House Approves Higgins’ Legislation Supporting Community Protection Efforts Related to Nuclear Waste Shipments
Congressman Brian Higgins, who has frequently objected to the U.S. Department of Energy’s transport of liquid nuclear waste between Canada and the United States without a thorough environmental review, won approval for legislation that will help support efforts to prepare and protect communities impacted.
The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office is a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security whose mission is preventing nuclear terrorism by improving detection, planning and response capabilities in conjunction with international and state and local partners. Higgins’ amendment to the DHS appropriation package provides $1 million in additional funds to enable the office to provide state and local first responders and law enforcement with more assistance to improve training and response protocols and better prepare for a nuclear incident. This increased funding could be helpful in responding to an incident of these shipments on area roads and bridges, including the Peace Bridge.
Higgins said, “The Department of Energy has refused to follow a responsible process and take serious the threats related to the shipment of this material. We continue to object to the DOE’s handling of this matter. Still, the safety of our community remains our top priority and we will take every effort to do what we can to employ protection measures.”
The DOE recently began the shipment of highly enriched uranium from Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, Canada to a DOE Savannah River Storage facility in South Carolina. According to a 2015 report, plans included the transport highly enriched liquid uranium over a series of up to 150 truck shipments between Canada and the U.S.