Liquid Nuclear Waste Convoys A Threat to the Waters of the Great Lakes via Niagara at Large

Convoys Likely To Use Canada/U.S. Border Crossings in Greater Niagara Region

“Such high-level radioactive liquid has never before been transported over public roads anywhere in North America.”

A Message of Concern from the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility – a Coalition that includes the National Council of Women of Canada and its Environment Convenor from Niagara, Ontario, Gracia Janes

Posted October 3rd, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Over two dozen non-governmental organizations from Canada and the United States are asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama to postpone or cancel an unprecedented series of shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste from Ontario to South Carolina along public roads and over bridges crossing the waters of the Great Lakes.


The liquid in question is now stored in a large double-walled tank called FISST (Fissile Solutions Storage Tank) at Chalk River, Ontario, containing 23 000 litres (6000 gallons) of an intensely radioactive and highly dangerous acidic solution. FISST holds a bewildering variety of radionuclides that are created when uranium is irradiated in a reactor. The liquid also contains a quantity of weapons-grade Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) – essentially the same material as the nuclear explosive that was used in the Hiroshima Bomb.

“Nuclear authorities in both countries have disguised the true nature of this liquid waste by calling it Highly Enriched Uranyl Nitrate Liquid (HEUNL)” said Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. “In fact uranyl nitrate is only one of dozens of radioactive compounds in the liquid, and that liquid is more than 17,000 times more radioactive than the uranyl nitrate alone. Such high-level radioactive liquid has never before been transported over public roads anywhere in North America.”


Plans call for 100 to 150 truckloads of liquid waste over a period of several years, from Chalk River, Ontario, to the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina, along secret routes with heavily armed guards. The ostensible purpose is to “repatriate” the US-origin weapons-grade uranium to avoid any chance of its use in nuclear weapons, according to a program launched by President Obama in 2009. However, it was never originally intended to ship the material in liquid form

Tom Clements, Director of Savannah River Site Watch in South Carolina, observed that “The safest and cheapest way to address proliferation concerns is to eliminate the weapons-grade uranium at Chalk River by down-blending it, leaving only low enriched uranium (LEU), which is not nuclear-weapons-usable material.  In February 2016, Indonesia was given permission to down-blend its stock of US-origin liquid weaponsgrade uranium, thereby eliminating any need to transport the material back to the USA. The same can be done with the Chalk River liquid waste, as was explicitly delineated by Canadian authorities in 2011.”  The Indonesian down-blending operation is already completed, just a few months after US Department of Energy permission was given.

The Niagara Regional councillors are unanimously opposed to these shipments coming through the Niagara region.   Gracia Janes, from Niagara-on-the-Lake, is the Environment Convenor of the National Council of Women of Canada. She pointed out “our regional councillors represent close to 500,000 people. Being on the edge of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, with the unique tender fruit lands growing the best peaches in Canada, if not North America, we are very conscious of what an accident and liquid spill would mean.”

Read more at Liquid Nuclear Waste Convoys A Threat to the Waters of the Great Lakes

This entry was posted in *English and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply