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Bruce Power workers tested for radiation

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/01/22/12579616.html

By JONATHAN JENKINS, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU - 22nd January 2010,

At least 19 workers at Bruce Power are awaiting test results after they were exposed to alpha radiation last November.

“These are precautionary measures,” Bruce Power spokesman Steve Cannon said.

“There’s no indication of overexposure and we’re just doing everything we can to make sure the health and safety of the workers is protected,” Cannon said. “We’ll take every precaution, we’ll go overboard on precautions, to make sure that happens.”

Problems were first detected Nov. 26 as crews on the shutdown Bruce A Unit 1 worked on replacing feeder tubes in preparation for a planned restart in 2011.

Two days later, a similar result from random air sampling was discovered and the area was tented off and ventilated with HEPA (High efficiency particulate absorbing) filters. Cannon said samples were sent for testing and the results came back Dec. 21.

“Alpha emitters were confirmed to be present at levels which warranted additional follow-up,” a report Bruce filed with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on Jan. 7 states.

“In the time frame of November 24th-28th there is the possibility that workers ... working in the vault area may have been exposed to an airborne alpha hazard,” the report stated.

Alpha radiation cannot penetrate the skin but is dangerous if breathed in, ingested or exposed to an open wound. It can cause radiation poisoning and chromosome damage.

Bruce Power workers checked for nuke exposure

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.