Activists challenge Ontario's 10-kilometre radius for anti-radiation pills

TORONTO -- Environmentalists want the Ontario government to provide evidence for its 10-kilometre limit around nuclear power plants for distribution of potassium iodide (KI) pills that help fight radiation, and say it should be expanded.

See Full Article

Greenpeace and the Canadian Environmental Law Association filed a request under the Ontario environmental bill of rights asking the ministry of health to do an evidence-based review of the policy surrounding distribution of the KI pills.

Radioactive iodine is released in the event of a nuclear accident, and the potassium iodide pills can help protect against thyroid cancer.

The pills were sent to about 200,000 households and businesses around the Pickering, Darlington and Bruce nuclear stations in October, and were given to another 12,500 people who asked for them.

Greenpeace spokesman Shawn-Patrick Stensil says the 10-kilometre distribution zone in Ontario was established in 1984, and notes New Brunswick has a 20-kilometre zone while Switzerland uses a 50-kilometre area for distribution of the KI pills.

Stensil believes the evidence will show the distribution zone for the pills should be expanded to as much as 50 kilometres.

"Four years after the (2011) Fukushima disaster in Japan -- cancer takes a while to develop -- a study found increased incidences of thyroid cancer 50 kilometres from the plant," he said. "All we're saying is let's make the decision based on evidence."

Most nuclear issues are a federal responsibility, but off-site safety plans are the province's responsibility.

Greenpeace says a little-used section of Ontario's environmental bill of rights requires a government response to their request for a medical review of the policy, and if it refuses, the environmental commissioner must investigate and report to the public.

Last week, the city of Toronto's executive committee asked the medical officer of health and office of emergency management to investigate the "appropriateness" of the 10 kilometre zone at nuclear plants and whether it should be expanded to 50 kms.

Ontario Power Generation's Pickering nuclear generating station is 50 kilometres from downtown Toronto.

"Real-world experience and international best practices suggest Ontario's nuclear emergency plans aren't sufficient to protect Ontarians in the event of a nuclear accident," said Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director of the CELA.

The province initially balked at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's order to distribute the pills, insisting the federal regulator didn't have jurisdiction to issue it, so the CNSC made it a condition of renewing licences for Ontario's nuclear plants.

"The federal regulator stepped into the provincial realm because it felt Ontario was avoiding its responsibility to protect the public in the event of a nuclear accident," said Stensil.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'I cannot promise we will never make another mistake': Quebec cardinal on sex abuse summit

    Canada News CTV News
    Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet says Pope Francis' historic summit on preventing sex abuse in the clergy is a good first step but says "I cannot promise we will never make another mistake." Ouellet told CTV News' Paul Workman that the Vatican is taking the allegations of sex abuse seriously, citing the historic summit as the first step in reconciliation. Source
  • Polish activists pull down statue of priest in abuse protest

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, Poland -- Activists in Poland pulled down a statue of a priest early Thursday after increasing allegations that he sexually abused minors, a stunt they said was to protest the failure of the Polish Catholic Church in resolving the problem of clergy sex abuse. Source
  • Catalan secessionists block highways, train tracks in strike

    World News CTV News
    BARCELONA, Spain -- Strikers backing Catalonia's secession from Spain blocked major highways, train tracks and roads across the northeastern region on Thursday to protest the trial of a dozen separatist leaders. The general strike was organized by small unions of pro-independence workers and students. Source
  • Family may lose home after learning Medicare won't cover lifesaving surgery

    Canada News CBC News
    Marilyn Steele held onto her life but may lose her home because of lifesaving surgery her Fredericton doctor said couldn't be done in these parts. Steele got the surgery within days of a devastating cancer diagnosis, but not in Fredericton or anywhere else in Canada. Source
  • Louisiana woman charged in shooting of her pet llama, Earl

    World News CTV News
    OPELOUSAS, La. -- A Louisiana woman is accused of shooting her pet llama named Earl who she says attacked her. News outlets report 67-year-old Madeline Bourgeois told St. Landry Parish Sheriff's deputies that Earl had attacked her last week while she was working in her pasture. Source
  • More than 150 IS militants handed over to Iraq from Syria

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- U.S.-backed Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group in Syria handed over more than 150 Iraqi members of the group to Iraq, the first batch of several to come, an Iraqi security official said Thursday. Source
  • Students abused at Catholic school for deaf boys in Verona seek closure at Pope's summit

    World News CBC News
    Alessandro Vantini uses crude gestures to illustrate the way three priests abused him throughout his entire childhood at a school for deaf boys in the northern Italian city of Verona. He said one clergyman regularly hit him with a stick and sodomized him. Source
  • Ottawa could face four class-action lawsuits over $165M error at Veterans Affairs

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government now faces four proposed class-action lawsuits over a $165 million accounting error at Veterans Affairs that shortchanged more than 250,000 former soldiers, sailors and aircrew, CBC News has learned. The latest claim was filed this week by the Ottawa law firm headed by retired colonel Michel Drapeau. Source
  • First post-SNC-Lavalin polls look bad for Trudeau Liberals

    Canada News CBC News
    The fallout from the SNC-Lavalin affair is only beginning to rain down on Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government but it seems to be having an impact — one that could put the Liberals on track to defeat in this fall's federal election. Source
  • Pope opens sex abuse summit amid outcry from survivors

    World News CTV News
    VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has opened a high-level summit of church leaders on preventing clergy sex abuse, hoping to impress on bishops from around the world that the problem is global and requires a global response. Source