TOKYO - A nuclear fuel shipment to Japan that has stirred up protests by environmentalists is expected to reach port aboard two British cargo ships on September 22, Japanese public broadcaster NHK television said.
The ships, carrying MOX fuel, a mixture of uranium and plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel, will arrive at a port near the city of Iwaki, about 215 kilometres (130 miles) north of Tokyo, NHK said.
The armed British cargo ship Pacific Teal left the French port of Cherbourg on July 21 and subsequently linked up with the Pacific Pintail, its sister ship, for the journey to Japan.
The Pacific Pintail had been loaded with MOX from Britain's Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant.
After unloading part of their cargo at Iwaki, the ships will round the northern tip of Japan's main island of Honshu to haul the remainder to a nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture, on the Japan Sea in northwest Japan, with arrival likely on September 27, Kyodo news agency said.
An official at Japan's Science and Technology Agency said he could not confirm when the ships were likely to enter port.
A spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc (TEPCO), which will take the shipment for Iwaki, also declined to comment on when the ships would arrive. TEPCO is co-sponsoring the shipment with Kansai Electric Power Co Inc, which operates the nuclear plant in Fukui.
The voyage marks the first transfer of so-called "direct use" nuclear material, considered easily convertible into weapons-grade material, since 1992, and sparked protests in Cherbourg prior to the departure of the Pacific Teal.
Greenpeace activists say the combined cargo of the two ships could be converted into 60 bombs.
Japan relies heavily on imports for its energy needs and buys some 80 percent of its energy resources from overseas.
Nuclear power, the source of about 30 percent of Japan's electricity, is considered crucial by the government to meet the country's growing energy needs.
Japan favours using MOX fuel partly because it enables reactors to cut their use of primary nuclear fuel by 20 to 30 percent.
by Gerrard Raven
BRUSSELS - Belgium's new coalition government avoided a crisis last week by reversing a ban on the sale of equipment to a Pakistani nuclear plant.
The row over the export of surveillance equipment to the Kanupp plant had threatened to expose deep fissures in the right-left-green coalition formed in July under Dutch-speaking Liberal Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.
The outgoing government, led by Christian Democrats, had given an export licence for the 60 million Belgian franc ($1.56 million) contract to a GEC Alsthom plant at Charleroi in the French-speaking south of the country.
But the new energy minister, Olivier Deleuze of the green Ecolo party, revoked the licence within days of taking office to the consternation of the more established Francophone coalition parties, who were worried by the implications for jobs.
Verhofstadt told a news conference that the cabinet had decided to grant the export licence after all.
But it had agreed that before the goods left Belgium, the Kanupp plant, at present closed for maintenance, must start up again, and Pakistan must sign an international accord known as the Full Scope Safeguards Agreement.
Countries signing this accord undertake among other things not to use their civil nuclear power capability to further their military ends.
Verhofstadt said his government would require the same safeguards before granting any future application for an export licence to the nuclear industry elsewhere in the world.
"We have taken a clear decision in this affair," he said.
In an apparent snub to Deleuze, Verhofstadt said decisions on any future applications would be taken by his foreign affairs and economy ministers, calling this "a very radical simplification in the procedure".
The new government came to power after a general election in which voters punished the centrist Christian Democrats for the way they tackled the dioxin-in-food crisis which hit the country's farms and food industry earlier this year.
It consists of an uneasy alliance of six parties - French and Dutch-speaking Liberal, Socialists and Green groupings.
Belgian politics are traditionally bedevilled by strained relations between the parties representing the country's two main linguistic communities.
BERLIN - German Economics Minister Werner Mueller said the government could not legally insist on the closure of any nuclear power stations before the end of 2002.
Mueller said in an interview with Berlin-daily Die Tageszeitung, that forced closures of still profitable power plants would hurt the interests of shareholders and they would be within their rights to sue the company's management.
"By 2002 we will not manage to shut down any nuclear power stations. How can we legally do so?" Mueller said.
"This was the aim of politicians with ambitious intentions."
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition partners, the ecologist Greens, have demanded that the decommissioning of Germany's 19 nuclear power stations begin in this parliament.
Environment Minister Juergen Trittin, one of just three Greens in the cabinet, has angered industry with his repeated demands for a speedy shutdown.
German media reports said he wanted to see six plants closed by 2003. Another Green member has demanded that three nuclear power stations be shut down by 2002.
Mueller, a former senior executive in the nuclear industry, has come up with a plan to limit the operating life of nuclear plants to 35 years which would mean the first unit would go off-line in 2003 and the last in 2024.
He said that if the government wished to force closures before the plants had come to the end of their profitable life it would have to buy them off the companies.
"He who wants to go off-line before it is economically sensible to do so will have to in effect buy the nuclear power stations," he said.
German utilities RWE AG, Veba AG, Viag AG and Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg have threatened to sue for damages if they lose any money as the country withdraws from nuclear power.
by David Ljunggren
OTTAWA - Canada said it had blocked a plan to sell its experimental nuclear fusion programme to Iran because it feared Tehran might be able to use the technology to obtain atomic weapons.
The decision did not come as a surprise. When the idea of selling the programme was floated in July, Ottawa said it would look very closely at any proposed transfer of such technology to Iran, which U.S. officials fear is trying to acquire nuclear arms.
The government cut off funding to the $50 million Tokamak fusion reactor programme in 1997, leaving it in the hands of electricity utility Hydro-QuŽbec. The programme never produced commercially viable results.
"We told Hydro-QuŽbec we have put the programme on the export control list and would not allow the sale of this technology to Iran," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Sean Rowan.
"The rationale for the decision was that the experimental nuclear fusion facility could indirectly benefit a nuclear weapons programme," he said.
Iran is on a Canadian blacklist of countries that do not meet its standards of nuclear nonproliferation.
The director of the programme said in July that fusion -- as distinguished from fission technology used in commercial nuclear power plants -- would in no way be useful to military planners.
But Rowan said that experts who looked at Canada's experimental fusion reactor and its individual components had felt otherwise.
"They've come to the conclusion that it is dual-use technology," he said, referring to items that have both a peaceful and military potential.
The government had not put the fusion programme on its export control list because it had never been faced with the possibility that someone would one day try to sell it.
