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House Passes Bill With Higgins’ Amendment Requiring Risk Assessment of Proposed Nuclear Waste Transport Across Peace Bridge

Jun 24, 2015
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced approval of HR 2200, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2015.  The bill includes an amendment, introduced by Higgins, which requires the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis to examine and share information about the risks associated with a plan to transport highly enriched liquid uranium across the Peace Bridge. 

The Department of Energy has a plan to transport liquid nuclear waste from Ontario’s Chalk River Research reactor over the Peace Bridge, through Western New York and other states en route to the Department of Energy’s Savannah River site beginning next year.

Last July Congressman Higgins called on the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct an environmental review of the plan.  He argued, in contrast to spent nuclear fuel, the shipment of liquid nuclear waste is far more complicated, more radioactive, and therefore a breach or contamination would be significantly more dangerous.  Despite the fact that the route was approved nearly two decades ago, the DOE maintained a new Environmental Impact Statement was not necessary. 

The bill approved by the House now compels a risk assessment before the plan proceeds. 

“The route was approved nearly twenty years ago, and it reflects a pre-9/11 mindset with respect to the threat and consequences of terrorism,” said Congressman Higgins. “This legislation, as amended, would ensure that the Department of Energy has the information it needs to reconsider the wisdom of transporting dangerous nuclear material through high risk areas like Buffalo.”