Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chalk River may be dead

Not the story. The reactor itself.
A spokesman for the reactor's operator, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., conceded Wednesday that its declaration that the reactor would stop producing isotopes for "more than a month" beginning Saturday is optimistic but it can't provide any better timelines until it knows what is causing the leak.

"We've given them an optimistic schedule but it's going to be more than a month," said Dale Coffin, a spokesman for AECL.

The "them" would be both customers of AECL waiting for medical isotopes and the Harper government which made such a mess of things the last time Chalk River was shut down.

[T]wo engineers — one working at the Chalk River facility and one who spent years working there — said they doubt the repairs will be made even within eight months and, in fact, may never be complete.

"A month to repair is a dream," said the engineer who works at the facility, and who asked for anonymity for fears he would be dismissed.

"Sounds to me as if good ol' NRU is gone for good," said the other engineer, who, after working for AECL at several of its nuclear facilities including Chalk River, now works for the federal government.
Granted, that's just two engineers. If we wait long enough, Harper will consult a political scientist and, if it will help him survive longer, he will declare Chalk River safe.

"It's a reality of having older infrastructure and that's why the world is coming together to come up with a plan in order to deal with the global supply of medical isotopes," [Natural Resources Minister Lisa] Raitt said.
Wow! The world is coming together to come up with a plan? That's a little different than last time... or is it?

This time we aren't getting Steve Harper, nuclear genius and medical supply expert, (Hey! He calls himself an economist too!) flailing around blaming everyone but his government and then firing the president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for doing her job.

In the meantime, the Ottawa River should start glowing in the dark.

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