Rowan denied that Ottawa had acted under pressure from the United States, which in April eliminated a 58-year licensing exemption given to Canadian military and aerospace companies over fears that Canada was not safeguarding U.S. technology.
"Canada has its own foreign policy and this proposal was looked at under the Canadian system for export controls, which are among the most stringent in the world," he said.
The United States said at the time that the change was necessary to ensure that technology for missiles, satellites and cryptography did not make its way to countries such as China and Iran.
Fission harnesses the energy released from splitting atoms, which powers atomic bombs and nuclear plants.
Fusion tries to generate power by joining the nuclei of atoms together. But scientists have yet to come up with a commercially viable, controlled process that produces more energy than it consumes -- which is why Ottawa pulled the plug in 1997.
By the time the decision to cut off funding was taken, Canada had spent around $150 million on the programme, which started up in 1981. The experimental reactor was installed in 1987.
Agence France Presse
SOFIA - High radiation levels have been found in two separate consignments of Bulgarian mushrooms, a Bulgarian official acknowledged Wednesday after French customs said they had recently rejected two truckloads.
Kiril Kirov, the head of the national veterinary and sanitary laboratory, did not, however, confirm whether the mushrooms were those intercepted and returned to Bulgaria by France.
On Monday, French officials said two loads of Bulgarian mushrooms had been found to have high levels of cesium 137, evidence of the continuing contamination caused by the 1986 fire in the Ukrainian Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
The consignments returned by France were found after the European Commission ordered tests to be stepped up last month.
"A concentration of cesium 137 of between 1,900 and 2,000 becquerels per kilo" had been found in mushrooms from the southern Smolian region, Kirov said.
He said levels of between 800 and 900 becquerels had been found in another consignment. The maximum level considered safe in Bulgaria is 475 becquerels.
Kirov said Bulgaria carried out radiation tests only at the request of importing countries. The EU insists on certificates for some foodstuffs from countries considered to have been particularly affected by Chernobyl fallout.
Kirov said "the only explanation" for the presence of cesium 137 in Bulgarian soil was Chernobyl since such high levels "can only come from the nuclear plant accident."
Bulgaria's trade and tourism minister, Valentin Vasilev, meanwhile announced an investigation into the export documents provided for the two contaminated consignments that were turned back by France.
The Flint Journal
Any objections to plans for trucking plutonium-blend reactor fuel to Canada, across a U.S. route that includes the flint area, should be based on scientific knowledge, not uninformed fear.
Members of Congress representing our community are calling for public hearings before the shipments be allowed to pass. These might not be helpful, and would be of no use if they did not attract qualified scientists.
Rather, the congressional delegation should engage independent experts who know how to assess what risks, if any, the shipments pose, and who could advise on what should be done to eliminate risks altogether.
The fuel rods to be shipped are being made from weapons-grade plutonium at Los Alamos national laboratory in New Mexico for reactors in Ontario, which are willing to test their capacity for the disposal of extremely dangerous remnants of the Cold War. The Russian Federation is engaged in parallel experiments.
T he U.S. route being contemplated would enter southwestern Michigan on I-94, eventually head north on I-75 through the Flint area, and on up to Chalk River, 100 miles west of Ottawa.
Considering the breakthrough for humankind that these experiments represent, people ought to welcome them, not stand in the way without good reason.
Agence France Presse
TOKYO - Thirty-five anti-nuclear groups in Japan urged visiting British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook Thursday to stop helping Japan reprocess nuclear fuel.
The groups submitted a protest statement addressed to Cook at the British embassy here as two British ships carrying recycled plutonium-uranium oxide (MOX) fuel are to arrive in Japan later this month.
"On your visit to Japan, we would like to convey our deepest concern and opposition to any attempts...to encourage and secure new contracts for the reprocessing and supply to Japan of plutonium MOX fuel," the statement said.
"We appeal to you to openly oppose the further reprocessing of Japanese nuclear waste, to block new reprocessing contracts and to stop the signing of new plutonium fuel MOX contracts."
The two British ships, which left the French port of Cherbourg last month, were sailing via the Cape of Good Hope and through the southwest Pacific.
Several members of the groups, who handed in the statement to embassy officials, staged a brief rally at the embassy, carrying banners reading: "Plutonium : Don't produce. Don't transport. Don't use."
Winnipeg Free Press
A shipment of 1,500 smoke detectors emitting low levels of radiation has finally been disposed of after being discovered in a garbage dump north of Winnipeg last February.
The detectors were found when a load of garbage triggered radiation alarms at the BFI Waste Services landfill site north of Winnipeg.
An Alberta firm was hired to package the detectors and ship them via Edmonton to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s Chalk River, Ont., site in May for disposal.
The detectors were sent to Edmonton for processing but could not be sent on to Ontario because a federal inspector ruled they had not been properly packaged for transport.
"The quantity of radioactivity of the contents in the package exceeded the regulatory limit," said Ann Erdman, a federal dangerous goods inspector who checked out the package.
On July 20, after being packaged properly, the smoke alarms were successfully shipped to AECL Chalk River for disposal.
by John M. Glionna
U.S. researchers believe they can safely store
deadly nuclear waste for 100,000 years
deep inside a Nevada mountain.
To them, the project
would be a timeless marvel;
to critics, sheer madness
Squinting against the enveloping gloom, engineer Jim Niggemyer boards the dusty yellow mining train for its long slow descent into the depths of America's nuclear solution -- through the twisting tunnel that may one day lead to a nuclear-age pharaoh's tomb.
Far out in the bleak desert 160 km northwest of Las Vegas, government researchers are busy drilling, heating and analysing the depths of this ancient mountain for its likely future as the nation's first high-level nuclear graveyard.
They toil for a long-term goal: to transform Yucca Mountain by 2010 into the permanent home to 77,000 tonnes of highly lethal waste -- spent uranium and plutonium byproducts from nuclear power plants, nuclear submarines and government test projects dating back to the testing of the first atomic bomb.
Housed in corrosion-resistant alloy canisters the size of compact cars, the fearsome cargo is so radioactive that momentary exposure would mean death within days, if not hours.
The United States' spent nuclear fuel is now stored at military bases and in cooling pools and dry storage at more than 100 reactors in 34 states. These sites require constant monitoring and repair.
