The Mohawk Council of the Akwesasne reservation is one of nearly 80 groups and organizations trying to halt a shipment of nuclear waste through the St. Lawrence Seaway.
After a two-day hearing about the shipment last month, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will decide whether it should allow 16 decommissioned 100-ton radioactive steam generators to pass through the Great Lakes and the Seaway.
The genetrators are headed to Sweden to be recycled, but the Mohawk Council and the political and environmental groups are trying to stop them from getting there. Instead, these entities argue that the materials should be left at the Bruce Power plant, as originally planned.
The generators would not be the first radioactive shipment to go to Europe via the St. Lawrence Seaway. However, they are too large to fit into the regular containers designed for such shipments, making a special permit necessary, according to the Bruce Power website.
After the recycling process in Sweden, 90 percent of the steel from the generators would be able to be reused. The remaining 10 percent would be shipped back to Bruce Power for long-term storage, according to the company.
The newspaper report states that for the Mohawks, “the issue is more about respect — of their history and culture, as well as their laws. . . . In 1999, the council, which governs the Canadian side of the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation, halted a similar transport of mixed oxide fuel, a fuel capable of sustaining nuclear fission. At that time, it also passed a law saying no nuclear materials would ever pass through Mohawk lands, Ms. Nanticoke said. If the Canadian commission decides to allow the transport of the generators despite the protests, that law may become an issue, though Ms. Nanticoke could not say for sure.”