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Ontario Updating Nuclear Emergency Response Plan

Web posted on May 16, 2017

Ontario is inviting the public to comment on proposed changes to the province's nuclear emergency response plan.

The plan details Ontario's response to nuclear and radiological events, and is regularly reviewed and tested through a strong partnership with federal, provincial and municipal stakeholders. Management and staff from the province's nuclear facilities also play a key role in developing and updating the plan.

The province is responsible for the off-site (the area outside the boundary of a nuclear facility) response to a nuclear emergency. Onsite security of nuclear facilities is the responsibility of the federal government and facility operators.

Ontario coordinates nuclear emergency planning for five nuclear installations. Their corresponding designated municipalities are responsible for enhanced planning: Durham Region and Toronto (Pickering nuclear generating station), Durham Region (Darlington nuclear generating station), Kincardine (Bruce Power), Laurentian Hills/Deep River (Chalk River Laboratories), Amherstburg (FERMI 2).

Ontario's CANDU nuclear reactors have an exceptional safety record. The reactors include several safety system checks that would mitigate damage in the event of a natural disaster. All reactors are licensed and regularly inspected by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Beginning today, the plan will be posted on both the Regulatory Registry and Environmental Registry for 60 days to allow all interested parties to review the plan and provide comments.

Proposed changes are based on new international recommended practices, Canadian Standards Association standards, and lessons learned from previous international incidents and provincially-run emergency exercises and modelling.

Ontario's most recent nuclear emergency response test was Exercise Huron Resolve in October, 2016, when more than 30 emergency response organizations successfully tested their nuclear response plans and procedures related to the Bruce Power site.

"Keeping our emergency response plans up to date and relevant supports the province's overall planning responsibilities and ensures we are ready to respond to any emergency, including a nuclear accident. The proposed updates to our response plan will ensure consistency with related plans and policies, as well as reflecting current knowledge in the area of nuclear preparedness. We will continue to work with facility operators and municipal, regional and federal authorities on a seamless and coordinated response plan." Ross Nichols, Ontario Fire Marshal.

In addition, Ontario is establishing a new advisory group, made up of national and international experts in nuclear safety and emergency management, to review and consider all responses to the plan and provide recommendations on how best to reflect feedback in the updated version.


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