Owen Sound mayor leery
of Bruce Power's plan to send steam generators to Sweden

By Lynda Cooper, myFM Radio


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Bruce Power's plan to transport 16 used steam generators from the Bruce A restart project to Sweden, on the Great Lakes, may have trouble getting out of the Owen Sound Harbour.

The city's mayor, Ruth Lovell Stanners, says she is concerned about the proposal to move the shipments onto boats in her community. City council has decided to call for a public meeting on July 27 so residents can ask questions.

Murray Elston of Bruce Power communications, has assured the public that the process is safe.

However, Lovell Stanners says that's probably what British Petroleum (BP) told people on the Gulf of Mexico who are now suffering the fall-out from BP's recent oil spill.

Elston was at Kincardine council last week, outlining the proposed land route to get the steam generators to the harbour. It leaves the nuclear site and follows Bruce County Road 20 to Highway 21, north to Port Elgin and then east along Bruce County Road 17 to Burgoyne.

From there, it travels over the Thede Bridge to the B-Line and north to Highway 21, then east to Jackson, south to Grey County Road 5, east to Highway 6 and10, and north to Owen Sound.

Bruce Power has put in a request for permission from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to transport the steam generators to Studsvik in Sweden which can recycle 90 per cent of the steel, returning the other 10 per cent back to Bruce Power for storage.

Shipping the steam generators is going to be a long, slow-moving process, said Elston. "We'll have one shipment (by land) per day. Each steam generator will be put on a flatbed truck and transported to the harbour."

The 16 units will be put on a boat larger than the Chi-Cheemaun, sent through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway and on to Sweden. 

Elston said Studsvik is in charge of transporting the steam generators right from the time they leave the site until they arrive in Sweden. Bruce Power plans to start shipping the units in September or October of this year. It will then take about three years to process the generators.

Bruce Power has a $37-million contract with Studsvik to recycle a total of 32 steam generators from Units 1-4 at Bruce A.


Kurt Wigle, in charge of waste operations at the Bruce site, said economically, it's a break-even project. However, recycling the steam generators is much better for the environment than storing them in a building at the site or taking up space in the proposed Deep Geologic Repository.

"We can put up to 24 steam generators in one building (on site)," he said. "With 32 of them, that requires another building. We're always trying to find ways to decrease waste, and this process does that."

Councillor Marsha Leggett asked if Bruce Power plans to move the steam generators at night to avoid heavy traffic.

Elston said they have to be moved during the daytime because they are large loads and require good visibility. It will also be challenging in the fall, so they are hoping for good weather.

As for concerns from various environmental groups, Elston said the radioactive exposure from standing  beside one of these steam generators is equivalent to what a person would be exposed to when having a chest X-ray done.

"We're making this process as safe as we can get it," he said.

Councillor Guy Anderson said that for $37-million, why doesn't Bruce Power set up a similar business at the Bruce Energy Centre to decommission these items.

"This is a first-of-a-kind project," said Elston. "There's nothing in North America with the capability of Studsvik. They have the expertise to do this and they have the experience."

Bruce Power is still looking at options for loading the steam generators on the ship at the Owen Sound Harbour.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010