nuclear dump called terror 'bull's-eye' Canadian Press
OTTAWA (CP) -An outdoor radioactive waste dump, a financially
troubled company, and one of the world's primary freshwater
sources are a lethal mix, environmentalists said today.
They issued that assessment as they called for a public,
international review of a proposal to store high-level nuclear
waste at the Bruce nuclear power station on the shores of
"This facility . . . would be a primary terrorist target,"
said Kevin Kamps, an anti-nuclear activist from Michigan.
"It would represent a radioactive bull's-eye in the heart
of the Great Lakes, a terrorist's dream-come-true."
British Energy Corp., the financially troubled parent company
of Bruce Power, recently received a multibillion-dollar
British government bailout.
Now, Ontario Power Generation, the company that owns and
leases eight reactors to Bruce Power and operates the waste
storage facilities there, is asking the Canadian Nuclear
Safety Commission for special status.
If given, it would effectively grant the facilities public
financial protection for what one activist called "the highest
concentration of nuclear risk in the world."
Under Canada's Nuclear Liability Act, insurance companies
would have to cover only $75 million of liability in the
event of a radioactive leak.
By comparison, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster has cost the
governments of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia more than $350
billion. Europe requires at least $600 million coverage
for each nuclear facility.
"The Canadian government is setting itself up for financial
extortion," said Michael Keegan, chairman of the Coalition
for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes.
"Once that waste is in place, the Canadian government cannot
say: `We will not subsidize this any longer.' The corporation
will go bankrupt, but the Canadian government will be left
holding the bag."
The coalition wants government to order nuclear facilities
to set aside bankrupt-proof, segregated funds for decommissioning
and waste management.
A spokesman for Bruce noted that Thursday the Nuclear Safety
Commission endorsed Bruce Power's safety record.
"CNSC staff have not observed anything to indicate that
the current financial problems being experienced by British
Energy PLC have had an adverse impact on safe operations
at the Bruce site," said the commission.
John Earl, a spokesman for Ontario Power Generation, said
his firm has followed a detailed approval process to expand
its waste management facilities at Bruce.
"We have to ensure we meet and we certainly do meet all
the regulatory requirements," said Earl. "There have been
a number of hearings and the hearings are open to the public.
"People can express their concerns to the regulator and
if the regulator believes there is opportunity for adjustment
then they would ask . . . for those adjustments and we would,
of course, oblige."
The International Atomic Energy Agency has designated the
Bruce facility the most concentrated nuclear site in the
An accident or terrorist attack at the site could contaminate
20 per cent of the world's fresh water in the Great Lakes
Basin "in a heartbeat," said Keegan.
"Let's take a look at what we're doing. Let's slow down."
Ontario Power Generation operates nuclear plants at Pickering
and Darlington. It also owns the Bruce facilities, where
it leases its plant to a consortium and continues to operate
waste-management facilities for storage of low- and medium-level
It is awaiting approval for storage of high-level waste
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