Canadian Regulators Declare Their Nuclear Plants Safe In Post-Fukushima Report

On Friday Canadian regulators published their post-Fukushima Daiichi report on nuclear safety, concluding the country’s reactors could stand up safely to the conditions that triggered the crisis in Japan.

As in the United States, the Canadian government ordered inspections of its operating nuclear plants and a review of their accident preparedness in response to the March station blackout that severely damaged three reactors. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s Fukushima Task Force Report “concludes that Canadian nuclear power plants are safe and pose a very small risk to the health and safety of Canadians or to the environment.”

The report identified no gaps in emergency planning or regulatory oversight related to severe accidents. Further, the CNSC said in a release the country’s reactors can “withstand conditions similar to those that triggered the Fukushima event.”

Canada generates about 15 percent of its power from nuclear plants, according to the World Nuclear Association. Its 18 operating reactors use Canada deuterium uranium (CANDU) heavy-water designs, which have also been exported to Asia, Europe and South America. Expansion plans for the Canadian reactor fleet include as much as 9 gigawatts of new generation. The Fukushima report concluded that the accident did not challenge the country’s fundamental approach to regulation and safety for new reactors.

Nonetheless, the task force made a number or recommendations to make Candu units safer in extreme accident scenarios. Among them, the report asks for more planning for beyond-design-basis accident conditions and multi-unit events. It also calls for enhancements to emergency planning and more consideration for specific scenarios brought to light by Fukushima, such as the use of temporary water and electricity supplies and portable equipment.

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