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Bruce Power has been granted permission to ship 16 decommissioned nuclear steam generators through the Great Lakes and across the Atlantic Ocean to Sweden for recycling. ((J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press))

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is granting Bruce Power permission to ship 16 decommissioned nuclear steam generators through the Great Lakes and across the Atlantic Ocean to Sweden for recycling.

The CNSC said it believes Bruce Power is qualified to carry out the operation and that its plan will adequately protect the environment and the health and safety of the public. The CNSC called the risk to the public "negligible."

Bruce Power said in a statement it was pleased with the announcement.

"We always believed this was the right thing to do to reduce our environmental footprint, and we are pleased the soundness of our case has been verified by the CNSC and a licence has been approved," said Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO of Bruce Power.

The CNSC held hearings Sept. 28-29 and heard from a number of individuals, non-governmental organizations and cities along the route of the ship that will carry the boilers. The majority were against the transfer of the boilers, fearing an accident that might threaten the health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

The request to ship 16 school bus-sized radiation-contaminated steam generators is part of a plan by Bruce Power, a private nuclear utility that generates about a fifth of Ontario's electricity, to refurbish its nuclear generating plant on the shores of Lake Huron.

The mayor of Sarnia, Ont., said he is not surprised by the CNSC's decision.

"The regulatory body and Bruce Power were very, very close together and had a common mindset," said Mike Bradley.

The shipments will run right by Sarnia's waterfront. Bradley is a vocal opponent of the plan and he said the fight is not over despite the CNSC's decision.

"The First Nations have not been respected in their input. The American government has not had their input on the transportation of these generators along the Great Lakes. So it is far from a done deal," he insisted.