Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jesus. H. Christ.

Seriously, what the fuck?

Feds tried to order nuclear regulator to bend rules

Updated Tue. Dec. 18 2007 8:19 PM ET

OTTAWA -- The Conservative government issued a cabinet order last week to federal nuclear regulators in an apparent effort to pressure them into letting medical isotope production resume at the Chalk River nuclear reactor.

But the directive, dated Dec. 10, failed to resolve a dispute between Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., which operates the reactor, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission which sets licensing, health and safety rules.

The government brought in emergency legislation the next day that made a temporary end run around the rules to enable isotope production to resume.

Tory insiders cite the earlier order as proof that the government had tried to solve the problem through normal bureaucratic channels but was rebuffed by the commission.

"This was a confrontation between incompetence and intransigence,'' said one Conservative who asked not to be named. "The incompetence was on the AECL side and the intransigence was on the regulatory side."

So you're telling me that the Stephen Harper Party of Canada tried to overrule an independent regulatory body on an issue of nuclear safety!?!? And if something had gone horribly wrong because of that, you just know that it would have been the Liberals' fault, don't you?

Really, this is no longer funny. Fucking around with nuclear safety just doesn't have any entertainment value. Why the hell isn't Stephen Harper in prison where he belongs?


MgS said...

Being a psychopath isn't a crime ... being a criminal psychopath is a different thing.

Harper, in this matter, is blatantly ignorant of the risks and issues involved.

What I'd like to know is why AECL has been so slow to implement the upgrades to the cooling pumps.

Scotian said...

I thought the point of having such agencies as arms length agencies from the government was in part to prevent any government from interfering via use of things like orders in council instead requiring formal legislative changes via Parliament itself. All that is proof of is the Harper CPC lack of understanding of how the regulator was set up, how it works, and their own arrogance in thinking that they can override such a regulator in such a manner.

CC is correct, this isn't funny at all, this is something exceedingly serious. Especially when one reads Hansard from the prior week (from this order in council and the followup emergency legislation introduction) and see Clement repeatedly stating about how the regulator was an independent arms length body from the government (as supposedly was AECL too in those same statements) Wed, Thurs, and Fri in response to opposition questions regarding the Chalk River/medical isotopes issue.

This is serious and it needs to be exposed as much as possible, because it illustrates some serious concerns regarding how this government operates and what kind of powers it thinks it has (or should have) versus the powers it actually does have in our system of government. This government is placing its preferences above precedent and basic governing structures as defined by law, that is something which should be of grave concern to anyone that cares about those things, as well as in terms of their view of nuclear safety being less important than a company's profit (which is after all what the isotope shortage truly was, since there were more expensive alternatives if the supplier had chosen to go to them instead of allowing this shortage to develop so they could get Chalk River going again and save their bottom line) particularly when you consider how the Harper CPC wants to expand the domestic nuclear industry.

Excellent post CC, and something which I agree is anything but funny.

900ft Jesus said...

excellent post, really glad you wrote it. I never found this issue funny. Reading the testimony of witnesses before the House and Senate was absolutely chilling. It was obvious one witness had been coached, and the CON line of questioning showed they had already made up their minds to open the plant regardless of what the witnesses said.

By passing the Nuclear Safety Commissioner - bad precedent, worse when you consider the secret dealings that lead to a nuclear agreement with the US. There goes our regulating board.

Clement contradicted himself several times, and not on small matters, either, casting doubt as to whether opening the plant was really for Canadian patients in dire need, or for economic reasons.

I'm glad this one is blowing up in their face, because it needs to stop or it will continue to pave the way for far worse.