William E. Lynch Jr. is the owner of Shield Source, which manufactures radioactive 'EXIT' signs using a nuclear reactor waste by-product called Tritium. Tritium gas was first used as the detonating component in nuclear bombs. It is sourced from the Darlington Nuclear plant and transported 66kms north to Peterborough for use in "self-illuminating safety signs" .
Speaking to CHEX News’ Melody Belfry, Lynch defended Shield Source’s safety record arguing, “We’ve been in Peterborough for 26 years, we are licensed as you know by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and they are regulatory, and watching over what we do, and all the operations we have comply with all the applicable regulations.”
According to a Canadian Environmental Law Association, CELA, media release, Shield Source has “recalculated its tritium emissions for the years 2010 and 2011 at five to nine times the levels previously reported”, adding, “The new levels are more than twice the release limits allowed by the CNSC licence." Joseph Castrilli, legal counsel at CELA is acting on behalf of a local citizen’s group, SAGE, Safe and Green Energy Peterborough, in the matter.
For CHEX News, Melody Belfry also spoke with Ruth Webster, who "works for the company and only lives five kilometers away, she thinks all of this is for nothing”. Webster told Belfry “we’re tested, all the guidelines are followed, they’re a wonderful company to work for and to be with and it just makes me upset to think of all this going on”.
Webster was in attendance at an April 19th public information meeting hosted by Shield Source. The meeting was requested by SAGE organizer and local filmmaker Jessica Rowland. The occasion was the first public meeting in the history of Shield Source which operates at the Peterborough Airport.
The CNSC has also restricted Shield Source’s operating licence to forbid the company from processing tritium gas, yet the regulator contends “doses to the public are well below regulatory limits and the safety of the public, workers and the environment have not been compromised”.
A letter from the Peterborough County Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, states a “grave health concern” over tritium emissions, noting “We have a small industry in Peterborough emitting more than a major nuclear industry”.
When water contaminated with tritium, a known carcinogen, is ingested by pregnant women, it can cause fetal malformation according to Dr. Ken Ranney. Dr. Ranney is a Peterborough resident and retired pathologist who argues "its hard for me to see why this enterprise should be necessary at all”.
SAGE spokesperson Jeff Brackett has recently revealed that Shield Source owner, William E. Lynch Jr. is also the owner of Isolite in Berwyn Pennsylvania, and Safety Light in Wayne Pennsylvania.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken over the Safety Light site and started a $17 million clean-up paid for by taxpayers. Speaking to Pamela Vanmeer of CHEX News, Lynch claimed “Safety Light does not have the resources to pay for clean up and that most of the contamination was from previous owners of the company.”
According to transcripts of a CNSC hearing into Shield Source’s operating licence in 2009, Lynch was specifically asked if there was any connection to a company known as Safety Light Corporation. In response Mr. Lynch said, “Shield Source was started in the mid-80’s on its own, has no affiliation of its own with Safety Light or any other U.S. corporation”
Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, CCNR, contends the decision to cancel the public hearing is a “small but significant victory”. Because Shield Source will not be allowed to process tritium for the time being, Edwards claims it allows groups opposing the company “to cultivate support for a principled position against the opportunistic marketing of radioactive waste products from nuclear reactors”.
For more about Shield Source and Tritium:
Video (4minutes 49seconds) of April 11th public meeting featuring Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear responsibility and Dr. Linda Harvey of Physician for Gobal Survival
Video (1minute 22seconds) SAGE Hwy 115 Tritium Banner Drop
Video (6minutes 14seconds) Everything You Wanted to Know About Radioactive Tritium But Were Afraid To Youtube
Video (1minute 34seconds) Raging Grannies drop new single: Shield Source and Tritium Contamination in Peterborough
Video (3minutes 5seconds) MEDIA ADVISORY: Tritium & The Quality of LIfe in Peterborough
Article and Video (4minutes 18seconds) Radioactive Health Alert in Peterborough: Tritium
Video (5minutes 35seconds) Shield Source and Tritium Contamination - Interview with SAGE Spokesperson Jeff Brackett
Video (6minutes 52seconds) Toxic Tour: Shield Source Tour with Jeff Brackett
The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!