Go to CNF homepage
The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To The Toronto Star regarding a 2005 July 16th article on the terrorism risk in Canada:

2005 July 19

To the Editor, The Toronto Star:

The article "Is Toronto prepared for a terrorist attack" (2005 July 16) overstates the public risk from a terrorist attack at a nuclear power station.

Following the 911 attacks, numerous studies have suggested the obvious: that nuclear stations are among the most hardened facilities constructed, that even hitting a nuclear plant with a plane is a monumental challenge given a typical station's low profile and compact size, and that, should a plane succeed in crashing into a power reactor facility, numerous factors ensure that "the likelihood of such a scenario damaging the reactor core and releasing radioactivity that could affect public health and safety is low" (to quote the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's website, www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/security-en hancements.html).

It is certainly plausible that a nuclear power plant could be disabled with significant on-site casualties, but the significant risk to the public remains that caused by the psychological stress that results from the dissemination of inaccurate articles like your own. References to "ready-made weapons of mass destruction" and "untold numbers of citizens" dying in the "explosion" are misleading and unfair to your readers.


Jeremy Whitlock

[Back to The Canadian Nuclear FAQ]