[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
plutonium airlift - public comments by Aug. 25
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2000 04:30:12 -0500
From: Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout <email@example.com>
Subject: Action Alert, Plutonium (MOX) Shipments Due to be Sent from
Russia this Fall
ACTION ALERT Friday, August 4, 2000
PLUTONIUM (MOX) SHIPMENTS ARE DUE TO BE SENT FROM RUSSIA THIS FALL
Transport Canada has established a limited public comment process
that is due to conclude on August 25, 2000. A press release follows
below which provides additional information.
For background information on weapons plutonium fuel (MOX) see:
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: 28 DAYS
beginning July 28, ending August 25
AECL's Emergency Plan (ERAP) can be viewed at http://www.tc.gc.ca
Your comments etc. can be sent by e-mail to Transport Canada at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TO BE DONE IMMEDIATELY:
1. Please write Transport Canada asking
that the Comment Period be extended to
the END OF SEPTEMBER.
2. Please write President Clinton complaining
about the Americans PAYING to have this
stuff flown over CANADA when it would be
illegal in the US; also tell him how unacceptable
the plutonium import plan is to Canadians, and
about lack of democratic process:
United States of America
202-456 6703 (fax)
Plutonium is a powerful Nuclear Explosive.
It sealed the Fate of the City of Nagasaki Aug 9 1945.
No Plutonium Imports
Do Not Commercialize Weapons Plutonium!
Keep It Out of Circulation! Immobilize It!
Stop Plutonium Production
No more overseas sales of CANDU Reactors.
Phase Out Nuclear Power in Canada.
More on the Emergency Plans later.
Best wishes from Gordon Edwards for the Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout (CNP)
Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout
campagne Contre l'expansion du nucléaire
For release Wednesday, August 2, 2000
CITIZENS GROUPS DEMAND TRUTH FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN PLUTONIUM AIRLIFT PLAN
Ottawa - Citizens groups today charged that the federal government's
plutonium airlift plan released last Friday continues to ignore
widespread opposition along the flight path and proves that the
government's position on plutonium imports is fundamentally dishonest.
"People want truth and fairness. We are calling on the Chrétien
government to cancel the Russian weapons plutonium shipment
altogether or, at the very least, to halt the shipment until
independent public hearings have been held into the policy
assumptions underlying the plutonium import scheme," said Kristen
Ostling of the Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout.
On Friday, July 28th, apparently in reaction to the timing of a
recent judicial review application initiated by citizens groups and
First Nations,the Chrétien government publicly announced that weapons
plutonium MOX fuel would be transported by air from Russia to Chalk
River, Ontario. The announcement provides for a 28-day period of public
comment on a revised AECL transportation emergency response plan.
In the opinion of a number of citizens groups, the federal government
has been dishonest and inconsistent in its message to the Canadian
public about the MOX issue. Some examples follow:
-News reports quote the federal government as stating that air
transport was chosen in accordance with suggestions made during
public hearings last fall. However there were no public hearings last
fall; there were only last-minute public-relations events hastily
organized to counter a growing tide of public opposition to plutonium
imports in Ontario.
Since then, municipalities have continued to pass resolutions against
the plan. In Quebec, 155 municipalities have passed resolutions which
explicitly object to the transportation of plutonium through Quebec
by air as well as by land and sea.
"If Ottawa wants to respond to public suggestions," said Elizabeth
May of the Sierra Club of Canada, "the overwhelming message is
crystal clear: don't fly it, scrap it."
-In its November 1999 report, Transport Canada stated that "the
material will not be flown" because a severe transportation accident
"could result in the release of a heavy dust [which] has the
potential for damage if inhaled." Noting that AECL would be using a
Type B container (rather than a Type C container as required by US
Law for air transport), Transport Canada was firm that the MOX test
samples could not be flown: "Not until there were a container deemed
safe enough to survive all credible airplane accidents."
Last Friday, however, a new Emergency Plan from AECL was posted,
based on flying more than four times as much Russian military
plutonium in a similar Type B container. It is now claimed that this
container is perfectly safe and can withstand any credible accidents.
