BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

 

 

« Greenpeace International: Fukushima five years later report, "Atomic Depths: An Assessment of Freshwater and Marine Sediment Contamination" | Main | Experts present startling findings around Fukushima and Chernobyl at commemorative event »
Monday
Jul182016

Letter claims info on nuclear risks withheld from safety commissioners

As reported by Gloria Galloway at the Globe and Mail, an anonymous letter written by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) staffers alleges that the agency staff has kept the CNSC Commissioners, and the CNSC President, in the dark about significant safety issues at Canadian nuclear power plants such as Darlington just east of Toronto, and Bruce on the Lake Huron shore just upstream of Port Huron and Detroit, Michigan.

The letter was sent not only to CNSC President Michael Binder, but also to two leadinng Canadian environmental groups, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Greenpeace Canada.

As the article reports:

...Although it is impossible to verify that the letter was written by CNSC specialists, environmentalists who received copies of the document say the level of detail, the manner of speaking and the amount of complexity suggest it was written by someone with inside knowledge. And, they say, the problems are symptomatic of a culture at the commission in which employees are expected to act as boosters of the nuclear industry rather than watchdogs of nuclear safety...

Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, who was the other environmentalist sent a copy of the letter, said actions of this sort – in which whistle-blowers make such specific allegations – are both rare and surprising. But, she said, she has no doubt it was written by someone inside the CNSC.

“We are often very concerned that commissioners are not getting the full story from the proponents or the regulatory staff,” Ms. McClenaghan said. “In the hearings, we really do see a frustrating amount of apologetics for the industry going on by staff.”

Mr. Stensil, of Greenpeace, said the most serious issue raised in the letter is the allegation suggesting that CNSC staff knows about additional risks being posed by reactors, but is ignoring them. That is what happened at Fukushima, he said.

“That’s not a nuts-and-bolts or an engineering issue,” Mr. Stensil said. “That’s a safety culture issue.”

Beyond Nuclear has engaged in numerous CNSC proceedings over the past decade, from: reactor operating license extensions at Bruce; to a reactor new build proposal at Darlington, as well as a license extension proceeding; and a license extension proceeding at CAMECO's uranium processing facility in Port Hope, Ontario. Beyond Nuclear's biggest involvement, however, as been its opposition to Ontario Power Generation's proposed radioactive waste dump at Bruce, on the Great Lakes shore. Beyond Nuclear can vouch, from extensive, direct experience, that CNSC staff's extreme bias in favor of nuclear power promotion is over the top.