: (800) 820-5134.  You can also
request copies of the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Draft Environmental
Impact Statement, which does briefly mention the Parallex Project, and
has key information on transport. The Draft Environmental Assessment for
the Parallex Project can be seen on Energy Probes' web site at:
http://www.nextcity.com/EnergyProbe/radwaste/97submission.htm.

Plutonium is a lethal substance, attractive to terrorists, which should
be treated and guarded as an extremely hazardous waste, not transported
for use in nuclear plants in the Great Lakes Basin or elsewhere.

Petitions protesting MOX production and transport are available by
writing Citizens For a Healthy Planet, P.O. Box 335, Emmett, MI 48022.

Kay Cumbow,  Citizens For a Healthy Planet

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For additional information, please look at the following web sites:

http://plutonium-er.actx.edu (Amarillo National Resource Center for
Plutonium)

http://www.cnp.cr/ (Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout)

http://www.cfp-pcc.gc.ca/english/reportds.htm (Canadian Centre for
Foreign Policy Development)

http://www.ccnr.org (Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility)

http://www.ieer.org (The Institute for Energy and Environmental
Research)

http://www.nirs.org (Nuclear Information and Resource Service)

http://www.sierraclub.org/nuke/nucw.html (Sierra Club Nuclear Waste Task
Force)

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