CANDU reactors are operated safely
CNSC response to the letter entitled “Emballement possible du réacteur CANDU à
Gentilly-2” published in Le Bulletin régional on March 12, 2010
In response to the letter from Mr. Duguay and Mr. Giroul published in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean online newspaper Le Bulletin régional on March 12, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) wishes to reassure the public that CANDU reactors are safe.
For over 30 years, monitoring and stringent regulations for the design and operation of Canadian nuclear plants have ensured that these facilities were safe. The CNSC would not issue a licence to a facility that was not run safely.
The report concerning the 16 technical aspects to which the authors refer was prepared as part of a study designed to confirm or refine the margins of safety of CANDU reactors. The study is part of an ongoing improvement process, and demonstrates the prudence of nuclear energy experts and their determination to continue working to confirm and pursue knowledge in the nuclear field.
With respect to the problems raised, research and development are continuing and solutions have been adopted to minimize risks to the public. Industries concerned with safety, for example, the airline and automotive industries, base their decisions on risk. A responsible regulatory agency has to consider and analyze every conceivable event, including the most serious and unlikely, and even inconceivable events. It is surprising that a learned professor such as Mr. Duguay would try to associate what took place in Chernobyl with an event that is very unlikely to occur here.
The comparison between the tragic incident in Chernobyl and the Gentilly 2 Nuclear Power Station is outrageous and needlessly alarming. The differences in the design and operation of these two reactors and the way they are regulated make such comparisons irresponsible.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission