CNSC response to Le Devoir's March 4 2010 article entitled Les CANDU risquent l’emballement
The CNSC responds to an article in Le Devoir on positive coolant void reactivity feedback, a design characteristic of CANDU reactors.
Following your March 4 article concerning the safety of CANDU reactors, I would like to point out that your research is incomplete and lacks rigour. I would also like to correct the misconceptions put forward by your journalist, which might have misled your readers. That being said, I want to bring to your attention several established facts.
First and foremost, the CNSC wishes to reassure the public that CANDU reactors are safe. They pose no risks to the health and safety of Canadians, or to the environment. They have been operating in a safe manner – both in Canada and abroad – for over 30 years, and will continue to do so. The CNSC would not license a facility that is not operated safely. Your comparison with Chernobyl is outrageous and unacceptable fear-mongering.
The CNSC, in collaboration with the Canadian nuclear sector, continues to produce and update a comprehensive body of research, aiming to improve the safety culture and understand the potential challenges posed by nuclear power plants – whether in operation or under refurbishment. The phenomenon referred to as positive coolant void reactivity feedback in CANDU reactors is well known and understood. It has been thoroughly studied and documented by CNSC experts and nuclear power plants operators. Once again: CANDU reactors are, and continue to be, safe and secure.
In conclusion, the CNSC would like to stress that the report quoted in the article is publicly available, and does not contain any new regulatory requirements with regards to additional safety-proofing of the CANDU systems. If your journalist would have attempted to contact us, we could have clarified these questions for him.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission