BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A controversial plan that would haul thousands of gallons of liquid nuclear material across the Great Lakes region has been given the go ahead by a U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Department of Energy wants to transport the liquid material by truck from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to the agency’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina.
The proposed route could see 6,000 gallons, 100 to 150 truckloads, move across the Peace Bridge in Buffalo before heading south.
There was swift reaction from environmental groups that filed a lawsuit designed to stop the shipments or force a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
But a federal judge ruled in favor of the Department of Energy, stating the agency was not obligated to perform a new Environmental Impact Statement.
“This particular material we’re talking about is four times more concentrated in terms of cesium-137 content,” said Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste specialist with the Beyond Nuclear.
“In that sense it’s more dangerous than the liquid high-level radioactive wastes from nuclear weapons productions. So, call it what you will, it’s very dangerous stuff and they’re about to start shipping it in liquid form for the first time in U.S. and Canadian history,” he added.
Representative Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, fired off a letter Friday to the Energy Department’s acting secretary.
Higgins is requesting that the agency take a “fresh look” at the issue and “reconsider conducting a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to satisfy mounting public concern over these shipments.”
Higgins wrote,” Failing to do so before proceeding would severely undermine the public trust and call into question the Department’s commitment to protecting the public health and safety.’