IAEA assesses emergency preparedness in Canada
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts yesterday concluded an 11-day mission to review Canada’s preparedness and response arrangements for nuclear and radiological emergencies. An Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) is 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 mission to Canada focused on preparedness for emergencies stemming from events at nuclear power plants. The country operates 19 reactors at four sites, generating about 15% of its electricity.
The 11-person EPREV review team identified several strengths during the mission, including a well-developed and mature emergency and preparedness response system in place across all levels of government. It also said the government has developed a streamlined approach for the timely processing of liability claims relating to nuclear or radiological emergencies.
Recommendations for further consideration included that the government should include “justification and optimisation” in the protection strategy, and should develop a detailed monitoring strategy to optimise the use of monitoring capabilities and resources. The government should also develop detailed arrangements for formally terminating a nuclear emergency.
Michael Scott, director of the Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, led the review team, which included experts from Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Romania, South Africa, South Korea and Sweden, as well as 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 emergency preparedness and response system.”
The EPREV was carried out at the request of the Canadian government, which the IAEA said intends to adopt an action plan to address the findings. The government plans to make the report public upon completion in early 2020. Canada will host a follow-up EPREV mission in about two to four years.
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,” he said.