March 03, 2004


Sirens intended to warn Pickering residents of a safety risk at the nearby nuclear plant are gathering dust in a warehouse after local politicians refused to install them, calling them Cold War "monstrosities" and a threat to property values... "We believe in the need for an alerting system, but these sirens just don't cut it," said Pickering Councillor Kevin Ashe. "We have asked them to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better way to notify residents of any imminent danger from the nuclear plant."

The Star, today. Yes, what we need here is a system that nobody has to see, or preferably, even know about, before the day of an actual disaster, at which point we expect it to be efficient, unmistakeable and thoroughly effective. That shouldn't be too hard, surely?

(For the record, I grew up down the road from a couple nice-sized reactors, including one which was the site of the largest nuclear near-disaster in Canada. I could go into details about how by far the most likely, possibly the only disaster scenario involving Candu-type heavy water reactors is one involving increased exposure over time, meaning even those living close have several hours, if not days, to evacuate... in which case a couple megaphone trucks bought for the local police and fire departmentments could do everything that needs to be done in the way of emergency notification. But I'm not going to convince many people, so I won't bother.

No the need for panic-inducing sirens is coming from the "No Safe Dose" camp of anti-nuclear activists demanding evacuation of whole cities in minutes rather than let anyone get a single millirem more than they need to, and, like depleted uranium hysteria, is not grounded in any provable science on the effects of radiation exposure. In reality, the casualties due to panic these sirens would produce if they ever went off (heart attacks, car accidents, etc.) would almost certainly exceed any radiation-related maladies they managed to prevent.

Posted by BruceR at 05:39 PM


“We won't have the [military] capacity that...we would like, but we are going to be able to make an important contribution,” [Prime Minister] Martin said.

--the Globe and Mail, today.

Chile's already anted up in Canada's place, to join the Franco-American interim force, which the U.S. has said will handover to a new UN force in three months. Presumably Ottawa's looking at what, if anything, it can contribute to that UN effort (joining the initial intervention seems never to have been an option). Civilian police advisors mostly, is the safe bet. 'Cause we all know what Canada needs these days is fewer police at home.

Posted by BruceR at 05:18 PM