Nuclear plant security breach called `appalling’

Roberta Avery
Toronto Star
October 6, 2001

 

Two men, dog slip under locked gate seeking help

TIVERTON — The failure of security at the Bruce Power nuclear station to detect two men and a dog — they crawled under a locked gate and entered an office building after their boat capsized — doesn’t seem to have shaken the confidence of area residents.

“Not too many people here are worried,” Eric Howald, editor of the Kincardine Independent newspaper, said yes- terday.

Security at all of Canada’s nuclear facilities including the Bruce generating plant on the Lake Huron shore, was ordered tightened in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Twelve days later, just after midnight on Sept. 23, two men from the London, Ont., area and their dog made it to the rocky shore of the nuclear power plant after clinging to their overturned boat for five hours.

They got inside one of the office buildings and phoned for help, said Bruce Power spokesperson Susan Brissette.

“The security of the nuclear stations was not compromised. The men were nowhere near the generating stations,” said Brissette.

That’s not how the Sierra Club of Canada’s nuclear policy adviser, David Martin, sees it.

“Coming as it did on the heels of terrorist attacks when security was supposed to be heightened, it’s shocking that no one knew they were there until they called for help,” said Martin.

He added: “This confirms our belief that security at Canadian nuclear facilities is appalling.”

Bruce Power emergency response crews came to the aid of the men, who were taken to the Kincardine hospital suffering from hypothermia.

The two men have since been released from hospital, said Brissette.

Bruce Power advised South Bruce Ontario Provincial Police about the incident, but no charges were laid, said Sergeant Dave Rektor.

Ken McClement, a member of the Lake Huron Fishing Club, said the area around the Bruce plant is a popular spot for duck hunting and fishing.

Boaters know that the outflow channel from the Bruce B plant is an official safe harbour for boats in distress on Lake Huron, said McClement.

“So it’s not surprising someone in trouble would head to the Bruce plant for help,” he said.

Brissette said the men came ashore near the decommissioned Douglas Point nuclear station, about 2 kilometres from Bruce B’s active nuclear reactors and 5 kilometres from the mothballed reactors at Bruce A.

Both Bruce A and B are protected by additional security fences, said Brissette.

Bruce Power, recognizing the potential for similar incidents, is installing telephones along the shore.

“Then, if anyone is in trouble, they can call and be hooked up to our security people,” said Brissette.

 

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