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

  • Strong earthquake near Osaka, Japan, causes scattered damage

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO -- A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck around 8 a.m. Source
  • 5 dead as SUV chased by U.S. Border Patrol crashes in Texas

    World News CTV News
    BIG WELLS, Texas -- At least five people are dead and several others hurt as an SUV carrying more than a dozen people crashed while fleeing from Border Patrol agents in South Texas. Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd says the SUV went out of control at more than 100 mph and overturned on Texas Highway 85, ejecting those inside. Source
  • Alberta mosque set ablaze in 'brazen' attack

    Canada News CBC News
    A mosque in Edson, Alta. was set on fire late Saturday night shortly after a small group of people left the building after evening prayers. The three people who were praying inside had left the mosque and were still in the parking lot when a fire started at the building's south entrance at around 11 p.m. Source
  • Alberta mosque set ablaze in 'brazen' arson

    Canada News CBC News
    A mosque in Edson, Alta. was set on fire late Saturday night shortly after a small group of people left the building after evening prayers. The three people who were praying inside had left the mosque and were still in the parking lot when a fire started at the building's south entrance at around 11 p.m. Source
  • Dogs saved from Korean meat farm are recovering well in Montreal shelter

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The 50 terrified dogs and puppies rescued from crammed cages on a South Korean dog meat farm are well on their way to becoming pets in Canada, Humane Society International said. The dogs -- which include terrier crosses, Jindo mixes and Labrador mixes -- were recovered with the help of animal advocates in Korea and transported to a Montreal emergency shelter last week. Source
  • N.B. First Nation chief says his election points to progress

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- The new leader of a New Brunswick First Nation said he's proud to be elected as the first openly LGBTQ chief in Atlantic Canada -- though he said he's more well-known in his community for his leadership skills and creativity. Source
  • New opera tells little-known story of Canadian nurses killed in WWI boat sinking

    Canada News CBC News
    A new opera tells the story of the Llandovery Castle, a Canadian hospital ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat during the First World War, taking hundreds of lives — including those of 14 nurses. Source
  • Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas

    World News CTV News
    MCALLEN, Texas -- Hundreds of children are waiting away from their parents inside a Border Patrol holding facility in South Texas, with groups of 20 or more children to a single cage. There are bottles of water, bags of chips, and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets. Source
  • Toronto police charge man in death of woman he allegedly met online

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police have charged a Brampton, Ont., man with second-degree murder after a woman was found dead in her apartment Tuesday. Police say 41-year-old Richard Isaac has been arrested in connection with the death of 28-year-old Victoria Selby-Readman. Source
  • Man faces murder charge in death of Toronto woman he met online: police

    Canada News CTV News
    A man has been arrested and charged with murder after a 28-year-old woman he allegedly met online was found dead in a downtown Toronto apartment building on Tuesday, police say. Richard Isaac, 41, of Brampton, Ont. Source