Blog Post #33 – Another Radioactive Spill in Lake Ontario Poses No Harm. Really!!!

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

This happened back in November of 2009 but it goes to show that radioactive leaks happen far too often. My first blog on the accidental release of radioactivity material centred around the Bruce Power Station. This particular blog takes place November of 2009 at the Darlington nuclear station in Clarington, Ontario.

Workers at the Darlington nuclear station in Clarington, Ont. filled the wrong tank with a cocktail of water and radioactive isotope Monday, spilling more than 200,000 litres into Lake Ontario. Ontario Power Generation is investigating how the accident happened and officials say hourly tests of lake water show the level of tritium — the radioactive isotope of hydrogen, poses no harm to nearby residents.

Even Greenpeace got into the act. “Negligence at a nuclear plant can lead to catastrophic consequences. It’s an unforgiving technology,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, an energy campaigner with Greenpeace.

OPG notified officials at the Ministry of the Environment, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Durham Medical Officer and water treatment authorities. The water also contained an unspecified amount of hydrazine, a toxic inorganic chemical compound that keeps pipes and tanks from rusting. The spilled water, enough to fill more than two Olympic-sized swimming pools, came from an underground tank that is used for backup cooling in the event of an emergency. The tank overflowed and water ran onto the ground, much of it flowing into the lake.

“Our priority right now is to make sure that testing is done and the cleanup is completed,” OPG spokesman Ted Gruetzner said.

Tritium can be harmful when ingested in enough quantity. It immediately travels to the gastrointestinal tract and is absorbed uniformly in the bloodstream within two hours. The spill comes a month after the Sierra Club of Canada released a report warning that ‘routine and accidental releases of tritium’ are rising and that accumulation in the environment is a growing health concern.

My opinion

As a former, long time resident of the Durham Region, it was always on my mind that I was living between 2 large nuclear facilities, Pickering and Darlington. All it would take is one major catastrophe and we were all in deep trouble. If a nuclear strike took place, where do you think the first targets would be? Yes, Pickering and Darlington. These were some of the factors in my moving to the Rice Lake area and I began commuting to Oshawa. I left the area in 1995 and I finally settled in the fine country area just north of Millbrook. The air is fresh and clean and it is a great safe place to raise a family.

Nuclear waste is always something that has to be addressed. The storage or such waste is a big operation and seeing 2 nuclear spills in the past 2 years, (that we know of) I wonder where the storage area is and is it safe. Pictures of 40 gallon drums being hoisted over the side of barges into the oceans of the world are disturbing to say the least. Remember the Love Canal ?

I have spent some of our holiday time visiting family in England. There are large wind farms there, some in the hills of Scotland and some offshore in England. One such windfarm lies 8 kms from shore near Herne Bay, a quaint little place just north of Canterbury. They seem to have found some answers. Hmm…..

If nuclear power is so cheap and safe why are the costs continually going up all the time. Why do we have the feeling that we have not heard the last of nuclear leaks and why are we still paying off the debt. We have never been given a payment schedule to let us know approximately when this large debt will be paid in full.  I wonder why! Mr. McGuinty, can you answer that one?

There must be a safer way to generate electricity, one that comes with a much lower cost. Maybe then we can hand over a better opportunity for a decent future to our children, one that is free of contamination and cost efficient.

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ and ‘Live’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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