Canadian officials reacted too slowly to Japan nuclear radiation concerns, B.C. expert says
Canadian authorities should have spoken to the public sooner about any potential threat from the Japan nuclear crisis, says a University of B.C. expert.
“I think the response has been fine,” said Michael Brauer, a professor in the UBC school of environmental health. “I think it just came a few days too late, which is a little bit unfortunate.”
“Radiation is one of those things that we know people have a very strong perception of its risk,” he told the Straight by phone today (March 17). “It’s something that I think you just need to be very open about right away.”
Anne Trudel, manager of environmental health and safety at TRIUMF, said there’s little to worry about in B.C.
“I think there’s way too much concern with regard to radioactivity given what the worst-case hazard could be,” Trudel told the Straight by phone today.
“We might see a little bit if there was to be a significant release from Fukushima [nuclear power plant] all depending on how the wind flows,” she said. “But we’re exposed to background radiation that comes from radioactivity that’s present in the earth’s crust and cosmic rays that rain down on us from the atmosphere.”
“The impact from the little bit that might waft over even in the worst-case scenario would be insignificant compared to that natural background radiation.”
Health Canada has said the troubled nuclear reactors in Japan “are not expected to pose a health risk to residents of British Columbia or the rest of Canada”.
“Given the thousands of kilometers between Japan and Canada's west coast, any radioactive material that might be pushed eastward via wind patterns is expected to be dispersed over the ocean long before it reaches Canada,” Health Canada said.