Cullen expects answers on isotope crisis

Emergency committee meeting must shed some light for Canadians

OTTAWA – Following an emergency meeting of the parliamentary Natural Resources Committee in Ottawa last Friday, committee member and Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said he hopes Canadians will finally get the answers they are demanding about long term impacts of the Chalk River shutdown.

“The Conservative government has misled Canadians about Chalk River from the start,” Cullen charged between constituency visits on Haida Gwaii today.

The 52-year-old Chalk River nuclear reactor that supplies 30 per cent of the world’s medical isotopes has been shut down since a radioactive water leak was discovered in May.  Patients have been facing dangerous delays for important medical tests, and hospitals and health care networks are being hit with ballooning costs. 

“The government has failed to reassure Canadians that alternative measures are in place to ensure no one’s health is at risk because of the shutdown,” Cullen said.

“First, the Natural Resources Minister repeatedly denied a leak at the reactor, and then she downplayed the impacts the shutdown and isotope shortage would have on Canadians and she promised a speedy resolution to the crisis.

“Now we’re told the Chalk River facility won’t open until 2010. It’s hard to know what to believe.”

Cullen said Canadians who need medical tests involving isotopes deserve honest answers and real help.

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For more information: Shelley Browne (250) 877-4142; nathan.cullen.c1@parl.gc.ca