Dr. Dawg

Nuclear emergency preparedness

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Time once again to juxtapose:


The woman who was fired by the federal Conservatives as president of Canada’s nuclear safety watchdog said Tuesday the safety risk of resuming the Chalk River, Ont., reactor was 1,000 times higher than accepted international standards….The reactor, which produces two-thirds of the world’s medical radioisotopes, was closed for scheduled maintenance in November but regulators found more problems than expected — including two water pumps that didn’t have emergency backup power. Keen ordered the reactor to stay closed indefinitely until the operator, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., installed safety upgrades.


A new report says Japan’s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant was so unprepared for the disaster that workers had to bring protective gear and an emergency manual from distant buildings and borrow equipment from a contractor….When the Unit 1 reactor lost cooling functions two hours after the quake, workers tried to pump in fresh water through a fire pump, but it was broken. A fire engine at the plant couldn’t reach the unit because the tsunami left a huge tank blocking the driveway. Workers destroyed a power-operated gate to bring in the engine that arrived at the unit hours later. It was early morning when they finally started pumping water into the reactor - but the core had already melted by then.


The Harper government has targeted $720-million worth of program and operating cuts over the next year for a range of areas that include sensitive agencies such as the federal nuclear safety watchdog, the public health agency, another agency that tracks hazardous materials and an as yet unexplained 20 per-cent reduction in the budget for Environment Canada. [emphasis added]

[H/t Larry Hubich]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on June 19, 2011 11:25 AM.

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