Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gary Lunn Set Stage for Ongoing Dog Fight

On January 15, 2008, Conservative MP Gary Lunn, fired the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, for refusing to reopen the Chalk River nuclear facility, because of major safety concerns. This was the day before she was due to appear before a parliamentary committee to discuss her concerns.

Lunn refused to cite one example of what Linda Keen had done wrong in her job, only that she had lost the confidence of the government. Liberal MP David McGuinty told reporters "These are the kinds of Republican tactics this town has never seen before... The Prime Minister and the people around the Prime Minister will stop at nothing. ... They will fabricate, in my mind, a case to dismiss a senior official, an independent regulator..."

Lunn simply told the committee: "We do not believe she fulfilled her duties. There was an urgency to this situation, make no mistake ... it would have meant life and death for some patients."

Then in February 2009, there were more problems at the facility, that Lunn covered up.

A larger leak at the 50-year-old reactor in December was not reported to the public for weeks, prompting allegations of a cover-up and suggestions the public had been put at risk.

Meanwhile, Harper and his cronies continue to avoid any accountability for not shutting down and repairing the Chalk River Nuclear facility when they were advised by Canada's "independent" regulator Linda Keen that an accident was likely to happen. Harper and his Ministers continue to avoid any responsibility for the nuclear leaks that occurred and continue to plague the aging plant. Canadians are no wiser as to why there was an almost two month delay before being advised that nuclear incidents had occurred (and are continuing to occur) at one of its nuclear facilities.

Harper government allows 7,000 litres of potentially carcinogenic waste water to be dumped in major Canadian waterway.

A radioactive spill has occurred at the aging Chalk River nuclear reactor west of the nation's capital after the facility was recently cranked up to double its normal output of medical isotopes, used in diagnosing and treating cancer, Sun Media has learned.

The Conservative Party handling of this public health threat
is grounds in itself to out them through a non-confidence motion.. The reactor is supplying up to 70% of the world's medical isotopes, and a shutdown could leave millions of cancer and heart patients in Canada and around the globe without critical treatments.

But the radioactive spill and another ongoing leak at the reactor are bound to spark renewed controversy over the safety of the nuclear facility built in 1958.

An internal report to federal nuclear regulators shows radioactive tritium was released into the air during the incident at the Chalk River reactor on Dec. 5.

Atomic Energy of Canada officials running the 51-year-old apparently defective reactor reported they managed to contain another 800 litres of contaminated water now being stored in special drums.

So is it any surprise that the reactor has had to be shut down again? Who's he going to fire this time? Hopefully himself.

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. says its NRU reactor was shutdown Thursday after a power outage in parts of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

However, a heavy water leak was detected within the facility the following day, and AECL estimates the reactor will be out of service for more than a month while repair options are considered.

How can we trust this government? Obviously, Ms Keen was right, which begs the question. Just how safe are we? This looks like an accident waiting to happen.

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