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Could a radioactive capsule go missing in Canada?

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After a tiny radioactive capsule went missing in the Australian outback, an experts in Canada says the likelihood of the same happening in this country is unlikely, given our strong regulations governing the handling of radioactive materials.

The capsule was reported missing on Jan. 25 after it fell off a truck while being transported along a 1,400-kilometre stretch of highway in Western Australia. Authorities in the region announced on Wednesday the capsule had been retrieved after days of searching

Here’s what you need to know about the handling of radioactive devices in Canada and whether the same could happen here:

HOW COMMON ARE THESE RADIOACTIVE DEVICES IN CANADA?

The capsule that went missing in Australia measured was just 6 mm in diameter and 8 mm long. It was part of a gauge used to measure the density of iron ore feed at Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri mine in Western Australia. It contains the caesium 137 ceramic source, which emits dangerous amounts of radiation equivalent of receiving 10 X-rays in an hour.

Laura Boksman, senior consulting scientist at the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada, says such devices containing similarly radioactive material are common in Canada.

“We would have that sort of type of radioactive material device in all sorts of industries in Canada — in mining, in processing. You could have it in pulp and paper, you could have it in the steel industry, you can have them in bottling plants,” she told CTVNews.ca on Wednesday in a phone interview. “They’re very common, actually.”

WHAT ARE THE SAFETY REGULATIONS GOVERNINIG RADIOACTIVE DEVICES IN CANADA?

In order to transport radioactive material, individuals have to apply for a license from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the federal regulator in charge of nuclear power and radioactive materials.

Applications must include a rundown of all the safety protocols that are planned, such as the training of the people transporting it, how the material is being packaged, what safety audits are being done on a regular basis, and what emergency plans are in place if the material gets lost of stolen.

“You have to submit a lot of information to the regulator to show that you’re a committed to working safely and that your plans are adequate for what you want and plan to do with the type of radioactive material that you have,” Boksman said

Licences to transport are typically granted for a period of five or 10 years, and they come additional reporting requirements. On top of that, the CNSC also performs routine inspections.

“There are annual reports that have to be submitted. There are financial guarantees that have to be provided … so that if go belly up and you just leave, the government has some financial compensation in order to deal with the problems what you left behind,” Boksman added. “To use radioactive material, it’s very highly regulated wit the CNSC.”

Failure to properly handle radioactive can result in thousands of dollars in fines, even jail time in Canada. But in Australia, the penalties are capped at A$1,000 (C$949), something that the Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called “ridiculously low.”

COULD THIS HAPPEN IN CANADA?

Given Canada’s regulations, Boksman says its’ “extremely unusual” for a radioactive source to go missing without being housed in a device or packaging

“This sort of type of source would have been in in a gauge of some type, and they definitely don’t come apart. And then when you look at the way they’re transported, they have to be transported in specific packaging,” Boksman said.

In 2022, there were five instances of lost or stolen sources or radiation devices according the CNSC. Three of these cases involved the theft of portable gauge devices, two of which were recovered. In the other two cases, capsules of iodine 125 were lost in Montreal, but the CNSC classified these as Category 5 sources, or “very low risk.”

Boksman says five instances of lost or stolen sources per year is “really, really quite small.”

“There are thousands of thousands of shipments of radioactive material every day. We’ve got such a small number in proportion to the number of shipments that are out there,” she said.

With files from Reuters and The Associated Press

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Doug Ford once again calls on Bank of Canada to lower interest rates – CP24

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Doug Ford once again calls on Bank of Canada to lower interest rates  CP24

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'Stars are aligning' for Bank of Canada rate cut: economists – CTV News

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‘Stars are aligning’ for Bank of Canada rate cut: economists  CTV News

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Member of Canada Soccer support team detained in France for alleged drone use

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PARIS – The Canadian Olympic Committee says a “non-accredited” member of Canada Soccer’s support team has been detained by French authorities in Saint-Étienne for allegedly using a drone to record New Zealand’s women’s soccer team during practice.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee said in a statement Tuesday that team support members alerted police after a drone was flown over the women’s soccer team’s practice on Monday, leading to the detention.

The NZOC said it registered a complaint with the International Olympic Committee’s integrity unit and asked Canada for a full review.

The COC said in a statement released Tuesday it is “shocked and disappointed” over the allegation and apologized to the NZOC and New Zealand Football.

“The Canadian Olympic Committee stands for fair-play and we are shocked and disappointed,” the statement said. “We offer our heartfelt apologies to New Zealand Football, to all the players affected, and to the New Zealand Olympic Committee.”

Canada, the defending Olympic women’s soccer champion, is scheduled to open its tournament against 28th ranked New Zealand on Friday in Saint-Étienne.

The COC said it is reviewing next steps with the IOC, Paris 2024, Canada Soccer and FIFA. The COC said it will provide an update Wednesday.

“Canada Soccer is working closely and cooperatively with the Canadian Olympic Committee on the matter involving the Women’s National Team,” Canada Soccer communications chief Paulo Senra said it a statement. “Next steps are being reviewed with the IOC, Paris 2024, and FIFA. We will provide an update (Wednesday).”

It’s not the first time a Canadian soccer team has been involved in a drone controversy involving an international rival’s training session.

In 2021 at Toronto, Honduras stopped a training session ahead of its men’s World Cup qualifier against Canada after spotting a drone above the field, according to reports in Honduran media. The teams played to a 1-1 draw.

French security forces guarding Paris 2024 sites are intercepting an average of six drones per day, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said Tuesday.

Attal added the drones are often operated by “individuals, maybe tourists wanting to take pictures.”

“That’s why it’s important to remind people of the rules. There’s a ban on flying drones,” he said, according to multiple news outlets.

“Systems are in place to allow us to very quickly intercept (drones) and arrest their operators.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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