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E-M:/ Bruce nuclear waste issues



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Enviro-Mich message from Kay Cumbow <jcumbow@greatlakes.net>
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Dear Friends,

Bruce issues

 I spoke with Norm de la Chevrotiere in Kitchener, who is part of the
Inverhuron Ratepayers Association that sued for the right to comment on the
actual plan (not the one submitted to the public for comment)  for on-site
dry storage of irradiated fuel rods for the 9 Bruce  plants. He is an
actuary, which means, I believe, that he has a degree in risk management,
which makes it much harder for authorities to dismiss his statements.

First he gave background on the Bruce site, which was quite eye-opening. (I
only knew about the 9 reactors.)

1.  There is a prototype CANDU reactor - (CANDU stands for CANadian
Deuterium Uranium, which is a pressurized heavy water reactor)- the Douglas
Point Reactor, that is closed down, onsite. There are 4 reactors at Bruce
A, as well as 4 at Bruce B. (The 4 A reactors are currently not operating,
but are in process of being relicensed. (Terry Miller of Lone Tree Council,
and myself from Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination
submitted comments opposing the relicensing of Bruce A, as they are aging
and embrittled plants.) There is a very real possibility that weapons-grade
MOX from Russia could either be flown in (most likely) or shipped in via
the St. Lawrence seaway to be used in the 4 Bruce A reactors. This had not
been decided yet, but the Canadian government and the Atomic Energy Control
Board of Canada have strongly supported using this Russian MOX in CANDUs,
and apparently the 4 A reactors would be the most preferred site.)
 
2.  There is a radioactive waste incinerator at Bruce. It burns "low-level"
and "intermediate" radioactive wastes not only from Bruce, but also hauled
in from all the other nuclear plants owned by Ontario Power Generation
(formerly Ontario Hydro) in Ontario. ( 8 reactors at Pickering, and 4
plants in Darlington.) Reportedly, Bruce Power has reassured residents that
they only incinerate when the wind is blowing toward Lake Huron!!!! - "Low"
"intermediate" and "high" level nuclear waste designations are all put in
quotes as we have learned during Michiganís fight against the "low" level
nuclear waste dump that these designations are not based on any intelligent
system, and are often interchangeable.

3.  There are also 2 dedicated radioactive waste sites there, sites 1 and
2. These  are "low-level"  and "intermediate" radioactive waste that are
apparently not deemed burnable. These again are radioactive wastes not only
 from Bruce, but from all the Ontario Power Generation plants listed above.
Site 1 was found to be leaking radionuclides (mainly tritium), so they
apparently are in process of moving all the waste to site 2, which was also
found to be leaking radionuclides, mainly tritium. Apparently, the powers
that be then just enlarged the waste compound at site 2, so as to contain
the leaking.

4.  There is a tritium* production facility at Bruce, the only one for all
the CANDU reactors in Canada. It is currently not operating, as there is 20
years worth of tritiated water in storage for all the CANDU reactors.
However, it may reopen for business, as it has recently been relicensed. 

5.  Cancer incidence is reportedly increased 40% in the Bruce area.
Childhood leukemia is reportedly increased by 40% in the Bruce area. (I
forget whether he said compared to the rest  of Onatario or to the rest of
Canada.) There was an excellent study done by a U.S. investigator that was
submitted as part of the lawsuit. Mr. de la Chevrotiere said he would also
send that to me. It was ruled inadmissable in the lawsuit, apparently due
to timing. 


I spoke with Paul Gunter at NIRS, Nuclear Information and Resource Service,
from Washington DC and he said that, (at this time) the Bruce dry storage
would be the largest planned nuclear dump in the Western World. And
although Ontario Power Generation has stated that this dry storage area
would only be for irradiated fuel for  the 9 Bruce plants - (that would be
the 700,000 irradiated fuel rods discussed in the Toronto Star,) the
Ratepayers Association has a very  real fear that since they receive
"low-level" and "intermediate" nuclear waste from Darlington and Pickering,
that sometime in the future they could be on the receiving end for
"high-level" nuclear waste as well. Note: Each fuel bundle is 50 lbs --much
smaller than US assemblies.


