Raw Story 12/27/11: Canada secretly shipping ‘bomb-grade’ uranium to the U.S. | The Ra w Story
- Canada secretly shipping ‘bomb-grade’ uranium to the U.S.
by David Ferguson
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
According to a confidential Canadian government memo, shipments of
“bomb-grade” uranium are being moved secretly from Canada into the
United States. The memo was obtained through an “Access to Information
Act” filed by the CBC or Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Documents show that one shipment of nuclear material has been moved to
the United States as part of a deal signed by Canadian Prime Minister
Stephen Harper and the Obama Administration last year. The amount of
nuclear material slated to be hauled from a site in Chalk River, Ontario
to locations within the U.S. is the equivalent of “several
Hiroshima-sized bombs” according the CBC report.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, however, has no plans to reveal
the size, time, or type of shipments to any communities that the
materials will travel through, citing fears of terrorism or criminal
attacks. The memorandum is dated February 25, 2011 and states that the
watchdog agency believes that it is “unnecessary” to hold public forums
that would give citizens a chance to ask questions or express concerns
about the materials or methods of transport.
Only authorized personnel or government agencies like fire and police
forces along the routes will be notified about the details. The CNSC
states that theft is of much greater concern in shipping this type of
HEU (Highly Enriched Uranium) than the possibility of accidents or spills.
The article quotes nuclear expert Bill Garland as saying that the types
of containers used for these substances are resistant to road accidents,
chemicals, fires, and explosions.
Garland agrees with the decision by the Canadian and U.S. governments to
keep the shipments secret, “If I were the people doing the shipping and
so on, I’d want to keep as low a profile as possible,” he says, “You
don’t want to give terrorists or criminals any advantage.”
Because of the precautions taken in moving HEU, Garland says that people
are much more at risk sharing highways with trucks carrying chemicals
that are less sensationalized but much more dangerous like gasoline and
The materials were originally sent to Canada from the U.S. for use in
medical technology, resulting in a backlog of materials at the Chalk
River site that potentially could be used to create weapons. Once the
materials are back in the U.S., they can be converted to a form that
will be useless for building bombs or other weapons.
The process of moving them to U.S. to be downgraded is part of a broader
Obama administration initiative to consolidate and secure enriched
uranium around the world.