Government weak on nuclear safety

What does the nuclear crises in Japan, Chernobyl and our federal election have in common?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration has been responsible for Canada’s Chalk river nuclear facility, which had two Maple reactors that were unstable during normal operation plus a 50 year old reactor that was 20 years beyond its expected lifespan.

During Harper’s watch, Canada’s nuclear safety regulator Linda Keen correctly understood the consequence from operating an unstable reactor could be grave.

For example, the Chernobyl nuclear plant — although much larger than ours in Chalk River — had the same critical flaw evident in the Maple reactors. When the Chernobyl reactor ran out of control it irradiated half of Eastern Europe.

Similarly, Japan’s nuclear crises contaminated the ground water and sea within 30 kilometres of their plant. Even stable reactors can be critically dangerous when damaged or in disrepair.  Accordingly, Keen would not license our reactors until properly fixed.

However, Harper’s administration would not fund a proper fix. Instead, the Harper administration fired the nuclear safety regulator because she would not license the operation of either unstable reactors or one in disrepair.

A vote for Harper is a vote for poor judgment and personal attacks over responsible management — even in matters of nuclear safety.

Eugene Parks

Victoria

 

 

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