Niggemyer and his colleagues know that the government is banking on the Yucca Mountain Project to hold the fuel for a virtual eternity. With its remote location and arid climate, officials estimate the desert repository can isolate the waste for at least 10,000 years -- at the end of which, they predict, much of the radioactivity will have diminished.
Still, researchers are trying to gauge the mountain's suitability for a seemingly unfathomable 100,000 -- and even 1 million -- years into the future.
For Niggemyer, the project is a permanent answer to a vexing nuclear waste problem that has worried generations. Since the 1950s, researchers have recommended pie-in-the-sky disposal solutions ranging from launching the waste into the sun to burying it beneath the ocean floor or the Earth's polar ice caps.
Niggemyer is among scores of researchers who have devoted years and even decades of their lives to the project. They hope they are working on mankind's most enduring engineering achievement, one that for a time at least will defy nature's fierce destructive powers.
"When it's finished, this repository will be unlike anything that's ever been accomplished in human history," Niggemyer shouted over the train engine's drone. "We erect buildings to last maybe a couple hundred years. And while the Great Sphinx and the pyramids have been around for 13,000 years, they're no longer functional.
"This site will still be doing its job 100,000 years from now."
Critics are less sure of that legacy. They say the $35 billion US project -- to be funded mostly by fees paid by nuclear energy customers -- is a laughable combination of high-level waste and low-level logic that will pose a serious health threat to future generations.
Haunted by earlier detonations among these forlorn-looking mountains at the Nevada Test Site, locals say it's easy for the government to think it can dump more lethal waste in an area already tainted by nuclear bomb tests.
Angry Nevadans, some of whom have become quick studies in the rarefied realm of nuclear physics and soil geology, say the mountain is too porous to hold nuclear waste and that over the eons surface water will penetrate the protective casings and enter the water table, carrying radioactive particles to California's Death Valley and beyond.
They say the government's chosen site is susceptible to earthquakes. Pointing to a magnitude 5.6 quake 19 km away at Little Skull Mountain in 1992, locals say the Yucca site sits amid a seismic minefield. One good temblor, they say, could crack open the waste containers like peanut shells.
Worse, critics are concerned about the danger of transporting spent nuclear fuel to Yucca Mountain from reactors nationwide, past 51 million people in 43 states. The chance of an accident or terrorist attack moved Nevada Senator Richard Bryan to dub the transport scenario "Mobile Chernobyl."
But project researchers say the present generation has an ethical obligation to deal with the nuclear waste in its lifetime. "We're the ones who made it, so we're responsible for its disposal," said Michael Voegele, a senior project engineer. "We can't just pass this problem on to our children."
And they argue that any nuclear disposal plan would be unpopular. "On most issues you deal with the NIMBYs -- the Not in My Back Yard types," said project spokesman Allen Benson. "With nuclear waste, you face the NOPEs -- the Not on Planet Earth crowd."
In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Energy settled on three states as the most likely sites to bury the nation's nuclear waste: Texas, Washington and Nevada. But in 1987, Congress called the selection process too costly and zeroed in on Yucca Mountain.
Still, the location has yet to be approved by Congress. The 8.7-km, U-shaped tunnel was bored into the side of the mountain at a cost of $80 million solely to allow access for tests. Only after winning congressional blessing would the Energy Department build a honeycomb of 56 km of additional tunnels to house the waste.
Earlier this month, the department issued a draft environmental impact report that said researchers had found no factors that would disqualify the site from use as a nuclear dump. The agency will conduct public hearings on the proposal, then report to the president in 2001 on whether Yucca Mountain is suitable for "deep geologic disposal." Congress is scheduled to vote on the project in 2005. At any point, it could be shelved.
But if all goes well for the scientists, the first waste would arrive in 2010, loaded by remote control locomotives. After 20 years, the mountain repository would be sealed, essentially forever.
Wearing earplugs and safety goggles, engineers communicate in manic sign language as Niggemyer leads a tour group past experimental sites deep within the Yucca Mountain rock.
Probed Around The Clock
Since the main tunnel was bored in 1992, Yucca Mountain has become what Niggemyer calls the "most studied piece of rock in human history," probed around the clock by the scientists and engineers who labour inside the jagged mountain ridge that rises about 1,000 feet above a dusty southwestern Nevada plain known as Jackass Flats.
Scientists have conducted countless tests to determine how water, earthquakes and glacial invasion would alter the buried nuclear waste.
"We're examining climates a million years past to see what might happen in the distant future, to determine the behaviour of this mountain when the bulk of North America will be under ice," said Abe Van Luik, a senior project scientist who added that glaciers should next dominate North America 10,000 years from now.
Researchers have studied the dung piles of ancient pack rats, looking for clues to past climates and vegetation that can be used for a glimpse into the future. They've monitored heaters set at 175 degrees C to simulate how the waste will literally cook the mountain, changing its rock layers in ways scientists still seek to understand.
After assuming for years that most surface water would evaporate in the desert, project scientists acknowledge that water will, in the end, have its way. Tens of thousands of years from now, surface water will invade the canisters and -- after being exposed to the decaying waste -- be carried away by the underground water table.
Under the plan, the fuel containers will each be protected from erosion by a drip-resistant cover shaped like the roof on a shed.
But the researchers believe that communities around the site may be able to live with some degree of radioactivity. To gauge the waste water's effect on future generations, they have used a computer to invent a fictional farming community in nearby Amargosa Valley 10,000 years from now. They are studying the possible radioactive exposure of residents and livestock that might drink water tainted by nuclear waste.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed limiting the annual radioactive exposure of local residents to 25 millirems from their water -- the equivalent of two X-rays -- and Yucca Mountain scientists are considering alternative waste package designs to meet or exceed the proposed standard.
"In the end, waste packages will fail," senior project engineer Voegele said. "Water will leak in and radioactive particles will escape. We're working hard to keep seepage to a minimum."
Project opponents say any water seepage resulting in increased radiation exposure is unacceptable.
Says Judy Treichel, director of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force, a public advocacy group that opposes the project:
"If this is the disposal solution for radioactive material, that should mean it's gone, that it's not accessible anywhere in the biosphere. But that's not the case. The government shouldn't call this disposal. They should call it delayed release."
