Opposition growing to cross-border nuclear shipments

Feb 21, 2017

Opposition is brewing on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border about plans to move dozens of shipments of nuclear waste from a plant in Chalk River, Ontario, to a plant in South Carolina.

Buffalo Congressman Brian Higgins has been very vocal in his opposition. He is being joined by opposition in Canada.

Chalk River, Ontario

Dean Allison is the member of Parliament for Niagara West, which includes the QEW, a potential route for some shipments. The Conservative Allison says the shipments pose real problems for first responders because they are not being told anything about the shipments or how to prepare for the highly radioactive material.

"I've understood from talking to some of the people with the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility that it's almost 17,000 times more toxic and more radioactive than when it first started and when it was first shipped, originally," Allison says. "So our first responders need to have some kind of idea what it is because, more than likely, they will be the ones on the road, on the scene should anything happen."

The material started in the United States and has been made far more radioactive in Canada because of research and developing nuclear materials for medical use. Higgins has long been demanding information about the shipments and their routes.

Highly radioactive material from Chalk River, Ontario, would be shipped through Buffalo in casks like this on tractor trailers.

Beamsville resident Allison says he is trying to set up a meeting in his district to bring together residents, first responders and shipments officials to talk about what is going on.

"We're going to try to get some of the key players down," Allison says. "I don't anticipate they're going to give us more information but we're going to certainly press and see if we can get anything that may be helpful to our first responders."