To date, more than 125,000 people like you across Canada and around the world have signed on to help raise awareness of the serious threats facing the Great Lakes and to advocate for their long-term protection. The public response has been incredible!
One of the serious threats the Council of Canadians has been highlighting is pollution, and specifically nuclear waste. In April 2010, Bruce Power in Ontario applied for a special license from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to ship 16 radioactive steam generators from its nuclear power generating station on the shores of Lake Huron south to Lake Erie, across Lake Ontario, up the St. Lawrence and over the Atlantic to Sweden for decontamination. The special license was necessary because the steam generators failed to meet CNSC's own Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations. The radioactive levels also exceeded legal limits set out in the International Atomic Energy Agency's Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material by 50 times. The generators, which spent more than 30 years inside the reactors at Bruce Power's nuclear plant, contain thousands of small tubes that emit beta, gamma and alpha radiation.
Despite strong opposition to the planned radioactive shipments from city mayors, US senators, First Nations communities, residents and environmental groups, the CNSC ignored public input and issued the transport license anyway.
In response, the Council of Canadians launched and sustained a strategic public advocacy campaign to stop the shipments, which included our Care2 petition drive (see our campaign timeline below). This past September, we delivered over 101,000 signatures from people in Canada and around the world to the Ontario provincial government calling for it to "stand up for the safety and protection of the public and our shared environment by banning all nuclear shipments on the Great Lakes."
Our campaign, combined with the tremendous work of many other individuals and groups, mounted such collective pressure on Bruce Power to conduct proper public consultations with communities and First Nations in the Great Lakes Basin that their plan was derailed and their special license has now expired.
Thank you for helping to bring about this critically important development! "These shipments would have set an extremely dangerous precedent," says Council of Canadians national water campaigner Emma Lui. "This would have opened the door to transporting radioactive waste that exceeds legal limits across our lakes."
Bruce Power is likely to reapply for a new license, and if they do the federal government has a second chance to get it right. "If Bruce Power wants to forge ahead with this plan, the CNSC should respect the public's will and stop the shipment," says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "This is an opportunity for the CNSC to begin a needed shift in Great Lakes governance by genuinely listening to public input and consulting with First Nations."
While we celebrate this win, our cherished Great Lakes � the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world and essential source of drinking water for millions of people � remain in serious trouble: daily pollution from industrial toxins, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and raw sewage; an explosion of mining and oil and gas exploration in and around the Lakes; wetland loss; invasive species; and dropping water levels due to over-extraction and climate change.
The Great Lakes need your ongoing support! Join the Council of Canadians today and take action to protect the Great Lakes forever. Your support will help to bring about a fundamental and needed change in the way the Lakes are viewed, governed, and protected � for the benefit of generations to come.
Thank you again for being a great friend of the Great Lakes!
Director of Development
The Council of Canadians
TIMELINE: COUNCIL OF CANADIANS ACTIONS TO STOP THE NUCLEAR SHIPMENTS ON THE GREAT LAKES
September 30, 2011: Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec regional organizer Mark Calzavara delivers a petition with more than 101,000 names to Queen's Park demanding that Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty do the right thing and put a stop to the planned shipments of nuclear waste on the Great Lakes.
June 13, 2011: Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow writes Swedish minister of the environment Andreas Carlgren asking him to intervene and revoke a permit issued to Studsvik, a company in Nykoping, Sweden, that is set to receive radioactive waste from the Bruce Power nuclear plant in Ontario. Studsvik has a permit from the Swedish Radiation Authority to receive and decontaminate the waste.
May 19, 2011: Ontario Member of the Provincial Parliament Peter Tabuns raises the Council of Canadians petition against the radioactive shipments on the Great Lakes in the Ontario Legislature.
April 18, 2011: Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui visits Amsterdam to meet with Mayor Albert De Hoop, President of KIMO International, and Sean Morris, Secretary for the Nuclear Free Local Authorities, who joined by telephone from Manchester, England. They were meeting to discuss ways to build a trans-Atlantic alliance to stop Bruce Power's proposed shipments of nuclear waste on the Great Lakes, across the Atlantic Ocean, and to Sweden for processing.
March 28, 2011: Bruce Power issues a media release stating they, "will delay plans to ship 16 steam generators to Sweden for recycling to allow further discussion with First Nations, M�tis and others seeking additional information".
March 21, 2011: Calzavara and Lui visit Owen Sound to meet with chapter activist David Walton and Sharen Skelley of CARGOS to build local opposition to the shipments, read more here and here.
March 2, 2011: We submit our comments to the House of Commons Natural Resources standing committee studying this situation, and issue an action alert requesting relevant Ontario ministers to intervene against the shipments.
February 5, 2011: We condemn the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's decision to approve the transport of 16 radioactive steam generators by ship across the Great Lakes to Sweden.
October 19, 2010: We call on the International Joint Commission (IJC) to reject a proposal to ship 16 steam generators to Sweden, a plan that puts the Great Lakes at risk. The IJC is the body tasked with "finding solutions to problems" in the Great Lakes.
September 29, 2010: Lui presents our opposition to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearings on Bruce Power's application.
September 20, 2010: We are contacted by the Ontario Provincial Police about our opposition to the proposed shipments and what our plans are to stop those shipments.
August 20, 2010: We issue an action alert opposing these shipments.