Bruce A nuclear generating station in Kincardine, Ontario. Photo by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

IAEA Reviews Canada’s Emergency Preparedness and Response for Nuclear Emergencies

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded an 11-day mission to review Canada’s Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) framework for nuclear and radiological emergencies. The Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) was carried out at the request of the Canadian government.

The mission focused on preparedness for emergencies stemming from events at nuclear power plants. Canada operates 19 reactors at four sites, generating about 15 percent of its electricity. Canada also develops and exports reactor technology.

Michael Scott, Director of the Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, led the 11-person review team, which also included experts from Australia, Finland, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Romania, South Africa, Sweden and the IAEA.

“Preparations by the Canadian government for this review were clear, focused and effective,” said Scott. “The findings of this mission will help Canada to further enhance its EPR system.”

IAEA Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, noted that Canada was the first country with a large nuclear power programme to host an EPREV. “I hope others will follow suit,” Lentijo said.

EPREV missions are one of the peer reviews offered by the IAEA to strengthen nuclear safety in Member States. EPREV missions focus on the arrangements and capabilities to prepare for and respond to nuclear and radiological emergencies. EPREV missions are based on the IAEA safety standards in nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness response.

The EPREV team identified several strengths in Canada’s EPR framework, including a well-developed and mature EPR system in place across all levels of government, as well as a streamlined approach for the timely processing of liability claims relating to nuclear or radiological emergencies.

The team also made suggestions to strengthen emergency preparedness and response, including:

  • Develop a detailed monitoring strategy to optimize the use of monitoring capabilities and resources.
  • Include justification and optimization in the protection strategy.
  • Develop detailed arrangements for formally terminating a nuclear emergency.

The Canadian government intends to develop an action plan to address the recommendations and suggestions in the report and to host a follow-up EPREV mission in approximately two to four years. The government plans to make the report public upon completion in early 2020.

Read more at IAEA

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