Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why the Conservatives really fired nuclear watchdog Linda Keen?

When the Conservatives sacked Nuclear Safety Commission head Linda Keen it seemed it all had to do with nuclear safety and medical isoptopes. Keen was erring on the side of safety by ordering the Chalk River reactor shut down for safety reasons, the government wanted her to ignore the safety concerns to ensure the continued production of isotopes, required for many important medical procedures. She refused to back down, and she was canned.

That's a disturbing enough story, but Greg Weston reports in the Sun today there may have been even more to it:

When the Conservative government fired the country's nuclear watchdog last year, a few well-connected lobbyists toasted her demise as a victory potentially worth millions to their clients.


But behind the scenes, industry insiders say lobbyists had long been trying to get rid of Keen for reasons that had nothing to do with medicine. Their clients were companies that stand to make huge money from the next generation of Canadian nuclear power reactors called the Advanced Candu, or ACR-1000. Rightly or wrongly, it seems, the iron-fisted Keen was getting in the way.

Playing games with nuclear safety in the name of medical isoptopes isn't a decision I'd make, but you could make a case. But potentially playing games with nuclear safety so well-connected lobbyists can line their pockets? That is completely unacceptable.

Cathie has more.

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A Eliz. said...

Was Linda Keen not going to court because she was fired ??...What will happen now!!!!!!?

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I'm glad Weston is stickin' with AECL stories but he needs to brush up a little. Last week, he contended that French nuke giant Areva should get new nuke business in Canada on accounta they've built 100 of the new generation type reactors and AECL ain't built any.

Well, Areva ain't built any, either. They've got 2 under construction. WE don't know how the French one's doing but the one they're building in Finland is headed for litigation. Areva is 38 months behind and more than $2 billion over budget.

Despite the high profile of Linda Keen due to last year's firing, Weston can't spell her name correctly.

We're gonna take a bath on AECL. The Con's tripled the amount they're puttin' into AECL since they come in. They're on record as wanting to get rid of pesky regulation and they've shown that they'll fire any regulator who stands in the way of AECL.

When they sell AECL at fire sale price, they'll keep all the contaminated sites and the leaky Chalk River NRU and we'll still be saddled with the contract to supply Nordion with medical isotopes for the next 40 years.

Then, Harper's corporate buyer buddy boys will have the benefit of billions in public investment without the risk of NRU or any other troubled AECL asset.

The whole thing has been stinky from bottom to top since day one. Nukes ain't clean, ain't safe, ain't reliable and sure as hell ain't affordable.