Fukushima Nuclear Incident: Lessons Learned
- The CNSC Fukushima Task Force concludes that:
- Canadian NPPs are safe
- The Canadian nuclear regulatory framework is strong
- Emergency preparedness and response measures are adequate
- The threat of a major earthquake at Canadian NPPs is negligible
- Canadian NPPs have been operating safely for over 40 years
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, followed by a tsunami, struck Japan. The combined impact of both events on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) caused extensive damage. In the days that followed, three of the plant’s six reactors overheated and released radioactivity to the environment. The wide-ranging impacts of this incident have highlighted the importance of nuclear safety around the world.
Immediate actions taken by the CNSC
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) responded immediately to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi by:
- activating its Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa and staffing it 24/7 to monitor the emergency, assess early reports and provide timely, accurate information
- requesting licensees of Canadian NPPs, research reactors and fuel fabrication facilities to review the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi incident
- performing inspections of all NPPs and other nuclear facilities in Canada to assess the readiness of mitigating systems, including seismic preparedness, firefighting capability, backup power sources, etc.
- establishing a Task Force to evaluate the operational, technical and regulatory implications of the nuclear incident.
Creation of an External Advisory Committee
In August 2011, the CNSC established an external advisory committee of independent experts to assess the organization’s processes and responses in light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear incident. The Committee will present its report and recommendations to the CNSC’s President in early 2012.
Fukushima Task Force Recommendations
To ensure transparency, the CNSC invited the public to comment on the Fukushima Task Force report and the proposed Management Response. Public comments were considered and incorporated into a comprehensive CNSC Action Plan.
CNSC Action Plan
The CNSC Action Plan identifies the measures required by licensees, CNSC staff, and external jurisdictions for discharging each recommendation of the Task Force Report. The public and stakeholders are invited to provide written comments on the Action Plan by February 3, 2012. The Action Plan will track each recommendation through to their implementation. The revised Action Plan will be presented to the Commission at a public meeting in Spring 2012.
As more information about the accident becomes available, the CNSC will continue to monitor, assess and address any new lessons as they become known, and the Action Plan will be revised as appropriate.
For more information visit Canada’s Action Plan in Response to the Nuclear Accident in Japan.