Ottawa Citizen Online

Monday 9 June 1997

Zero tolerance

Dave Taylor

I would like to point out that Jeremy Whitlock's mathematical calculations, and analogies to milk and beer are overly simplistic and certainly do not address the real problems associated with the radioactive pollution of the Ottawa River. AECL continues to use this method of bamboozling the public when defending their polluting practises.

We too were entertained by these arguments in Manitoba when it was shown that fish downstream from AECL's Whiteshell Lab had statistically significant levels of radioactivity in their meat and that the cesium had spread to the northern shores of Lake Winnipeg.

To begin with, it has been proven by scientist Dr. Abe Petkau (a former AECL employee) that continuous exposure to low levels of radiation can have as devastating an effect upon living cells as high doses.

We are talking about radioactive poisons which can have mutagenic and tetragenic effects upon the make-up of cells.

That's correct Mr. Whitlock, genetic mutations.

Mr. Whitlock also takes a quantum leap in assuming that all the radioactivity from the Chalk River plant would be evenly diluted and distributed throughout the river. This is also not the case as different radioisotopes have been shown to accumulate in a variety of locations over the course of the river's geography.

The real issue here is AECL's policy on the acceptable level of released radioactivity -- its derived release levels -- which follow the \"ALARA\" principle (that is, they must be "as low as reasonably achievable"). The ALARA principle needs to be dumped and replaced by the only truly safe principle when it comes to radioactive pollution: zero emissions

Dave Taylor Concerned Citizens of Manitoba