Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Goverment puts saving face ahead of safety

Government fires head of CNSC for 'lack of leadership'

Ok stories like this one really get me angry.

Our government decides to fire the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission because they didn't like her decision to put the Chalk River Facility in safety violation that forced it to close. The government then voted to reopen it despite its safety violations to prevent a shortage of medical isotopes used in medical diagnosis and treatment, particularly in cancer.

Those are the facts. I understand that cancer patients need diagnosis and treatment, and I sympathize with those who were delayed because of the shutdown. But likely, no one will die because of that delay. However, just imagine if the issues at Chalk River were ignored, and there was a nuclear accident. Ok, think hard, Chernobyl. Do we want this in our country? The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has a mandate to keep this country SAFE. Safe from shoddy work with these deadly compounds. If there had been an accident, the CNSC would be strung up for not doing their job. Now, they do, and well the government (who knows absolutely NOTHING on the inherent risks of even operating this facility) fires the CNSC head, because it makes them look bad.

Just a couple of questions to ponder..

1. Where will the next safety problem be overlooked, because a head of a regulatory agency will have to weigh the options of doing their job and keeping it?

2. Is Chalk River safe? Is there any impetus, now that parliament has mandated its reopening, for it to be safe in the future?

3. Who will accept responsibility for Chalk River in the future?

4. Why is Canada responsible for providing 2/3 or the WORLDs isotopes?

5. Why is it that politicians now become experts in every field, and get to make these life or death decisions that may affect generations, long, long after their political tenure is done?

All I know is that today, I feel less safe knowing that politicians are the ones determining my nuclear risk.

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