Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Groups Call For Return Of Nuclear Task Force

Jul 24: Key environmental groups in Canada and the United States, that deal with Great Lakes water quality and environmental issues, are calling on their respective governments and the International Joint Commission (IJC) on Great Lakes Water Quality to bring back a Nuclear Task Force that will report on nuclear contamination and dangers in the Great Lakes. The groups that include, among others, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Great Lakes United, Sierra Club, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes are pressing the IJC to reinstate a Nuclear Task Force that last reported in 1997.

    John Jackson, interim executive director of Great Lakes United said, "New potentially calamitous threats to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are now being promoted, including proposals to bury radioactive wastes near the shores of the Great Lakes, and to transport radioactive contaminated materials on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. The International Joint Commission must get involved now to assess existing and potential threats and impacts and to recommend aggressive actions by the Canadian and U.S. Governments."
    Lorraine Rekmans, of Serpent River First Nation said, "Even the IJC's earlier reports call for much greater follow up on the many concerns of the first Nuclear Task Force. This still needs to be addressed with the same type of vigor as earlier work by the IJC.  This is no time to be lax about radioactive contamination in the Great Lakes, given the aging nuclear reactors we are dealing with on both sides of the border." Attorney Terry Lodge of the Toledo Safe Energy Coalition said, "The IJC cannot ignore chronic harms of radio-nuclides from 33 reactors on the shores of the Great Lakes or potentially catastrophic radiological risks such as currently posed by the Lake Erie David-Besse reactor's severely cracked and degraded shield building and the Lake Michigan Palisades plant's irradiated water leak."
    According to a release, currently, the IJC receives reporting from the national agencies governing nuclear industries, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the US, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility said the "oversight is too cursory" and is calling for a more comprehensive overview of radioactive threats to water quality. He said, "The existing nuclear regulatory agencies (NRC and CNSC) cannot be expected to provide the kind of comprehensive and detailed information specific to the Great Lakes. As national agencies, their mandates are much too broad for this type of focus. Risks to water quality are downplayed or overlooked. We have professionals who are currently focused intently on monitoring radioactive releases and assessing risks and impacts that nuclear facilities are having on our water supply. These professionals must be allowed to contribute to IJCs work."
    The groups said they, ". . .have contacted IJC and requested a re-instatement of the Nuclear Task Force. However, IJC, has said that its terms of reference established jointly by the US and Canadian governments."
    Access a release from the organizations with contact information (click here). [#GLakes, #Haz/Nuclear, #Energy/Nuclear]
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