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The Pickering nuclear power plant east of Toronto is one of dozens of Canadian sites that a classified U.S. State Department cable lists as key infrastructure sites whose loss could 'critically impact' the public health or security of the U.S. ((Kevin Frayer/ Canadian Press))

WikiLeaks has published a secret U.S. State Department list of key infrastructure sites in foreign countries — including dozens in Canada — that Washington considers vital to the national security of the United States.

The list of "critical infrastructure" and "key resources" located outside the U.S. was put together as part of a State Department order to compile an inventory of foreign sites whose loss could "critically impact" the public health or security of the U.S.

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According to a February 2009 cable sent to U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, U.S. diplomats were instructed to update an existing list of foreign sites that could seriously harm the U.S. if they were targeted by terrorists or destroyed by other means.    

Canadian sites on the 2008 list include such things as the Darlington and Pickering nuclear power plants east of Toronto, a number of international rail crossings and bridges, oil and gas pipelines, the James Bay hydroelectric project in Quebec, the Hibernia Atlantic undersea cable landing in Halifax, several dams, a number of mines, and several factories producing everything from missile parts to plasma to vaccines.

The list

Click here  for the complete list of Canadian 'critical infrastructure and key resource' sites detailed by the U.S. State Department and published by WikiLeaks.

The cable includes hundreds of other strategic sites in all regions of the world. According to the diplomatic note, the order to update the list was aimed at strengthening "national preparedness, timely response, and rapid recovery in the event of an attack, natural disaster or other emergency."

WikiLeaks' publication of the list has increased official criticism of the whistleblowing website for providing a virtual "wish list" of potential targets for would-be terrorists.

"This is further evidence that [WikiLeaks has] been generally irresponsible, bordering on criminal," former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind was quoted in British media reports. "This is the kind of information terrorists are interested in knowing," he said.

This is just the latest in a series of embarrassing leaks that have caused concern and anger in many world capitals in recent days. WikiLeaks began releasing more than 250,000 classified U.S. State Department cables more than a week ago.

Many of them have included unflattering U.S. diplomats' private assessments of foreign leaders.