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Serious safety deficiencies at Ontario's plants

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(March 14, 1997) After a one-year lawsuit, an Ontario court has ordered Canada's biggest electric power company, Ontario Hydro, to make public "peer review" documents on 19 nuclear reactors by the end of February. This was the first time that Ontario Hydro's own reviews of its nuclear plants was to be made public.

(468.4658) WISE-Amsterdam -The documents show serious safety deficiencies. Among these are operators found sleeping or playing computer games. Three of the four computers in the main contol room of the Pickering B plant near Toronto had computer games or other unauthorized programs installed. At this plant in July 1994, explosive Deuterium collected in one place in concentrations about three times the limit meant to avoid explosions.

"In some cases, plant safety has been jeopardized by the improper operation of important plant equipment, including some important to nuclear safety," the report concludes about the plant.

About the Bruce A station, the report says "alarms are routinely silenced but not acknowledged". During the visit of the survey team, some annunciator lamps had been flashing for more than two hours before being noticed. When, in April 1995, an auxiliary pump failed during a shutdown, no action was taken for more then 24 hours.

In the Bruce B plant, operators were seen playing computer games on two occasions, and the investigators found a ping-pong table with net set up between switchgear relay panels in the relay building.

Carl Andognini, Ontario Hydro's top nuclear official, said the reports were two to three years old, and measures had been taken to solve the problems. "We have nothing to hide," he said. "Safety is our No. 1 concern."
Ours, too.

Source: CSM, 27 February 1997
Contact: Nuclear Awareness Project, Box 104, Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada, L9P 1M6
Tel/Fax: +1- 905-852-0571