IAEA Reviews Canada’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Framework

Flag of Canada (Jared Grove/Wikipedia)

An International Atomic Energy Agency team of experts today 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 (NRC), 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 Mr. 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,” Mr. Lentijo said.

The EPREV team identified several strengths in Canada’s EPR framework, including:

  • A well developed and mature EPR system is in place across all levels of government.
  • The Government has developed 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:

  • The Government should include justification and optimization in the protection strategy.
  • The Government should develop a detailed monitoring strategy to optimize the use of monitoring capabilities and resources.
  • The Government should develop detailed arrangements for formally terminating a nuclear emergency.

The 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 2 to 4 years. The Government plans to make the report public upon completion in early 2020.

About EPREV Missions

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.

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