Friday, June 12, 2009

A case study

Remember that it's because Canada has relied on nuclear reactors for a supply of medical isotopes that the Cons were able to ram through legislation to overrule the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's concerns about the 50-year-old Chalk River reactor back in 2007. And now that the Chalk River reactor has been shut down due to leaks of radioactive water and visible corrosion, there's a movement afoot to fire up two MAPLE reactors to provide a backup supply even though "the reactors did not function as predicted and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the Crown corporation that owns them, could not figure out why".

So the full extent of any current backup plan for aging or malfunctioning nuclear reactors is apparently either to go without whatever they produce, or to run the faulty reactors anyway in hope that nothing goes wrong. Just something to think about next time somebody tries to claim that any combination of regulation or experience in the industry means there's absolutely no reason at all for concern about relying on a nuclear reactor or two as Saskatchewan's main source of power.

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