October 18, 2001
Recent claims in the media about Canada’s nuclear reactors being sitting ducks for a terrorist attack prompted Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the Crown corporation that runs the facilities, to issue a formal statement Tuesday, October 16. It claims that a repeat of the World Trade Center attacks is highly unlikely because Canada’s reactors “are small targets, and it would take a high degree of skill to achieve a direct impact on a single unit.”
The statement continues, “While assessments are ongoing, we believe that the Candu (reactor) has a considerable resistance against aircraft impact.”
Energy Probe executive director Tom Adams is not convinced. He says security in general around nuclear facilities is lax, and consideration of emergency planning is given short shrift. A provincial task force concluded as much in the late 80s, post-Chernobyl, but its recommendations were shelved.
Adams says Canada’s nuclear facilities should be shut down temporarily while security is upgraded and alternative power sources are brought online.
As it stands, Adams says, “We’ve got serious vulnerabilities on the power grid.”
AECL spokesperson Louise Duhamel says the doomsday scenario Adams and others have painted is just not on.