Harper’s nuclear mistake

Departmental briefing note blames PM for post-Chalk River PR crisis

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comments in the wake of the Chalk River isotope crisis made matters worse, according to a Natural Resources document. The briefing note, which was obtained by the Canadian Press through an Access to Information Request, says Harper’s derision of Canada’s nuclear safety watchdog as a “Liberal-appointee” inflamed the situation, comparing it to a debacle on par with the Mulroney-Schreiber affair. The 2007 shortage of medical isotopes used to treat cancer and heart ailments occurred when the Chalk River, Ont., reactor was shut down for almost a month after it was discovered that emergency backup power wasn’t tied to pumps which prevent meltdowns.