Seems Like A Yearly Event At Chalk River Now

The nuclear facility at Chalk River that is responsible for manufacturing isotopes for the nuclear medical industry has closed down again this year for routine maintenance that is expected to last beyondthe routine time frame allocated and now may interfere in the provision of cancer treatments services to nearly 10,000 canadian cancer patients.
So in celebration of the second screw up in one year(and check the date on last years post)I’ve decided to reprint last years post on the same subject…which just goes to show these morons are only flying by the seat of their pants versus actually making some changes that might prevent this type of shortage from happening again…
12 December 2007

Harper Blames Liberal Appointees For Nuclear Isotope Dilemna
“There will be no nuclear accident,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper asserted in the House of Commons, saying the government has received independent advice indicating there is no safety concern. Mr Harper, Canadas’ lead nuclear scientist(personally, I thought he was an economist) has assured Canadians that there will be no Three Mile Island styled nuclear meltdown if they start the Chalk River facility back up…minus some very important safeguards…like emergency cooling pumps.”On the contrary, what we do know is that the continuing actions of the Liberal-appointed Nuclear Safety Commission will jeopardize the health and safety and lives of tens of thousands of Canadians. We do have the responsibility to demand that Parliament step in and fix this situation before the health of more people is put in jeopardy.”
Oh my gosh, now Harpo is blaming the Liberal party for his governments inept handling of the nuclear file.
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan attempted to introduce legislation that would see the reactor restarted without proper safeguards in place. “Both Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission must immediately commence working together to ensure that the AECL [reactor] which produces medical isotopes be restarted as quickly as possible, in a safe manner, in order to address the critical shortage of medical isotopes occasioned by the extended shutdown of this research reactor at Chalk River,” said Van Loan.
Michael Ignatieff, deputy Liberal leader says that he has been in talks with Harper on the issue, and Ignatieff says he is not prepared to see the reactor started while it is unsafe. He said that Van Loans’ motion does nothing with respect to nuclear-health issues or questions related to nuclear safety.
Health Minister Clement and Natural Resources Minister Lunn pointed out that technical experts at the CNSC acknowledge the unit operated safely for many decades and that, if it were restarted, it would be no more dangerous than it was before the shutdown.AECL assured the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission last year that an emergency power system had been connected to the cooling pumps on the aging nuclear unit. But the CNSC discovered that the upgrades and repairs hadn’t been made and as a result, shut down the reactor for repairs.One of the two backup pump power systems was set to be installed last night or today and AECL has told the government the reactor could be operated safely when that had been done.It will take weeks to get the reactor back into the production of isotopes and in that time hundreds of thousands of people worldwide will be forced to consider alternative discovery methods for cancer detection if they are available.
The government was well aware last year that there were problems at the facility and one must wonder why they waited for a forced shutdown of the facility before acting on it.
It appears as though the CONservatives stuck their heads in the sand and were just waiting for things to pass, hoping the reactor would somehow repair itself before anyone noticed.
jim bender
So, do you think Harper will attempt to blame the Liberals, the AECL or will he attempt to ignore this one as he has ignored the economy?


  1. Anonymous
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    So AECL is being criticised (I think the term “morons” could be taken as criticism) for regularly shutting down the reactor for planned maintenance – would you rather that the reactor remained operational 100% of the time and recieved no maintenance? Rather than criticising Chalk River for exercising due engineering diligence why not look wider afield at the world’s other isotop producing reactors, some of which are currently on extended outages to fix safrty issues, unlike Chalk River’s NRU!

  2. Anonymous
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    It might be approporaate to blame someone considering this is pre-planned maintenance,which means there should be a plan in place for the delivery of alternative supplies when the system is down.
    If you are/were aware that other
    world isotope producers are offline at the same time,then would it be fair to conclude that shutting down at a similar time would be less than responsible if not downright stupid?
    All world suppliers should co-ordinate their production to keep things rolling along smoothly.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: