Third quarter of 1999

North Bay, CANADA, Passes Resolution opposing MOX Fuels Shipments

WISE-Paris, 27 September 1999

[Posted 29/09/1999]

WHEREAS the Government of Canada on September 2, 1999 without prior consultation with the municipalities directly affected and without environmental or other public hearings, announced that it will accept shipments of mixed oxide fuel pellets (known as MOX) from the United States of America and the Russian federation in order to determine the feasibility of using MOX fuel for use in CANDU reactors;

AND WHEREAS MOX is made using surplus weapons-grade plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads;

AND WHEREAS the intended route for the MOX fuel shipment from the United States is to enter Canada by truck at Sault Ste. Marie and proceed east along Highway 17 through Sudbury and North Bay to the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's research facility and reactor at Chalk River;

AND WHEREAS the proposed Northern Ontario route along Highway 17 is principally a two lane roadway subject to sudden closures due to severe weather conditions and on which truck and automobile collisions are a common occurrence, frequently resulting in road closures;

AND WHEREAS the proposed initial shipment through would involve 120 grams of plutonium, mixed with uranium to form mixed oxide fuel; with the larger proposal being to accept 50 tonnes of mixed oxide fuel from each of the United States of America and the Russian Federation.

AND WHEREAS plutonium is an extremely hazardous material which is highly radioactive and acceptance of the waste would result in long term disposal in Canada at a substantial and undefined cost with long term risks, given that the half-life of plutonium is 24,900 years;

AND WHEREAS there is a risk of accident, terrorist attack or other miscue during the transportation of the MOX along the Highway 17 corridor which could result in unacceptable and long term harm to residents of North Bay and / or residents of the North Shore of Lake Huron;

AND WHEREAS according to studies by the United States Department of Energy weapons plutonium disposition can be carried out more quickly, more safely and at less expense by means of immobilization, a technology which combines plutonium with highly radioactive waste in glass form;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada has yet to disclose how it will address the environmental, health and safety concerns of the citizens of Northern Ontario, or how municipalities can reasonably expect to meet additional costs of police security or emergency response;

AND WHEREAS the December 1998 report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SFAIT), which is a Standing Committee of the Canadian Parliament, recommended to the Government of Canada that "the government reject the idea of burning MOX fuel in Canada because this option is totally unfeasible";

NOW THEREFORE THE COUNCIL OF THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF NORTH BAY hereby resolves that it is opposed to the Government of Canada's current proposal to ship MOX fuel using the Highway 17 corridor and through the City of North Bay, given the lack of prior consultation with affected communities, as well as the costs, safety and security dangers and environmental risks associated with transportation and use of MOX fuel, for this and future generations;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT this Council calls upon the Government of Canada to postpone any shipment of MOX fuel until such times as it has held meaningful and thorough public hearings in Northern Ontario communities affected by the transport of this material;

AND FURTHER that this Council believes that the fabrication and uses of MOX fuel will only exacerbate the problems of nuclear proliferation and radioactive contamination of the environment, given that safer and alternative methods for the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium are available;

AND FURTHER that this Council urges the Citizens of North Bay and Northern Ontario to make known to Transport Canada its opposition to the proposed transport of MOX fuel by commenting at its Internet web site by telephone at 1-888-758-9999 or by correspondence to Parallex Test Division, Place de Ville, 9th Floor, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N5

AND FURTHER THAT copies of this resolution be forwarded to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Federal Ministers of Transport, the Environment and Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Premier of Ontario, the Provincial Ministers of Transportation and the Environment, the Governor of Michigan, the Mayors of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Michigan, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the Atomic Energy Control Board, the International Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Mayors' Association, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Grand Chiefs of the Chiefs of Ontario and the Union of Ontario Indians , and all Federal and Provincial Members of Parliament in Northern Ontario.

Passed by a vote of 9 to 2 by the Council of the City of North Bay Monday, September 27, 1999

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