Monday, March 2, 2009

Ottawa River: Nuclear dump?

NDP says resources minister misled public about water leak at reactor

The NDP wants the federal minister of natural resources to apologize for leading Canadians to believe that no radioactive water ended up in the Ottawa River after a recent leak at the nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ont.

Nathan Cullen, the NDP’s natural resources critic, said that on five different occasions Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt misled the House of Commons about the Dec. 5 leak....

The NDP also took issue with the minister’s statements in the House during the week of Feb. 2. While the minister denied a leak of radioactive water into the Ottawa River, she did not deny a controlled release of radioactive water, although she didn't reveal it either.
While the Harper government, Atomic Energy Canada (AECL) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) might not think there's a problem dumping radioactive nuclear waste in a river which supplies drinking water to Ottawa, the NDP is not the only one with concerns.

Ottawa riverkeeper raises alarm about reactor leaks
Meredith Brown, Ottawa's Riverkeeper released a two-page report last week. 
"Under the best of circumstances I am uncomfortable with the very idea of a nuclear reactor operating on the banks of the Ottawa River," said Brown.

"However, when that reactor is old and prone to leaks, I am particularly concerned. Even more alarming is the fact that these leaks are not reported to the public in detail in a timely manner...

"I did the math on the amount of tritium (a highly carcinogenic substance) contained in the heavy water being released. The results were alarming..."

Recently, Sun Media uncovered that the 51-year old reactor released radioactive tritium into the air during an incident on Dec. 5, 2008. It was also discovered the reactor had been leaking up to 7,000 litres of water a day for more than a month from a crack in a weld.

Brown's short report is worth reading and ends with the following action item, 
We look forward to your support and promise to keep you informed. Lastly, I personally encourage you to tell your elected representatives that you find the present situation unacceptable.
Tip of the hat to staff reps Annelle Vercuiel and Kathleen Demareski from OPSEU's Toronto office for this story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gary! That is great. Awareness is always the first step. I am writing to my local MP immediately.

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