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Bruce Power workers tested for radiation

By JONATHAN JENKINS, QUEEN’S PARK BUREAU - 11th February 2010

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/02/11/12846566.html

The number of workers at Bruce Power being tested for exposure to alpha radiation has risen to 190 from 19 and some workers have balked at working in the affected area.

However, no one has fallen ill or shown levels above recommended guidelines.

“We always knew it was going to expand,” Bruce spokesman Steve Cannon said Thursday.

“People are naturally concerned. It’s totally understandable and we appreciate that. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to let people understand that all precautions are being taken.”

Crews working to restart the Bruce A Unit 1 reactor in November first discovered the problem through routine air monitoring. Alpha radiation, typically associated with old or degraded fuel bundles, can cause radiation sickness if it’s breathed in but can’t penetrate the skin.

Work was stopped while the area was ventilated with HEPA filters but has since recommenced, Cannon said.

Preliminary tests are trickling in and no one has shown elevated or worrisome levels of exposure.

Still, some Bruce staff and contractors have declined to work in the area, Cannon said.

“It’s different than what was expected,” he said,

Bruce Power is a private consortium of companies that runs a six-reactor power plant near Tiverton. It produces about 6.300 megawatts of electricity.