A Warning Sign Designed to Last 100,000 Years
Scientists working on a project to store nuclear waste beneath a Nevada mountain are trying to account for the person they call "the world's unluckiest human," who may one day stumble across the toxic dump on a misguided dig for water or buried gold.
Before building an exploratory tunnel, they first determined that few mineral resources existed near Yucca Mountain to attract such excavators. Scientists conducted geologic surveys, interviewed veteran miners and studied satellite photographs of the area.
They are even considering the inscription they will place on the mountainside monument that will one day mark the site after the repository is sealed. "How will people communicate in 100,000 years?" asked Abe Van Luik, a senior project scientist. "What language will they speak? Will it be mental telepathy? One thing we assume is that subsequent generations will be smarter than we are."
One government report included notions that a project scientist termed "a cross between a "Star Trek' episode and a Grimm's fairy tale," including ideas such as a monument featuring a pictograph of universal symbols, much like those used on space probes.
Other proposals include everything from a futuristic skull and crossbones to threatening black spikes -- anything connoting extreme danger.
ILLUSTRATION: Graphic/Diagram: Los Angeles Times / Nuclear Waste Storage: Storage process, Underground facilities, Barrier system, Waste container; Colour Photo: Los Angeles Times /
Scientist John Rosenthal scans the Nevada desert from the top of Yucca Mountain, which is being studied as a place to store tonnes of lethal nuclear waste. Critics warn that the site is suspectible to earthquakes.
by Shane McCune
Ottawa's lease on the Nanoose Bay torpedo test range expired yesterday, but Victoria has made one last bid to block federal expropriation of the underwater property.
"The B.C. government is filing a court action challenging the constitutional validity of federal expropriation of provincial land," lawyer Greg McDade, representing the province, said Friday.
He said the province waited until the last minute "in the hopes there would be some resolution of the matter."
A brief filed in B.C. Supreme Court argues that the Constitution gives Ottawa "only an extremely limited right of expropriation" over provincial lands, McDade said.
But he said said the province will not seek an injunction to prevent expropriation pending the outcome of the legal wrangle.
As lawyers continue to debate, about 60 anti-nuclear demonstrators gathered yesterday outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to protest the expropriation.
The demonstration, which featured banners reading "Save Nanoose Bay" and "U.S.A.-NATO Chretien out of B.C. forever," was organized by the anti-nuclear group End the Arms Race.
Friday was the deadline for expropriation hearing officer Michael Goldie to submit his report to the federal cabinet.
During hearings in Nanaimo and Vancouver, the former B.C. Appeal Court judge fielded opposition to the expropriation from more than 100 persons, as well as written protests from several thousand more.
Early last week, a coalition of church and citizens' groups asked a Federal Court judge in Vancouver to grant an injunction to stop Goldie from submitting his report.
That report is expected to amount to little more than a summary of arguments presented by delegations before him.
Most of them supported the provincial government's opposition to the presence of nuclear-capable U.S. vessels in the
225-square-kilometre area known as Whiskey Golf on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
Other objectors cited possible nuclear contamination of the ocean, concern about native land claims to the area and indignation at violation of the province's constitutional rights.
Many complained that Goldie was abrupt and impatient, refusing to hear some objectors and interrupting others.
But he did consent to hear from some delegations who lost their right to appear due to a bureaucratic glitch.
One of the latter was Susan Oakley, 42, of Nanaimo.
Oakley didn't have any illusions about the effect of her presentation on the dangers of nuclear contamination.
"I don't think anything anyone was saying was getting through, because he had a very narrow interpretation of what he was willing to listen to," she said.
No one appearing before Goldie mentioned the political trigger for the intergovernmental dispute -- the salmon dispute with the U.S.
Photo: Jon Murray, The Province
The Raging Grannies help support a group protesting continued use of the Nanoose Bay range.
by Neal Hall
Sun Court Reporter
The B.C. government began legal action Friday in an attempt to block the federal expropriation of the Nanoose Bay weapons testing range by challenging the constitutional validity of such an act.
It is the first time in Canadian history that the federal government has used the Expropriation Act against a province.
The legal action was filed Friday in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on behalf of the attorney-general of B.C. The defendants are the attorney-general of Canada and the federal minister of public works and government services.
It seeks to have the B.C. court declare the expropriation constitutionally invalid. In the alternative, the B.C. government wants the court to declare the expropriation "is not absolutely necessary for the purpose of national defence."
The action is the B.C. government's last-ditch court effort to block the federal expropriation of the torpedo testing range, which is located off the east coast of Vancouver Island, near Nanoose Bay.
Vancouver environmental lawyer Greg McDade expressed hope the federal government will consider the province's arguments and abandon the expropriation plans.
He said the B.C. argument is that the constitution "gives the land to provincial governments and it gives only an extremely limited right of expropriation to the federal government."
Earlier this week, a lawyer for several groups opposed to the expropriation was in Federal Court, also arguing that the expropriation violated the Constitution.
Rocco Galati appealed to Justice Barbara Reed for an injunction to stop the expropriation until a full court challenge can be heard.
Galati, who represents the Human Rights Institute of Canada, the Archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada, Citizens Concerned About Free Trade and the Defence of Canadian Liberty Committee, called the plan an "act of political aggression."
The federal government is attempting to seize the 225 square kilometres of Georgia Strait seabed used for the testing range because the province refused to renew a federal lease.
The B.C. government wants assurances no nuclear warheads will enter the Nanoose range, effectively excluding the U.S. Navy from using the site.
Former premier Glen Clark had linked the use of the range to Pacific Salmon Treaty issues, threatening to shut the range in retaliation for alleged overfishing by the U.S. salmon fleet. The province stopped linking the two earlier this year and was willing to issue a lease as long as the nuclear-free policy was respected.
Dan Miller should smartly use his interim premiership to negotiate a settlement of B.C.'s dispute with Ottawa over the Nanoose Bay torpedo testing range -- a legal brawl complicated by the bad blood between his predecessor, Glen Clark, and the federal government.
Ottawa's highly objectionable attempt to expropriate this provincial property should stop now, sparing a long, costly and divisive constitutional test case likely to be a political defeat even if it won. The personnel changes at head office in Victoria invite a fresh start.
Michael Goldie, who held public hearings on Nanoose, presented his report to the government Friday. Whatever it says, negotiate.
