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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To the Ottawa Sun, regarding a recent article on Ottawa Riverkeeper's opinions of tritium content in the Ottawa River (published 2009 March 3):


To the Editor,
The Ottawa Sun

So Ottawa Riverkeeper has "done the math", and feels itself better equipped than Health Canada, the Ministry of the Environment, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Atomic Energy of Canada, the United Nations to decide what is a safe level of tritium in our drinking water ("Riverkeeper raises alarmů", February 28).

I find it astounding that this group, fully briefed on the facts of the matter as a member of AECL's local Environmental Stewardship Committee, would call for an "increased accountability regarding spills into the river".

In the first place, it has been made abundantly clear by the federal watchdog that this was not a "spill" nor a "dumping" into the river, but a capture by existing collection systems designed to prevent such uncontrolled releases.

Secondly, I can't think of an industry that is held more accountable for its operations than the nuclear industry, and Chalk River in particular. In fact, I challenge Riverkeeper to name one other operation that makes national front-page news and a debate in Parliament for emitting less than a thousandth of its regulated limit.

I find Riverkeeper's fear-mongering to be a callous abdication of civic responsibility: I prefer to have my health and safety represented by people who know something of the topic, and have the best interests of the community at heart.

Jeremy Whitlock,

Deep River
Past President, Canadian Nuclear Society

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