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[cdn-nucl-l] Nuclear materials a terror threat? Toronto Star
The terror threat would be greatly diminished if the Radiation Safety
Institute would inform the many audiences in its courses about the real
effects of radiation on health, i.e., that low doses reduce risk.
Fergal Nolan is a historian, but Dr. Reza Moridi, VP of RSI, certainly knows
better. I gave a CNS lecture at RSI on this subject several years ago.
The legislative committee updating Ontario's Emergency Management Act should
be given factual information on this subject.
The RSI motto is "good science in plain language".
Toronto Star, Aug. 20, 2004. 01:00 AM
Nuclear materials a terror threat: Institute
Theft risk at labs, firms, MPPs told
Slim but real chance of misuse
QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU
Terrorists would have easy pickings at hundreds of Ontario university labs
and businesses with radioactive materials on hand, warns the Radiation
Safety Institute of Canada.
The danger is not so much an explosive device but that materials could be
placed on subways and in shopping malls to spook the public, Fergal Nolan,
chief executive of the Toronto-based institute, told a legislative committee
updating Ontario's Emergency Management Act.
"You don't need a bomb to create terror and panic," he said in an interview
later, acknowledging the odds of the scenario he described are slim.
"But what were the odds on crashing two planes into the twin towers in New
Nolan told MPPs that Ontario companies are among the world's biggest
manufacturers of radioactive materials for medical use - chemicals, gases
and devices that in the wrong hands could cause harm.
"People need to worry about the accessibility of nuclear materials to the
Some materials could find their way into a "dirty bomb" that would not
involve an atomic explosion but send dangerous radioactive particles into
the air, said Nolan, whose independent, non-profit institute was founded in
1980 and pays its bills through consulting contracts and teaching courses to
governments and businesses.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is doing safety audits at 40
universities because "there is a lot of concern," added Nolan, noting a
recent New York Times story on U.S. government fears over security levels at
nuclear reactors on university campuses, some of which use weapons-grade
Nolan also said regulations allowing Ontario workers to be exposed to 50
units of radiation per day - as opposed to the limit of 20 units per day for
federally regulated workers - have been "out of whack with international
standards for 14 years."