Times Colonist (Victoria)
by Susan Danard
B.C. is taking Ottawa to court over the proposed expropriation of the Nanoose Bay torpedo testing range.
The province launched a court challenge in B.C. Supreme Court Friday, arguing that the expropriation is constitutionally invalid.
Intergovernmental Relations Minister Andrew Petter said the court action is a last resort.
B.C., which owns the 225 square kilometres of the Georgia Strait seabed beneath the range, has tried to get the federal government to resume negotiations on the issue but Ottawa refused, Petter said.
"This is a step I don't think B.C. wanted to make. . . . but we feel we have no alternative but to protect our jurisdiction."
The lease signed between the province and the federal government for use of the testing range expires today. Talks over its renewal collapsed earlier this year.
The province had previously threatened to cancel the Nanoose lease in retaliation for alleged U.S. overfishing of salmon. The U.S. navy uses the range for military testing.
It is the first time in Canadian history that the federal government has used the Expropriation Act against a province.
In its writ filed in court, B.C. maintains that the federal government has only a narrow power of expropriation over provincial lands and that this proposed expropriation falls outside that power.
The province is willing to renew the lease for the seabed so long as the federal government offers fair compensation, stronger environmental protection of the marine range and a no-nuclear-warheads policy, Petter said.
It's not the first time B.C. has gone to court over the Nanoose testing range.
In the early 1980s, B.C. led a court battle over the ownership of the Strait of Georgia seabed. The Supreme Court ruled in the province's favour.
Meanwhile Friday, retired judge Michael Goldie submitted his report to the federal government on public hearings into the expropriation.
After reviewing the report, Alfonso Gagliano, federal minister of public works and government services, can decide to confirm the expropriation, expropriate a lesser amount of the range, or abandon the expropriation.
Gagliano, who was in China Friday and unavailable for comment, will announce his decision within a couple of days, his staff said.
Until Gagliano makes his decision, no military testing will take place at the range.
Greg McDade, a lawyer representing the provincial government, said it could be a year before the province's case against the expropriation is heard in court.
In the interim, the federal government could proceed with the expropriation and torpedo testing on the range would proceed.
"This is a pretty serious issue because it has not arisen in federal-provincial relations prior. So this is a very important case not only just for B.C., but for the country," McDade said.
McDade said the legal costs to the province should be minimal since B.C. is raising legal issues that don't require a major trial.
The attorney general's office will do much of the legal work, he added.
Ivan Bulic, co-ordinator of the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, welcomes the province's court action.
The public hearings were "just a charade," said Bulic, whose group has gone to court to try to quash Goldie's report.
"It was just a formality the federal government went through because they had to."
Procedural glitches meant that hundreds of objectors who wanted to speak at the hearings went unheard.
"Based on that kind of flawed process, we feel that makes Mr. Goldie's report highly suspect," Bulic said.
People who oppose the expropriation will gather at the Nanoose base gates on Powder Point Road for a peace and justice symposium beginning at 1 p.m. today. Free music concerts will follow.
by Tom Spears
If protesters try to stop a shipment of plutonium on the way to Chalk River, police should use the demonstrators' nuclear fears against them, a federal strategy paper says.
Canada has offered to take small samples of plutonium from dismantled U.S. and Russian nuclear missiles.
The material, mixed with uranium, will be tested at AECL research laboratories in Chalk River to see whether the mix of radioactive metals can serve as fuel in a Canadian Candu reactor.
Federal estimates of the amount of fuel to be shipped range from 300 to 500 grams of plutonium, mixed with between 10 and 25 kilograms of uranium, which is the usual fuel for reactors.
The Russian shipment would travel by ship to Cornwall, and north through Kanata and Nepean by truck to Chalk River. Another shipment of U.S. plutonium will be transported through northern Michigan to enter Canada at Sault Ste. Marie, then east to Chalk River.
A document obtained from the Department of National Defence under the Access to Information Act says police escorting the test shipment of fuel must anticipate protests along the way.
Lesson one: Avoid the kind of clash that turned the 1997 APEC summit -- during which Mounties pepper-sprayed demonstrators -- into a public relations disaster.
"Police (in the escort) must treat protesters with respect," reads the federal document.
But the paper also advises playing on protesters' fears about the shipment -- even though those fears are groundless, according to the document.
"Should protesters seek to stop the truck in mid-journey, their own concerns about hazards of the shipment could be turned to effect," it says.
It advises police to take this line with any protesters: "If it is as dangerous as they claim, should the protesters not co-operate in ensuring the shipment travels to its destination in safety, without delay?"
The anonymous document warns police to expect "highly visible demonstrations, (and) even roadblocks by protesters."
At the same time, the document says the public and media must be told "the transport of the ... fuel is absolutely safe."
Especially crucial, it says, is getting out the message that nothing is going to blow up because the plutonium-uranium mixture isn't capable of exploding.
It also suggests coming up with arguments to rebut the Sierra Club and other groups, which say the plutonium should be "vitrified" -- mixed with molten glass and buried in the country that made it.
Sierra Club director Elizabeth May called the strategy paper "big on communication, weak on content.
"It's interesting to see the government's putting more effort into communications strategy than into the environmental, economic and security issues."
Energy Probe, an anti-nuclear group in Toronto, argues the danger isn't that a tiny advance shipment might spill or blow up.
The problem, says the organization, is that if the test works, Canada will start importing large amounts of plutonium for 20 years or more to "burn" at the Bruce nuclear plant on Lake Huron.
That means there will be a steady stream of truckloads that make attractive terrorist targets, and assure a ready supply of plutonium in Ontario, says Norm Rubin of Energy Probe.
So far the government says Canadians who know about the planned shipment are evenly split on the issue. But most still aren't aware of the issue, the document says.
The main hurdle, it says, is gaining public trust, "particularly in light of the Ekos Research Poll (last year), which shows that only 30 per cent of Canadians have a high level of trust in federal public servants, while 51 per cent of Canadians have a high level of trust (for) non-governmental organizations."
The second part of the communications strategy is to persuade the public that getting rid of weapons-grade plutonium will make the world safer, and Canada should play a role.
The theory is that once plutonium has been mixed with uranium and has gone through a reactor, it's so changed that the plutonium can't be extracted again and used in future weapons.
