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Accident prompts safety concerns at Bruce Power

TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE: June 29, 2009

http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/local/article/253527--accident-prompts-safety-concerns-at-bruce-power

Nearly half a tonne of steel plummeted 20 metres to the ground from atop a Bruce Power plant crane last month, narrowly missing workers below and raising safety concerns at the nuclear facility.

“The fact that this was a near miss in human terms was mere luck,” says a plant safety briefing into the May 12 incident obtained by the Toronto Star.

The impact shook the floor of the giant plant, says one worker.

“I could feel it 100 feet away,” says the man, who asked not to be named. “It scared the hell out of us. Nobody has ever seen anything like this and I’ve been in the trade 20 years. It’s a systemic failure.”

Any major safety breach in a nuclear plant adds to its seriousness, said Frank Greening, a former senior nuclear scientist with Ontario Power Generation.

“You expect a higher level of safety in a nuclear plant because you can’t make mistakes.”
The incident has not been publicly reported before now.

Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Bruce Power, called it a “significant failure” but said no workers were in the vicinity of the fall and the company has conducted a thorough investigation. He said the incident, though it happened in a nuclear plant, did not create any danger to the public.

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