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Mohawks to Bruce Power: You’re Going to Transport What? Where?

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The Bruce Power Co. is ready to transport steam generators containing radioactive waste up the St. Lawrence Seaway on its way to … Sweden?

The St. Regis Mohawk and other tribes are ready to blow a gasket.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is joined by the Kahnawake and Tyendinaga Mohawk governments in opposing the shipment of radioactive contaminated steam generators through Akwesasne territory in the wake of the February 4 approval by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for Bruce to ship 16 steam generators full of used nuclear fuel during this year’s shipping season.

“As a practical matter, and to my knowledge, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe was never consulted or notified of any aspect of this planned shipment,” said Tribal Chief Mark Garrow in a press release on February 17. “This is a matter of protocol and policy. The Tribe became aware of this scheme only after the media picked up the story and other Native governments objected.”

The tribes are not alone in their opposition, according to the release. Other local governments and groups have come out against it as well. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a binational coalition of more than 70 mayors, also opposes the proposed shipment.

“This plan is not in line with the United States and Canadian governments’ consultation policies with Native Governments,” declared Mohawk Tribal Chief Monica Jacobs. “Obviously both the United States and Canadian governments had knowledge of and discussion about this way before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission issued a transport license.”

More than 50 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups from a dozen nations, as well as more than 150 individuals, have signed a resolution stating their opposition to Bruce Power's plan, which would transport the radioactively contaminated equipment through the Great Lakes, along the St. Lawrence River, across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Baltic Sea to Sweden for recycling.

Bruce Power president and CEO Duncan Hawthorne pointed out that the CNSC had granted them a stamp of approval in the form of a license and said that when the process is over the company will have actually helped the environment.

"We always believed this was the right thing to do to reduce our environmental footprint, and we are pleased the soundness of our case has been verified by the CNSC,” Hawthorne said in a company statement.