The strategy document, obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin, also advises a communications strategy based on complete openness to win over public opinion. For instance, it suggests publishing and distributing maps showing the precise route of the two samples of uranium-plutonium fuel.
St. Catharines Standard
NORTH BAY - Premier Mike Harris called on the federal government for assurance there is no risk in shipping radioactive fuel on provincial highways.
"We want to be 100 per cent or 200 per cent satisfied that there's absolutely no risk involved to any of our citizens," Harris said.
Ottawa announced Thursday it will test the nuclear fuel in Candu reactors by the end of the year. The initial test involves 120 grams of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel at the Chalk River nuclear facility.
The federal government backs the initiative as part of its nuclear disarmament policy.
"We need to know and the public needs to know," Harris said. "I'm satisfied there are safe ways to move this kind of material but we don't want any corners cut."
The U.S. fuel will enter Ontario at Sault Ste. Marie and likely travel along Highway 17 through Sudbury, North Bay, Mattawa and on to Chalk River, the most direct route. The Russian shipment is to arrive at Cornwall by ship.
Among those angered by the plan are several northern First Nations leaders.
"Now Canada prepares itself to become the dumping ground for the world's most dangerous garbage," said Vernon Roote, chief of the Union of Ontario Indians.
"The issue is another example of aboriginal people and other northerners not being consulted before decisions are made."
But some northern politicians reserved judgment.
"I'm not immediately alarmed by it," said Petawawa mayor Ed Chow.
"From everything that I've heard, the amount they're talking about right now is a test quantity, it's small. I don't think the present shipment is a problem or a threat."
But a document obtained under access laws from the Department of National Defence says police escorting the shipments should plan to meet protests along the way.
It advises playing on anti-nuclear fears to get the shipments through.
"Should protesters seek to stop the truck in mid-journey, their own concerns about hazards of the shipment could be turned to effect," says the anonymous document.
"If it is as dangerous as they claim, should the protesters not co-operate in ensuring the shipment travels to its destination in safety, without delay?"
by Dennis Bueckert
Nuclear fuel containing plutonium from U.S. and Russian warheads will be imported through two Ontario communities for a test burn later this year, federal officials announced Thursday.
Mayors of the two communities concerned -- Cornwall and Sault Ste. Marie -- are not happy about the plan.
The fuel is to be tested at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. laboratories at Chalk River, Ont., 175 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.
The testing, to take two years, will assess the suitability of Candu technology to dispose of surplus plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads. Ottawa sees the plan as a way to support disarmament.
Cornwall Mayor Brian Sylvester said he has grave concerns about the material being unloaded at Cornwall Harbour and then transported through his community.
"The City of Cornwall will continue to dialogue . . . with the various departments involved. However, I wish to reiterate that in my view, Cornwall must not be the port of entry for this substance."
Stephen Butland, mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, expressed surprise that his city has been chosen as an entry point, saying he had received no advance notice of the decision.
Butland said in an interview he is not sure what position to take on the matter, and has requested a briefing by federal officials. He wants to know why the Sault Ste. Marie route was chosen over other possibilities.
"One has to be concerned when you're shipping plutonium through your district."
The Transport Department is inviting public comment during the next 28 days on the proposed routes. It will also assess emergency response plans required for the transport of any hazardous goods.
"Given the safeguards . . . Canada can have confidence in the security of this particular shipment as well as they have in all of the others," said Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale.
He said there are 27 million shipments of hazardous goods in Canada annually, including 800,000 shipments of radioactive materials.
Environmental groups remain opposed to the test burn at Chalk River, but they are not repeating previous claims that transport of the mixed oxide (MOX) reactor fuel poses a major threat of catastrophic accident.
Steve Shallhorn of Greenpeace said the threat of a major transportation accident is low, but there are significant environment risks arising from the manufacture of the MOX fuel in Russia and the United States.
Shallhorn said the fuel should be stored under surveillance in the country where it originated.
Gordon Edwards of the Nuclear Awareness Project, said there is a risk of an accident at Chalk River during the test burn, just as there is always a risk of accident at any nuclear reactor.
Edwards said the MOX plan is no longer viable because Ontario Power Generation, which operates most of Canada's nuclear reactors, no longer supports it.
But John Earl, a spokesman for Ontario Power Generation, said the utility remains open to the MOX plan if the test burn is successful, if all regulatory hurdles are cleared and if the plan makes business sense.
Each shipment for the test burn contains 120 grams of plutonium, an amount similar in size to two AA batteries. About five kilograms are needed for a bomb, experts say.
MOX fuel, containing three per cent plutonium, is formed into ceramic pellets and encased in zirconium rods which cannot ignite, explode or be inhaled, the experts said.
The rods will be placed in heavy steel drums, and the truck carrying each shipment will be followed by an escort. All communities along the route will be alerted in advance of the shipments.
If the test is successful, a larger disposal program would be considered, said Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, who addressed the briefing by telephone.
He said the growing number of surplus nuclear warheads -- it's estimated there will be 40,000 within three years -- pose a threat to world peace due to the risk of theft and proliferation.
"My belief is that Canadians overwhelmingly want to see Canada take an active position on disarmament. If we're going to take a leadership role, we have to take some responsibility."
Russia and the United States each have an estimated 50 tonnes of surplus plutonium in storage. So far, neither country has asked Canada to participate in a large-scale disposal program.
by Dan Bellerose
A decision to truck weapons-grade plutonium derived from U.S. atomic warheads in New Mexico through Sault Ste. Marie en route to Chalk River, Ont., has local politicians searching for answers.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced Thursday in Ottawa that the Sault International Bridge could be the entry point later this year for the mixed oxide fuel (MOX), bound for the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s Chalk River laboratory.
The shipment of 120 grams, which contains 97 per cent uranium and three per cent weapons-grade plutonium, and comparable in size to two AA batteries, will be used in a test burn to assess the suitability of Candu reactor technology to dispose of surplus plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads.
Cornwall will be the port of entry for a similar amount of MOX arriving from Russia by ship.
"All I know at present is that it is supposed to be a one-time shipment of 120 grams and it will come through prior to Christmas," said Sault Mayor Steve Butland, of the announcement that sent him scrambling for additional information.
"Government officials have assured me the fuel is low-risk and very safe to transport, an opinion confirmed by the city fire chief, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered.
