Everything seems to be back to normal at the Port of Halifax, they seem to be offloading from the ship(s) again and the port is running. The CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) released a statement here saying that the four canisters of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) are intact and were never breached, it was just the container that they were inside (they were encased in cement and metal then in the container). They said the radiation levels were extremely low.
So it is good to know at least that nothing major came from it. The company that runs the port said that this was a “worst case senario” that happened and they still held up with relatively low radiation. It actually makes me feel a bit more secure knowing that the CNSC last night said that the incident was handled properly and that they fell 6 meters but the canisters were designed to hold for up to a 16 meter drop.
It seems to have raised a lot of questions in the public about the types of materials coming through our two ports (Ceres and HalTerm) and if we are really prepared for an actual leak. From what I have read and from the response that I actually saw out my window myself in watching it unfold I would say that yes we are and that we as safe as we can be with the hazardous materials that do come and go through the ports. The response time for the fire departments hazmat teams was very fast and they have the place locked down within minutes.
I think that the main thing that people are upset about is the lack of information we were provided with and all the conflicting reports, but that just goes to show how listening to the media and not waiting for the official reports can cause people to panic (myself included) and start speculating and feeding the “fire” so-to-speak.
I read somewhere that our ports handle all 9 classes of dangerous goods:
3. Flammable Liquids
4. Flammable Solids
5. Oxidizing Substances
6. Toxic & Infectious Substances
7. Radioactive Material
9. Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods
And that this is the second time that uranium hexafluoride (UF6) has been dropped in one of our two ports the other happening at the other port in 1999. Same thing happened. No leak but slightly higher then normal levels of radiation detected in the air very near by.
It’s still kind of scary thinking about it all. If you want to read a bit more about the city of Halifax and our harbour and the problems that have plagued it check out this comment and the links in it here.
On another note my parents are headed up to the city today to visit a family friend who is in the hospital and I am excited about seeing them and my little brother (I believe he is coming up too). I have not seen them since Christmas I believe. It’s pretty bad that I can’t remember if I have seen them since then.