Thursday, December 6, 2007

Kinda Scary

....Mr. Burns would be so proud:

The head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has blasted Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. for violating licence requirements at its Chalk River research reactor - a situation that has now led to an extended shut down and worldwide shortage in radioactive medical materials.

"You are and were in violation of your licence that was granted, in the eyes of the commission, in August ë06," said Linda Keen, the commission's president and CEO.

"The whole understanding of this commission was that that facility was being reviewed against modern standards and was up to date and was going to go forward to the licence period ó that it could operate," she said at a public meeting on Thursday.

Ms. Keen's comments came after an AECL official explained why the company is going ahead with upgrades that include the installation of two new motor starters for the reactor cooling pumps and connecting the motors to an additional backup power supply.

"The impression's been left here that this was an interesting, nice upgrade, that it wasn't essential. It was essential," Ms. Keen said.

In Canada, the shutdown shortage of a material used in tests for cancer, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease and other health conditions has already caused cancellations in cities such as Toronto, Halifax and Saskatoon, but so far has only led to rescheduling at Ottawa hospitals. AECL official Brian McGee said there is a 75 per cent probability that the reactor will be in operation by the end of December, and a 95 per cent chance that the reactor will return to service by the end of the first week in January. He noted that once the reactor starts up, it takes at least a few days to produce isotopes.
-Get the full version here.

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