07/28/2013 01:44 EDT | Updated 09/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Nuclear power plant puts radioactive shipping plans on hold

A plan to ship 16 radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River for recycling in Sweden has been cancelled after delays caused by public opposition.

An agreement was reached in 2009 between Bruce Power in Tiverton, Ont., and Swedish company Studsvik, but Bruce Power president Duncan Hawthorne said the plans have been put on hold to allow further discussion with First Nations, Métis and other groups.

The move has been strongly opposed by aboriginal groups, the Bloc Quebecois, the NDP and a number of community and environmental organizations over the past two years.

Emma Lui of the Council of Canadians says there are many concerns, but the "big one" is the possible threat to the Great Lakes if something went wrong with the shipment.

Kahnawake Mohawk Council spokesman Joe Delaronde said the change in plans shows that public pressure can keep companies like Bruce Power in check.

“We’re pretty happy that they’ve done the right thing here. And, when they come up with other options, I’m sure they’ll be publicized as well,” Delaronde said.

“You can’t keep this kind of thing secret and try to sneak it through.”

James Scongack, a spokesman for Bruce Power, said the company didn’t actually bow to pressure.

Rather, he said a one-year transport licence and certificate from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission expired last February and the company simply didn’t renew it.

Scongack said Bruce Power hasn’t abandoned the option of having its steam generators recycled in Sweden.

“We still believe reducing our waste [and]... solid international principles of waste management is the thing to do,” he said.

He said the company is planning more public outreach and consultation on the issue.