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DOT considering permit to move contaminated steam generators through Great Lakes

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation gave notice this week that it has begun considering whether to grant the Canadian company Bruce Power permission to move 16 radioactively contaminated steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

In a notice in the March 30 Federal Register DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration wrote that on Feb. 24 Bruce Power asked for special arrangements so that it could transport the large generators for recycling and volume reduction in Sweden.

The initial leg of transport would be by road and entirely within Canada. The steam generators would then be loaded on a vessel in Owen Sound, Ontario for transport to Sweden via Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario and interconnecting waterways as well as the St. Lawrence River. At various times the vessel would necessarily enter U.S. waters. Therefore, under IAEA special arrangement provisions, the U.S. would need to revalidate the Canadian certificate in order to permit transport.

PHMSA is recognized as the IAEA Competent Authority for the U.S. and is responsible for competent authority approval in these cases.

PHMSA intends to conduct a fully independent review of the proposed transport including safety, environmental, and fitness assessments, in consultation with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and U.S. Coast Guard. PHMSA must approve, deny, or institute additional controls regarding

the transport in the request for competent authority approval.

A group of over 70 mayors from U.S. and Canadian towns along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway have warned that this shipment could endanger public water supplies.

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