Andrew Daley wrote:
> Well regardless of anyone's opinion, the house has approved the bill
> and I am sure the senate will be quick to follow.
I think that the NRU should be put back into production as quickly as
possible. The Federal Government has really surprised me with this move
- they did something right, and did it quickly. Amazing.
There do not seem to be any heroes in this NRU story. I am just a
poorly informed outside observer, but IMHO the CNSC is way, way out of
line in this case. Sure, we might have an earthquake large enough to
destroy the NRU, and in that case it would be nice to have it not melt
while it is falling into the open crack. If this does happen you can be
assured that the damage caused by a melted NRU will not be a concern to
anyone. The broken dams on the Ottawa will get all the headlines.
This story also points out that some of the baseline assumptions of the
nuclear industry safety culture are flawed. We have assumed that we can
improve safety by setting up one group of people to watch over another
group of people. However, if the watchers lose sight of what is
pragmatically needed then this model fails to improve safety. Should we
then have a third group to watch over all the others, and a fourth level
too, and on for ever? I think we are getting the first indicators that
a more robust approach is needed. Reactor designs have improved a lot,
resulting in inherently safer system. Similar improvements are needed
on the human governance side.
There was an interview on the radio this evening during which a foreign
expert claimed that the issue was money. AECL could buy the isotopes
needed to meet all its customer's demands, but this would be expensive.
Instead, they have taken an end run around the CNSC, using the scare of
an isotope shortage to force the politicians to act. The expert said
explicitly that the cancer patients were being exploited by AECL to get
the CNSC overruled, and this was being done by AECL to save money. I
thought this was a clever explanation, perhaps too clever. I don't
think the management at AECL is smart enough or aggressive enough to do
something like this.
All this leaves us with a right royal mess. We have an CNSC that
justifies its existence from year to year by introducing increasingly
difficult and silly conditions. We have AECL that is decaying due to
lack of money and an aging work force. It is trying to do what is
right, but just has less motivation as each year passes for all this
tedious detail. Instead, the CNSC should be working to eliminate the
need for an CNSC by making things less labour intensive, and AECL should
be rejuvenating itself in the competitive marketplace where failures put
you out of business.
I don't know how we are going to get all this fresh air into the nuclear
power industry, but it sure is needed.
Randal Leavitt - another Ubuntu user
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