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Great Lakes Article:

Critics condemn plan to ship nuclear waste across Lake Michigan
Last Updated Wed, 01 May 2002 9:17:24
Washington Post

WASHINGTON - A proposal by the United States could see nuclear waste carried across Lake Michigan by barge, a plan the Canadian government does not seem to know about.

Under a new program likely to become law this summer, nuclear waste from the U.S. will be stored in a cavern dug out of Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

It will be shipped by truck or rail, raising concerns from major U.S. cities along the route who fear a collision or derailment could lead to a leak.

But the U.S. Department of Energy also announced plans to ship thousands of tons of nuclear waste from reactors on the shores of Lake Michigan to transfer sites on nearby railroads.

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich condemned the idea last week on Capitol Hill.

"Over 35 million people living in the Great Lakes basin get their drinking water from the Great Lakes and I venture to guess they will not appreciate the fact that nuclear waste is being shipped across their drinking water," said Kucinich.

While Lake Michigan lies completely inside the U.S., it is part of the Great Lakes and run by the International Joint Commission.

But senior nuclear experts at the Commission told CBC News that they have no knowledge of the proposal to ship nuclear waste across Lake Michigan.

Their counterparts at Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Transport, the Department of the Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission also said they hadn't heard of the proposal.

Because the barges of nuclear waste will sail inside the US, there are no legal requirements Canada be informed.

But Paul Muldoon, head of the Canadian Environmental Law Association in Toronto, says Canada needs to get involved.

"The absence of Canadian involvement is a major problem unless action is taken very soon and the Canadian public is assured by the Canadian government that it will become involved, that it will pursue defence of Canadian interests abroad," said Muldoon.

If the disposal plan is approved this summer, barges carrying nuclear waste could set sail on Lake Michigan in eight years.

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