June 9, 2006
Our Prime Minister has been telling potential Candu nuclear reactor customers in Asia that “We have never had any problems in the countries we have been operating in.” Our Prime Minister is embarrassingly and shamefully wrong.
In India, a Canadian-built reactor was used to supply weapons-grade nuclear material used in a 1974 nuclear detonation. Other Canadian reactors in India have operated sporadically while leaking massive amounts of radiation into the environment. Our government, which had cut off nuclear cooperation with India following the 1974 detonation, has recently restored technical exchanges with India’s nuclear proponents. The Canadian nuclear safety regulator, the Atomic Energy Control Board, concluded in 1992 that there are “serious safety problems” at the Canadian-built Candu reactor in Pakistan, after reviewing a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency describing the technical condition of the reactor. Scandals have plagued reactor sales to Argentina and South Korea. Last year the business agent in South Korea of federally owned Atomic Energy of Canada Limited was convicted and imprisoned for bribery related to Canada’s recent reactor sale there. In Romania, slave labour was used to build Candu reactors with the knowledge of Canadian nuclear officials, and work practices were predictably shoddy. In Canada, Candu reactors have suffered many accidents, including pressure tube ruptures, numerous loss of regulation accidents, and huge accidental radioactive tritium releases to the environment, to say nothing of massive financial losses.
Energy Probe needs your help to get the real facts out, both in Canada and directly to the people of Thailand, South Korea, and China–countries our government is hoping will buy new reactors from us. Asian citizens need the whole story on why Candu reactors are discredited in Canada. They need to know about our legacy of unresolved radioactive waste problems, accidents, cost overruns, premature aging, radioactive contamination, and growing evidence of high cancer rates in people living near reactors. They also need information on alternatives to nuclear power like co-generation.
To undo Mr. Chrétien’s misleading sales pitch, Energy Probe has been setting the story straight by getting nuclear information out to Asia. The attached newspaper clipping from the Thai press was published during Prime Minister Chrétien’s latest Team Canada mission to that country. Our views on the export of problem-plagued Candu reactors were also reported in the enclosed Christian Science Monitor article.
Energy Probe is campaigning against last November’s sale of two Candu reactors to the Chinese regime. Our Internet site on reactor exports to China helps coordinate the work of concerned citizens in Canada and around the world, providing information on the Chinese government’s record of uncontrolled nuclear waste dumping in Tibet, human rights abuses, reports on Candu exports, and statements made in the House of Commons. The site also provides updates on the legal challenge to the reactor sale to the Chinese regime and our government’s associated attempt to gut a portion of Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to foreclose public review of the sale.
PS. Please pass on copies of this letter to friends, co-workers, neighbours, or family members who might share your concern for the environment.