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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To the Toronto Star, regarding an article on CANDU proliferation concerns:

(Published in the 2010 May 9th edition)


Re: Canada's deadly deceit on atomic arms, Opinion, May 7

2010 May 9

To The Editor,
The Toronto Star:

Paul McKay needs to check his facts when it comes to Candu technology. It is true that uranium turns into plutonium in any nuclear power reactor. Contrary to McKay's belief, this is a beneficial process that reduces the natural resources that must be used to generate electricity.

A Candu power reactor generates half of its electricity from plutonium, by both creating it and then fissioning it in the core. About half of all the plutonium a Candu reactor creates is converted to energy in this useful manner, before the fuel leaves the reactor core. Contrary to McKay's allegations, a Candu is a relatively sparse generator of plutonium in its spent fuel, producing it at less than half the concentration found in other commercial reactors. All Candu reactors are subject to safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and there is no evidence that Candu technology, in Pakistan or elsewhere, has been misused for weapons proliferation.

The unique design of CANDU technology is one that all Canadians can take pride in.


Jeremy Whitlock
Manager, Non-Proliferation and Safeguards,
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Chalk River

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