However, Dr. Ed Lyman, Scientific Director of the Washington-based
Nuclear Control Institute states, "There is no credible scientific
evidence that a Type B container can withstand an air crash." Dr.
Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
also notes that a Type C container is still in the design stages.
Moreover, according to a July 20, 2000 letter received by the
Canadian Environmental Law Association on July 27th, from the
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (formerly AECB), certification for
the transport container lapsed some time ago.
-In its November 1999 report, Transport Canada stated five times that
weapons plutonium "will not be flown", adding that "It is presently
against both Canadian and United States law to fly the MOX test
samples". Yet two months later, in January 2000, 120 grams of US
weapons plutonium was air-lifted to Chalk River by helicopter.
-The "Parallex Project" was originally intended to lay the groundwork
for a parallel, symmetric reduction in the excess weapons plutonium
stockpiles of the USA and Russia. When the US announced earlier this
year that they have no intention of sending any more plutonium to
Canada, the stated rationale for the Parallex Project collapsed. Yet
the Project still proceeds as if nothing has changed. "There is no
parallelism anymore," said Kristen Ostling.
-The Chrétien government promotes the MOX scheme as a disarmament
initiative. But the impetus for the idea of burning plutonium in
reactors comes not from the peace and disarmament community, but from
the nuclear power establishments of Russia, the US and Canada - all
of whom would like to see their aging reactors running for another 25
"Ottawa's position is not sound," said Dr. Edwards. "Using plutonium
to fuel reactors doesn't eliminate the plutonium, and therefore
offers no permanent solution to the security problem. Yet circulating
plutonium in civilian society does make plutonium more accessible,
thereby making clandestine bombs more likely."
Kristen Ostling said, "A much more sensible approach would be to
phase out nuclear reactors, thereby halting the production of new
plutonium, while taking the existing plutonium out of circulation
permanently through immobilization. A responsible government would
welcome debate on these issues," she added.
-In the original emergency plan, the routes were delineated and
therefore the communities that could be impacted were identifiable.
In the new plan, there are no routes delineated, no communities
specified, consequently no identifiable communities that can be
impacted. "We're concerned about all aspects of the planned plutonium
import plan, including the resulting wastes which will remain in Canada.
Ottawa seems intent on denying Canadians their basic democratic
right to have specific input on decisions that may affect their communities,"
said Lynn Jones of Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County.
-The federal government has told Canadians that it is virtually
impossible for plutonium to be released in a respirable form under
any conceivable accident scenario. Yet the US Department of Energy,
in a 1997 environmental assessment document, states:
"Two credible transportation accident scenarios were analyzed for the
shipment of MOX fuel to the Canadian border . . . .
"The first accident relates to an event that leads to the MOX fuel
package container breaking open, igniting, and releasing plutonium
dioxide particles into the air. The public is assumed to be near
enough to the accident to breathe air contaminated with plutonium
The report makes it clear that this scenario, while unlikely, has "a
reasonable probability of occurrence". (Section 5.2 "MOX
In the previous AECL Emergency Plan for ground transport, AECL
identified 4 out of 8 categories of accidents where the container
would be destroyed. But in the new plan, there are no specific
accident scenarios at all.
Citizens groups note that the government has chosen the worst time of
year for a 28-day period of public comment. "They could have done it
earlier, as the Emergency Plan was ready in May. They could have done
it later, simply by waiting until the weapons plutonium MOX fuel
transport container had been certified by the regulatory agency.
There is something distasteful about staging a public comment period
when most people are not available for comment," said Gordon Edwards.
Theresa McClenaghan of the Canadian Environmental Law Association
noted that, "the judicial review we launched for citizens groups in
June played an important role in getting the government to reveal its
plans to fly plutonium fuel from Russia. It is time now for the
federal government to put the brakes on the project and subject its
plutonium policy to serious public scrutiny."
- 30 -
For more information:
Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout, (613) 789-3634, email@example.com
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (514) 489-5118
Canadian Environmental Law Association (416) 960-2284
This is the OPIRGfirstname.lastname@example.org list. Announcement only please.
To unsubscribe, send email to email@example.com, and put
"unsubscribe" in the body.
Archive at: http://www.sandelman.ottawa.on.ca/lists/html/opirg-events/