Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Government-Corporate Nuclear Chicanery in Canada

Lest you think collusion between corrupt government and dubious business interests happens only in the US–read this article on the firing of Linda Keen, until recently the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Keen was fired for having the temerity to insist that the 50-year-old Chalk river nuke in Ontario stay closed until safety concerns were fully addressed.

Now, let me disclose my biases. I’ve been studying about nuclear power going back to a college report I did in 1974–and my first book, in 1980, was an expose of the nuclear power industry. In my mind,

• there is no such thing as a safe nuke (and a wide swatch of the Ukraine is still uninhabitable, more than two decades after the accident at Chernobyl)
• waste storage will cause problems for thousands of years
• counting the entire fuel cycle, nukes are a net consumer of energy–so we’re not actually gaining anything by using them
• solar, wind, and other nonpolluting, renewable technologies make a lot more sense

Why was the plant ordered to stay shut?

In the inspection process, the CPSC regulators found something at the 50-year-old reactor that was terrifying:

…the reactor had been operating for 17 months without two cooling pumps hooked up to an additional emergency back-up power system capable of withstanding a severe earthquake.

And yes, there have been earthquakes in the vicinity. And this plant is only two hours from Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

But still…here is a woman who was fired because she didn’t want this ancient and probably crumbling nuke to have an accident! Best of luck, Linda in your wrongful termination court case. And thanks for doing what’s right.

(my thanks to The Weekly Spin for alerting me to this story).
Business and government ethics violations that directly put life and property at risk are more than just crooked collusion. They are criminal acts.


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