Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Give this dog a bone

and he'll go for the throat.

Boy those Cons are full of themselves aren't they? To the point that the Minister of Natural Resources forgot that the CNSC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources, not to the Minister of Natural Resources. An important distinction, no?

Ah well, the Conservatives did well to learn from Mr. Hugo Chavez. Don't go to the people when you want to consolidate power, just go and take it.

(H/T Mr. Sinister for the link to the letters)


Ken Breadner said...

There are two things I don't understand about the continuing furor over this.
1) How much greater would it have been if people had started dying due to the lack of radioisotopes? As I recall, we weren't far off that.
2) Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't there an all-party vote to get that reactor up and running again? Why would the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc have gone along with this?

Catelli said...

Several points:

#1 Mr. Lunn does not have the authority to directly threaten the head of the CNSC. He could have setup a Parliamentary Review committee to review the circumstances of this and called Keen to testify and to explain her rational behind the decision made. If the rational is not acceptable, Parliament can dismiss her. That's the proper route. If parliament agrees that the shutdown was improper, then they can discipline the CNSC however they see fit. The governing party does not have that authority on their own.

#2 The threat to the safety of Canadians was created by the AECL by their failure to meet safety requirements as laid out by the CNSC, and as obliged by their operating license.

The Chalk River facility is located in an earthquake zone. Its cooling system currently does not have a backup power source. If that cooling system fails, the reactor goes critical and we have a major accident.

The isotope safety issue comes down to we know how quickly we can run out of isotopes if the reactor is shutdown, but we don't know when an earthquake or other disaster (ice storm maybe, another east coast power outage?) can occur that would compromise the cooling systems of the reactor. How do you weigh the safety issues of the known against the unknown?

There is also the flagrant ignorance by the operators of the AECL to ignore their responsibility to implement the safety measures.

Imagine if there was a nuclear accident, and that it came to light that the CNSC knew about the missing safety features but did nothing about it because the isotopes were deemed more important. You see where I 'm coming from? The decision to shutdown or not shutdown is a lose-lose scenario for the CNSC, but the reason this scenario exists is because the AECL ignored their responsibilities to operate the Chalk River facility in a safe manner.

Ken Breadner said...

I bow to superior research. And I agree the Cons are being incredibly heavy-handed. I will reiterate, however, that all parties passed the bill putting Chalk River back online. Obviously a bunch of people weighed the known against the unknown and decided an imminent crisis being alleviated was worth the risk of a greater, unlikely crisis.
And so far they've been lucky.

P.S. where the hell do you get so much time to blog so well, on so many things, so freakin' often?

Catelli said...

I will reiterate, however, that all parties passed the bill putting Chalk River back online.

Agreed. The important part is "all parties" ie parliament. Not the government. Though this precedent is troublesome. Had the cons had a majority, and passed the bill to restart the reactor without opposition support... well that again goes against the purpose of independent authorities.

P.S. where the hell do you get so much time to blog so well, on so many things, so freakin' often?

Combination of things.

1) I love debates. I love the exchange of ideas. So blogging is a bit of a passion.

2) To be a good problem solver in the IT field, you have to be able to do two things. Multitask and pull together disparate pieces of information from different sources and make a complete picture. Which I do as part of my blogging. How well informed my conclusion is, I'll leave to others to decide. But thanks for the vote.

On the multitasking side. My computer at work has 3 monitors. So on one screen I will start a system upgrade or maintenance or whatever. While that is in progress I switch to another screen and blog while keeping one eye on the progress of the install. The third screen has my e-mail up. Another aspect of working on computers, you do a lot of waiting for stuff to finish.

3) Both boys are in bed by 8 and are sound asleep. Combine that with the writers strike, I have more free time in the evening.

Catelli said...

And I forgot one other thing. I'm a reasonably fast typist.