The reason for the lawsuit, from what I understood from Mr. de la
Chevrotiere, was that during the public comment part of the Environmental
Assessment process, it was uncovered by a whistleblower that the plan
submitted to the public was a fake, and there was a completely different
plan that merited public review, that was never intended for the public to
see. 

Mr. de la Chevrotiere was amazed that this was the first story we had
picked up on the lawsuit, (and I was too) since they have had incredible
press on this lawsuit from the major Canadian papers. I found several other
newspaper articles with a little searching. 

Of course they lost the lawsuit at the first level, and then went to
Appeals Court, where they lost again. They then got socked for costs,(an
incredible story in itself.) Now they are in process of deciding whether to
take it to the Supreme Court of Canada.  

I have also included separately a letter from Gordon Edwards on this subject. 

I suggest we bring on the heat, not only to insist on our right to comment
on the different site plan for storage, but also on the incinerator, and
the continued operation of nuclear plants in the Great Lakes Basin. What
are the environmental costs of ongoing toxic emissions (radioactive and
otherwise) from the plants? What are the costs to First Nation, Native
American workers and communities that mine (or have mined) the uranium used
in these plants? Some of the Canadian uranium sites continue to contaminate
 Lake Huron - and everywhere downstream in the Great Lakes.) What are the
costs of the contamination to our communities by the ongoing generation and
storage of  "any-level" nuclear wastes!!! It is not as if there is a safe
place to put it, or a safe way to transport it there. No one wants these
deadly wastes upwind of their children, buried in their land, so that it
can poison their aquifers. Surely the Ratepayers Association should be
supported in their efforts to comment on the intended plan, not the one put
out to the public to mislead them (us). Certainly, we who share Lake Huron
(and the air above it) and those who eat fish and drink water downstream
should also be included and be able to comment on this plan due to the
possibilities of transboundary pollution. Mr. de la Chevrotiere will send
addresses next week that we can write to in the Canadian government to
address our concerns.

Certainly, we should implement the words of the International Joint
Commission, who has stated that the U.S. and Canadian governments should
work to phase out any radionuclide that meets their definition of
persistent toxin - any radionuclide that bioaccumulates and has a half-life
of 8 weeks in the water.  There are many such radionuclides produced by
nuclear power plants, many of which are released  by design (or accident.) 
The International Joint Commission meets in Quebec this fall, and this
would be an ideal time to raise these concerns. 

Another suggestion is to contact the gubernatorial candidates, as well as
our individual State and U.S. representatives and senators. Transboundary
pollution is well established. I live in the Thumb of Michigan and many
times we get storms that circle round, coming from Illinois etc. and circle
round and come back to us from Ontario. I work in Port Huron and the winds
carry pollution from Chemical Valley over the St. Clair River, as well as
from Port Huron area to Sarnia/Lambton area.

Please feel free to contact me on this issue. 
You can reach me at Kay Cumbow <jcumbow@greatlakes.net>

               
- Kay Cumbow
Board Member, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination
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* Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear
Responsibility has good information on the health effects of tritium. You
can access his website at:www.ccnr.org and do a search for tritium.
Otherwise, the page dealing with health effects of tritium is:
http://ccnr.org/tritium_1.html#UN-H

The following sentences are quoted from the introduction. There are several
reports from the scientific community listed here that bear reading,
including reports outlining tritium's effect on development and genetics. 

"Tritium is created and released into the environment in far greater
quantities from CANDU reactors than from other power reactors, such as the
American "light-water" designs. 

Like all radioactive substances, tritium is a carcinogen, a mutagen, and a
teratogen. Laboratory work with mice and rats has clearly shown that
tritium is particularly potent as a mutagen and teratogen."






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