Union of Ontario Indians protest plans to ship radioactive waste over Great Lakes

25 Mar

By Eartha Jane Melzer

The Union of Ontario Indians will battle a plan to ship 1,600 tons of radioactive waste from the Bruce nuclear power complex to Sweden via the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, the group announced this week.

UOI, a political advocacy organization that represents 39 First Nation communities in Ontario, said that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Bruce Power Corporation failed to properly consult with First Nation communities before approving the plant to ship 16 contaminated steam generators from the Bruce Power complex in Kincardine.

“[M]ost of the Chiefs and Councils who are signatories to treaties all along the Great Lakes were never consulted,“ Southwest Regional Anishinabek Nation Chief Chris Plain said in a statement. “The duty to consult and accommodate must be done with the rights holders and we were never consulted.”

“We will do everything in our power to prevent the Ontario and Federal governments and the nuclear power industry from using our precious waterways as a garbage disposal route,” Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee said. “It is contrary to Supreme Court decisions, our aboriginal and treaty rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the laws of Nature.”

Mayors from more than 70 communities along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway have warned that the proposed shipment has not received adequate environmental review and threatens the water supply for millions people.

The ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan shows that accidents can result in radioactive contamination of water supplies.This week officials in Tokyo warned residents not to let infants drink the tap water because it contains elevated levels of radioactive iodine.

U.S. Dept. of Transportation approval is required for the Bruce shipment to pass through U.S. waters.

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