Cyberwanderer’s Blog

July 8, 2009

Globe and Mail Misrepresented Facts – CNSC

Filed under: Canada,Politics — cyberwanderer @ 9:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

CNSC fires a retort letter to Globe and Mail regarding an article where Globe and Mail claimed Canada’s reactor design is unsafe and quoted CNSC as the source. CNSC sent a letter to Globe and Mail which was not published in full by Globe and Mail. It makes me wonder if Globe and Mail, owned by CTV, is helping Harper’s men in their continuous attempt to discredit Canada’s nuclear industry. Harper’s spokesman and his supporter have been doing their rounds in the media trying to discredit AECL even using the isotope crisis that they were partly responsible for, all in an attempt to justify their attempts to sell AECL to their foreign competitors.  China and India are set to build more nuclear plant with China being a likely repeat customer due to the successful completion of their CANDU plant, which was build on time and on budget. CANDU built in South Korea and Romania were winning praises. Three nuclear plant AECL build for South Korea have one of the highest lifetime capacity of nuclear reactors. But listening to Harper’s men talk about Canada’s nuclear industry, you’ll think we have a crappy product.

The Globe and Mail article went into supposedly technical details which were untrue. It created an image of an unsafe Canadian nuclear plant design. Canada’s nuclear industry experts dismissed Globe and Mail’s report as false. But I doubt the experts will be given equal space to correct the misrepresentation of facts. What is worse is it appears that Globe and Mail did ask CNSC specifically about the document which CNSC clarified but Globe and Mail went on to put it out of context. According to the CNSC’s letter:

“As part of its ongoing regulatory oversight and analysis, the CNSC continues to update and undertake research to ensure a clear understanding of any potential challenges with current nuclear facilities. It is in this context that the referenced document was prepared. This was explained to the reporter during the interview with CNSC staff. It was therefore surprising that the reporter misunderstood and misrepresented the issue.”

The expert cited by Globe and Mail was Greenpeace, an anti-Nuclear group. Globe and Mail also misrepresented the fact that MAPLE was shutdown because of positive reactivity, hence it means positive reactivity is bad. Positive reactivity is part of safety feature of CANDU, which has multiple layers of  shutdown system, coolant and containment and uses positive reactivity as a trigger to shutdown. MAPLE would have been approved even if it has the slight positive reactivity if their original design stated it as such. However, MAPLE’s design only mentioned negative reactivity which was the sticking point that CNSC wants ironed out before they can be licensed.

The article only contain few words quote and no paragraph or sentence quote so it’s hard to dissect which ones are actually on the document and which one are being misrepresented as claimed by CNSC.

By now, it is pretty obvious that I have no problem with building new nuclear plant. For anti-Nuclear group who thinks that selling Canada’s nuclear industry would mean no more  nuclear plant will be build in Canada, think again. It would only mean that the nuclear plant that would eventually have to be built would be controlled by U.S. or French company and profit going solely to them. I wish solar power and wind turbine could be more reliable. Conservation can only go so far. Imagine telling the seniors or ordinary Canadians to turn off their Air Conditioning when there is a heat wave.

In the absence of a more reliable and consistent alternative source and with increased electricity demand, as economy recovers and the push for electric car increases, the practical and reliable alternative non-polluting energy source seems to be nuclear. Nuclear safety should be maintained by strengthening CNSC and keeping  it free from political interference. Nuclear industry in North America remains the most regulated and safety conscious industry and I see no reason for hyperbole and irrational fear.

I respect the anti-nuclear group for various possible and legitimate reasons that they might have for opposing a new build, as long as they carry out healthy debate and don’t misrepresent facts or result to fear mongering. Harper on the other hand is just plain corrupt. If every Canadians are given a dollar for every time Harper misquote, misrepresent or put facts out of context, we’ll be ringing in some hefty amount of personal revenue courtesy of Harper’s government.

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1 Comment »

  1. Pretty cool post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts.

    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

    Comment by Zack — July 11, 2009 @ 6:33 am | Reply


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