Harper’s nuclear record shows mismanagement

What do the nuclear crises in Japan and Chernobyl, and our federal election have in common?

Stephen Harper’s administration was responsible for Canada’s Chalk River nuclear facility, which had two MAPLE reactors that were unstable during normal operation plus a 50-year-old reactor that was 20 years beyond its expected lifespan.

On Harper’s watch, Canada’s nuclear safety regulator Linda Keen correctly understood that the consequence of operating an unstable reactor could be grave. For example, the Chernobyl nuclear plant – although much larger than ours in Chalk River – had the same critical flaw evident in the MAPLE reactors. When the Chernobyl reactor became uncontrollable, it irradiated half of Eastern Europe. Similarly, Japan’s nuclear crisis contaminated the groundwater and sea within 30 kilometres of the plant.

Accordingly, Keen would not license our reactors until properly fixed.

However, Harper’s administration would not fund a proper fix. Instead, the Harper administration fired the nuclear safety regulator because she would not license the operation.

A vote for Harper is a vote for poor judgment and personal attacks over responsible management – even in matters of nuclear safety.

Eugene Parks

Victoria