The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on Aug. 9 released its final Integrated Action Plan that describes the conditions to be imposed on nuclear facilities in the country based on lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
The coastal Fukushima plant’s low-lying support facilities were inundated by a tidal wave, triggering a cascading series of problems at the nuclear reactors on the bluff above.
The new CNSC report describes specific actions to be implemented by staff, licensees and affected federal and provincial stakeholders, to strengthen the defence in depth of Canadian nuclear power plants (NPPs) and major nuclear facilities (Class I nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills), enhance emergency preparedness, as well as improve regulatory oversight and crisis communication capabilities.
This CNSC Integrated Action Plan encompasses all public and stakeholders’ recommendations and comments received during public consultations, as well as the outcomes from two independent reviews: one by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) follow-up mission, and the second by an external advisory committee (EAC) established by the President of the CNSC.
“The IRRS mission concluded that the CNSC response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear accident was robust and comprehensive, and that the CNSC had an ‘effective and pragmatic framework’ in place to implement the lessons learned from this event,” the report noted. “In turn, the EAC concluded that the CNSC had acted promptly and appropriately to the Fukushima Daiichi events. The EAC also identified some areas for further enhancements that were considered in the development of the draft CNSC Action Plan.”
The CNSC Fukushima Task Force concluded that Canadian NPPs are safe and rely on multiple layers of defence in depth. Additional CNSC staff reviews, conducted in response to the event, confirmed that major nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills are safe, and pose a very small risk to health and safety, or to the environment.
The CNSC management has endorsed the findings and recommendations of the Fukushima Task Force and committed to address each recommendation, as well as those of the EAC, together with comments from stakeholders, through actions described in the CNSC Integrated Action Plan.
The CNSC Integrated Action Plan is applied to all major nuclear facilities and consists of the following categories:
- strengthening defence in depth;
- enhancing emergency response;
- improving the regulatory framework and processes;
- enhancing international collaboration; and
- communications and public consultation.