Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting It Wrong and Compounding The Error

Like this is any real surprise. Now Minister "Isotope Shortages Are Sexy" Raitt is using the argument that the MAPLE reactors would never have solved the isotope crisis.

Well ... yes and no. Without understanding the operational issues fully, that's a pretty hard thing to claim. Could the MAPLE reactors have been made to operate safely? Quite likely, but it would be a matter of time and money.

However, Ms. Raitt, and her short-sighted boss Stephen Harper, have utterly missed the point here. It isn't whether the MAPLE reactors were shelved at all. The issue is that the Conservatives shelved them, announced the permanent shutdown of the existing NRU reactor and left both Canada AND the world without any future plan for providing medical use isotope products.

Yes, there are a handful of other reactors around that produce these isotopes, but all of them are in varying stages of distress, and Canada's NRU reactor is by far the major player in that game.

The failure to even put in motion the steps to build another instance of the workhorse NRU reactor design that has worked remarkably well for a very long time is simply another example of this government's short-sightedness. They can't even understand that leaving the world with no path forward is irresponsible and seriously damaging to Canada's reputation. Nor do they seem to understand the benefit to Canadians that replacing the NRU reactor would have.

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