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CNSC requiring nuclear plants to distribute anti-radiation pills

By COS staff

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has released two new documents to enhance emergency preparedness and accident management at nuclear facilities and uranium mines across the country.

Nuclear Emergency Preparedness and Response sets out the CNSC's requirements and guidance related to the development of emergency preparedness programs for Class I nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills. These programs are based on four components: planning basis; response plan and procedures; preparedness; and program management. These components are considered in the development of plans to prevent or mitigate the effects of accidental releases from a Class I facility.

The document also says iodine thyroid blocking agents, such as potassium iodide (KI) tablets, will be pre-distributed to all residences, businesses and institutions within a designated plume exposure planning zone.

"Since the Fukushima accident, the CNSC has updated its requirements to further enhance nuclear safety and ensure that licensees and Canadians are thoroughly prepared to respond to any scenario. The pre-distribution of KI pills are just one of the many requirements established to protect people in the event of a nuclear emergency, no matter how improbable,” said Michael Binder, president and CEO, CNSC.

Accident Management sets out the CNSC's requirements for the development, implementation and validation of integrated accident management programs for reactor facilities, and provides guidance on how these requirements should be met. The document assists licensees with implementing and maintaining operational procedures, guidelines and adequate capabilities to deal with abnormal situations and accidents, including severe accidents. The document is consistent with the CNSC's international collaboration on lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.

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