CNSC response to Michael Duguay’s letter entitled 'Accident nucléaire en préparation à Gentilly 2?' (nuclear accident brewing at Gentilly-2?) published in Le Courrier Sud on August 12, 2011
To the Editor-in-Chief:
Mr. Michel Duguay’s letter entitled “Accident nucléaire en préparation à Gentilly-2?” (nuclear accident brewing at Gentilly-2?) contains a number of incorrect statements that might needlessly alarm your readers. It raises no issues that have not been previously addressed by the CNSC.
First of all, it is important to point out that the Bécancour nuclear power plant is operated safely. It was built to withstand the physical phenomena that can occur in the region, such as earthquakes and floods.
When Mr. Duguay points out that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) gave Hydro-Québec permission to delay the filing of its safety report, he fails to mention that all the relevant analyses had been done. The CNSC would never authorize the operation of Gentilly-2 if it had any doubts about the condition of the facilities.
Contrary to what Mr. Duguay implies, our organization takes the aging of nuclear power plants into account when it establishes its regulatory requirements. In addition, regular inspections are done to confirm the adequacy of the measures in place and to detect any early signs of failures – and even of minor impairments.
With regard to the research done on generic safety issues, I would like to point out that this research is aimed at better understanding certain aspects of the operation of CANDU reactors. Those issues, however, do not call into question the safe operation of Canadian nuclear power plants. The CNSC always proceeds carefully, imposing very strict conditions on operators.
The CNSC is a transparent public agency with a clear mandate: to regulate the nuclear sector to protect people and the environment. Moreover, hearings were held recently to consider the renewal of the Gentilly-2 licence. The decision made by the Commission Tribunal members took into account all the information presented, including the submissions of Mr. Duguay and about 60 other intervenors.
We invite your readers to visit our Web site (nuclearsafety.gc.ca) to learn more about the safe use of nuclear technology in Canada. They will also be able to read our correspondence with Mr. Duguay, including a recent independent review (PDF) of one of his analyses by professor John Froats of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission