Linda J. Keen Receives 2008 Women in Nuclear (WiN) Global Award

Gordon Edwards: May 28th, 2008

The CNSC is proud to acknowledge that Linda Keen is the first Canadian to receive this international award,

On May 28th, 2008, Linda J. Keen, was presented with the 2008 Women in Nuclear (WiN) Global Award in Marseilles, France. She received special recognition for excellence in communications, education, leadership and mentoring in the nuclear sector. Ms. Keen is currently a permanent full-time Member of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and was formerly President and Chief Executive Officer.

Until six months ago, she was President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission -- in fact, she was president of the CNSC for 7 years. Although the CNSC is supposed to be an independent quasi-judicial body, free from political interference, she was fired in Jan 2008 from her position as president by the government of the day for having enforced too rigorously the safety conditions that had been imposed in the 2006 licensing of a 50-year old reactor, the NRU reactor at Chalk River Ontario, leading to its temporary shutdown in November 2007. The government maintained that the shutdown had precipitated a medical crisis due to an interruption in the supply of medical isotopes produced by the NRU reactor. In testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, a medical doctor from British Columbia argued that there was no medical crisis per se as diagnostic procedures with radioactive isotopes are never regarded as a medical emergency -- the proof being that they are never administered on the weekend or after regular hospital hours, because they are not that urgent. In other words, such diagnostic procedures can be re-scheduled. Nevertheless, Ms. Keen was fired as president (although she is still a full-time member of the CNSC) and a special emergency law was passed ordering the re-start of the NRU reactor a week or so before it would have been re-started anyway.

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