Arrives Safely in Canada
Associated Press, January 14, 2000
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A shipment of weapons-grade
plutonium arrived safely in Canada early Friday after passing through
Michigan overnight, a congressman said.
``We are very pleased that there has not been a
problem,'' Rep. Bart Stupak said. ``Everything has arrived safely. There
has been no harm to our environment, or the health or safety of northern
Michigan.'' Stupak had pushed for greater safety measures after the
shipment was announced in September.
The controversial shipment was part of the Parallex
Project, a joint American-Russian experiment to determine whether commercial
nuclear reactors in Canada can use material from decommissioned Russian
nuclear weapons as fuel.
The plutonium -- 4.2 ounces -- was sent from a laboratory
in New Mexico to a nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ontario.
The shipment drew sharp opposition from many Michigan
officials and citizens, who said trucking the radioactive material across
the state -- including over the Mackinac Bridge -- posed great danger.
A federal judge last month rejected a request by
environmental groups to block the shipment.
Federal officials said the experiment was crucial
to U.S. efforts to help Russia dismantle nuclear weapons. They insisted
it would be a one-time event, although critics said they believed it
would be only the first of many shipments of nuclear material through
``Because of the input of the people of northern
Michigan, we've had much greater safety and security on the shipment
and it arrived safely,'' Stupak said. ``Without our objections, those
extra safety precautions never would have take place.''
Stupak's office was not notified of the shipment
until it had nearly reached its destination, spokesman Bob Meissner
said. It apparently crossed the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie
around 4 a.m., he said.
At a public hearing last fall in Sault Ste. Marie,
some protesters threatened to place their own bodies in the truck's
path to keep it from crossing the bridge.
No details were immediately available on the route
taken. Earlier, the Energy Department had said the truck would cross
the Lower Peninsula using Interstates 94, 69 and 75.