After the Fukushima nuclear accident, Canadian health officials assured a nervous public that virtually no radioactive fallout had drifted to Canada.
But last March, a Health Canada monitoring station in Calgary detected an average of 8.18 becquerels per litre of radioactive iodine (an isotope released by the nuclear accident) in rainwater, the data shows.
The level easily exceeded the Canadian guideline of six becquerels of iodine per litre for drinking water, acknowledged Eric Pellerin, chief of Health Canada's radiation-surveillance division.
"It's above the recommended level (for drinking water)," he said in an interview. "At any time you sample it, it should not exceed the guideline."
Canadian authorities didn't disclose the high radiation reading at the time.
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When an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex on March 11, as many as 13,000 highly radioactive spent uranium fuel rods, far exceeding the original design, were crammed into a pool of cooling water at the No. 4 Reactor Building.
Without a circulating system to keep the water at about 30 C, heat from the nuclear waste would cause the water to boil, exposing the fuel rods — and their drop-dead radiation — to the atmosphere and anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby.
About an hour into the catastrophe, the power went out and the water's temperature began rising. In a desperate bid to keep things cool, lead-shielded miliary helicopters scrambled to dump sea water onto the reactors and the complex's storage pools.... Read more »
TORONTO — A controversial plan to ship 16 decommissioned nuclear steam generators across Ontario's Great Lakes and eventually to Sweden for recycling continues to remain on hold, nearly two years after it was first proposed.
This week, Bruce Power, Canada's only private nuclear power operator, said there was no update on what it will do with the school bus-sized generators left over from a refurbishment of its Bruce A nuclear reactor.
"From our perspective, there's really nothing to say on this as the status has not changed," company spokesman John Peevers wrote in an email.
The company has not ruled out the idea of a shipment but would not elaborate on what other alternatives it was also considering.... Read more »
New research has found that radioactive material in parts of north-eastern Japan exceeds levels considered safe for farming.
The findings provide the first comprehensive estimates of contamination across Japan following the nuclear accident in 2011.
Food production is likely to be affected, the researchers suggest.
The results are reported in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.
In the wake of the accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, radioactive isotopes were blown over Japan and its coastal waters.
Fears that agricultural land would be contaminated prompted research into whether Japanese vegetables and meat were safe to eat.... Read more »
TORONTO —Environmental groups have asked a federal court to stop government agencies from approving construction of new nuclear reactors at Darlington until an environmental assessment is fully completed and shows the project won’t negatively impact the environment or human health as required by law.
“The Fukushima nuclear disaster has been a global wake-up call on the risks posed by nuclear power, but here in Canada our authorities have pretended these risks don’t exist. In light of Fukushima, Canadian environmental protection laws must be respected before the next Ontario government can proceed with new reactors," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a nuclear analyst with Greenpeace. ... Read more »