"Nobody will be in immediate danger and we won't be allowing the material to come through the city until we are completely assured of citizen safety," he said.
Transport Canada is inviting public comment on the proposed routes for the next 28 days and will assess emergency response plans required for the transporting of hazardous goods.
"We want to get appropriate federal officials to come to the Sault as soon as possible and meet with the city's Emergency Measures Organization so we can get the full story," said Butland. He said he was first informed of the Sault being an access point Thursday morning.
Tony Martin, MPP for the Sault, is another seeking some answers.
"This came from totally out of the blue and we should be very concerned," said Martin. "Plutonium is one of the most volatile materials in existence and we haven't heard about the ramifications if anything happens to the shipment.
"Howard Hampton (leader of the provincial NDP) has sent out letters to the premier and prime minister asking them to intervene until there are guarantees that the risk to communities along the route is minimal.
"We also want a full environmental assessment, from Sault Ste. Marie to Chalk River. If they still plan on going ahead with the shipments then we would want assurances they have a response plan in place should something go wrong."
Steve Shallhorn, campaign director for Greenpeace Canada, an anti-nuclear organization, agrees the chance of a mishap is remote.
"There will be low probability of an accident en route and there won't be a nuclear explosion if something does happen," said Shallhorn in a telephone interview from Toronto.
The worst-case scenario, according to Shallhorn, is an accident, the cask surrounding the ceramic MOX pellets splitting open, a fire, and material escaping into the air and water.
There are about 27 million shipments of hazardous materials annually in Canada, including about 800,000 with radioactive material.
A question on a lot of minds is how the Sault became an entry point for the test material.
"My information is that there were seven possible entry points, that the Sault was the second-least desirable route, and yet now the material is coming through the city," said Butland.
Greenpeace heard of three possible entry points into Canada, at Emmerson, Man., near Winnipeg, then Highway 17 East to Nipigon and Highway 11 to North Bay and back on Highway 17 to Chalk River.
Additional entry points included Sarnia and the Thousand Islands Bridge near Kingston.
"I imagine there will only be a one-time shipment through the Sault," said Shallhorn, who believes it will take a couple of years for the test to be analysed.
"If the test is successful they might move tons of the material in the future but if they intend to use it as fuel in their Bruce (Peninsula) reactors it makes more sense to cross at Sarnia or Windsor."
Cities such as Sudbury and Windsor, according to Shallhorn, as well as several communities throughout southern Michigan have voiced opposition to the material moving through their areas.
Atomic Energy of Canada documents outlining the transportation routes and safety precautions for the shipments, according to a Southam News story out of Ottawa, suggest the routes were chosen from several alternatives because of their generally lower population density.
Carmen Provenzano, MP for the Sault, was another politician getting first wind of the city being an access point Thursday.
"My first concern is human health and safety and I want to look into the rationale for using the International Bridge as the crossing point," said Provenzano. "If I feel the area is being compromised by the decision then I will make my views known loud and clear."
The Sault MP said he would also check into when the government actually decided bringing the MOX through the Sault.
"I would be extremely disappointed if they've known for weeks that entry was going to be at the Sault but didn't have the common courtesy to inform city officials. I assume nothing was said because a decision didn't come down until the last minute."
John Embury, press secretary to Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale, in a comment to Southam News, said the government could not inform the selected communities until after AECL presented its proposal to the Department of Transport on Thursday.
"We have to wait until the application to see what the routes are," said Embury to Southam News.
"It is incredible that this kind of plan could be concocted without even a word to the local communities -- the people who will be affected by these shipments," said Kathleen Brosemer, a spokesperson for Clean North, a local environmental group, in a press release.
An environmental impact study had been prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, according to Northwatch, a regional coalition of environmental groups, and identified three possible routes -- none used the International Bridge or the Highway 17 corridor from the Sault to North Bay.
"The MOX fuel test is a step forward in getting rid of nuclear weapons," said Axworthy in a prepared statement from Ottawa. "Eliminating the risk of theft and proliferation posed by plutonium weapons helps us to reach this goal."
Greenpeace rejects the notion that the burning of plutonium in Candu reactors is a step forward for nuclear disarmament.
"This program is nonsense. It is expensive, dangerous and will not help dismantle a single nuclear warhead," said Shallhorn. "We should be putting our effort into supervising the safe, secure storage of warheads in the country of origin. Every time you move this material you add the risk of transport accidents and theft."
by Terry Pender
City council has unanimously voted to oppose the trucking of nuclear weapons fuel from dismantled American and Russian warheads to the Chalk River nuclear facility.
In voting against the shipment, Councillor Mike Petryna said the idea brought back memories of the August, 1998 truck blast in Walden. Trucks can’t always safely carry conventional explosives, and there would be no second chances with the weapons-grade plutonium, said Petryna at Tuesday's city council meeting.
The federal government wants to ship the fuel from Sault Ste. Marie along Highway 17 to its Chalk River Laboratories, where the plutonium is supposed to be tested at a CANDU nuclear reactor.
The American shipment is due to arrive in Canada at Sault Ste. Marie, and then travel east along Highway 17, passing through the North Shore, Sudbury, North Bay and Mattawa on its way to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s laboratories at Chalk River.
"We must first and foremost do everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our citizens, and protect our environment from any risks as those posed by a potential accident with horrific consequences," says the motion approved by city council.
Trucks will carry the material, which is a mixture of uranium and plutonium called mixed oxide fuel (MOX). The vehicles will pass through Walden, Nickel Centre and Sudbury's Ward 9 on its way through the region. "It's going through towns and villages," said Councillor Doug Craig. "It's just not a good idea."
The federal government announced last Thursday it plans to accept up to 100 tonnes of mixed oxide from the U.S. and Russia every year for 25 years. But first a test burn must be conducted at the Chalk River reactor.
"I'm really shocked the government of Canada would approve something like this without even consulting communities along the route first," said Councillor Ted Callaghan.
by Dan Bellerose
The mayor of Sault Ste. Marie is requesting an immediate full public hearing with federal government agencies concerning the proposed transport of nuclear weapons-grade plutonium through the city en route to Chalk River, Ont. "The public has a right to know all of the information regarding this issue and full public disclosure is necessary," said Mayor Steve Butland in a press release announcing a letter sent Tuesday to Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources.
"I have rejected any requests for a private meeting with council and myself to discuss the issue. I'm content that (Sault MP) Carmen Provenzano agrees with my call for a public hearing."
Late last week, Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of External Affairs, announced that Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. would be accepting mixed oxide nuclear reactor fuel for test burns at its Chalk River laboratory in the Ottawa Valley.
The MOX, a blend of 97 per cent uranium oxide with three per cent plutonium oxide, will be tested to assess the suitability of Candu reactor technology to dispose of surplus plutonium from dismantled U.S. nuclear warheads.
The Sault was selected as an access point into Canada for a shipment containing about 120 grams of plutonium, comparable in size to two AA batteries, being trucked from Los Alamos, N.M., to Chalk River before the end of the year.
Seven land routes, including six entry points in Ontario, had been under consideration by Atomic Energy Canada to carry the controversial cargo.
The Department of Transport, which gave preliminary approval to the route through the Sault at the International Bridge, has set aside 28 days for public feedback.
Cornwall has been selected as a port of entry for a similar-sized shipment of plutonium arriving by ship from Russia for similar testing.
"My research has provided me with a perspective that dictates the necessity of my requesting a full public hearing in my community regarding the transport of MOX fuel," Butland said in his letter to Goodale.
"I am assured that in discussions with Michigan Congressman (Bart) Stupak's office and Mayor (Verna) Lawrence's office in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., that interest in a public hearing could be international in scope.
"Mayor Jack Burrows of North Bay has also requested to be in attendance at any such forum."
Butland is requesting the involvement of appropriate government officials from Foreign Affairs, Natural Resources, Transport Canada and Atomic Energy of Canada.
The proposed shipment coming through the Sault would contain about nine tubes of fuel already prepared in the United States for immediate placement into a reactor.
The fuel, contained in dense, ceramic pellets and encased in zirconium (metal), will be transported in sealed containers specifically designed and tested to withstand impact, puncture, water immersion and fire.
The fuel itself, according to government background papers, is described as stable, solid and not soluble. It cannot spill, ignite or burn and is not a powder that can be inhaled.
The sample, according to the government, poses minimal risk to public health and safety and the environment.
The MOX program, which has been used throughout Europe, sees plutonium from nuclear weapons converted to plutonium oxide, which is then added in small amounts to uranium oxide to make nuclear reactor fuel.
Atomic Energy Canada has entered into a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy and government authorities in the Russian Federation to assess the operating performance of MOX fuel.
The testing is seen as a way for the U.S. and Russia to convert plutonium from their nuclear weapons programs into MOX fuel to generate electricity in nuclear power reactors.
Once the fuel is used in a reactor it cannot readily be used for nuclear weapons.
page A11 by Tim Naumetz
The federal government shocked two Ontario cities and the national capital region by announcing on Thursday that they have been targeted as transport routes for weapons-grade plutonium from the United States and Russia.
Canada has agreed to accept test samples of a mixture including the plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons to see if it can be developed by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. for use in CANDU nuclear reactors, the government said.
But the mayor of Sault Ste. Marie and a councillor in the small port city of Cornwall on the St. Lawrence River said the government failed to warn them beforehand about the news and both cities were left scrambling to get more information.
An official in the regional government office of Ottawa-Carleton, through which one of the routes runs, was also unaware of the plan until informed by the media.
Mixed oxide fuel
Under the proposal, a shipment of mixed oxide fuel from the United States, containing about 120 grams of weapons-grade plutonium, will be trucked from New Mexico, through Sault Ste. Marie, to AECL's research laboratories at Chalk River in Northern Ontario.
Another shipment from Russia, containing the same amount of plutonium, would arrive by ship at Cornwall and then be trucked on major highways, including the 401 expressway between Montreal and Toronto, through the cities of Nepean and Kanata on the outskirts of Ottawa to the same laboratories.
Members of the public and the cities involved in the proposal have only 28 days to respond while it is under review for final approval by the federal transport department. The government expects the first shipments to arrive later this year.
An assistant to Ottawa-Carleton Regional Chair Bob Chiarelli said the region had not been informed about the proposal.
Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Steve Butland said he insisted the government send officials to the city to inform citizens after he learned about the plan through the news media.
"Of course you're disappointed, you're concerned," Butland said. "As a mayor of a community, I have to say, why us? Why not somebody else? Is it because our population density is not that great?"
Cornwall city councillor Claude Poirier said the surprise in his community was compounded by the fact that city officials are negotiating with the federal government to buy the port site for cleanup and municipal development.
"Obviously there is cause for alarm because basically right now all we've got is this press release," said Poirier, who added the Cornwall port can accommodate only one ship and has no emergency response facilities.
"There hasn't been a community consultation done at all. We'll be obviously contacting our local Member of Parliament (Liberal Bob Kilger)."
AECL documents outlining the transportation routes and safety precautions for the shipments suggest the routes were chosen from several alternatives because of their generally lower population density.
But AECL spokesman Larry Shewchuk said the plutonium will pose no risk and added that the government, not AECL, decided which routes to propose.
The radioactivity levels of the plutonium are so low "you could hold it in your hands," said Shewchuk. The plutonium containers are designed to withstand fires, collisions and explosions, Shewchuk added.
Despite that, both the United States and Canadian governments are proposing detailed responses to a potential emergency, including satellite tracking of the plutonium-loaded trucks as they pass through the U.S.
John Embury, press secretary to Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale, said the government could not inform the selected communities until after AECL presented its proposal to the transport department Thursday.
"We have to wait until the application to see what the routes are," said Embury.
A spokesman for the environmental watchdog group, Greenpeace, countered that the plutonium could pose a risk to populated areas if its carrier is involved in a collision or accident that involves a fire.
Spokesman Michael Khoo added that use of the plutonium from nuclear weapons in reactors does not solve the problem of permanent storage, since the spent fuel from the reactors, also highly radioactive, must also be stored securely.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy said in a prepared statement that the experiment could help reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
He said it will reduce the risk of theft and proliferation posed by nuclear weapons.
|The following AECL documents are available at Transport Canada's web site: |
As of September 7th there was no AECL ''Emergency Response Plan'' for the Russian plutonium shipment available on the Transport Canada web site.