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Greenpeace Urges Province To Update Nuclear Response Plans

Greenpeace is calling on the province to update its emergency preparedness and nuclear response plans.

This after the Auditor General of Ontario reported that both plans have not been updated for almost a decade.

Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a Greenpeace senior energy analyst, says the government has failed to deliver on its obligations to maintain existing nuclear emergency response plans, especially in light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Stensil says over half of Ontarians live within 100 km of one of the 25 nuclear reactors on the Great Lakes, and 40 million use the Great Lakes for drinking water.

Stensil adds the current nuclear emergency plan only addresses relatively small accidental radiation releases, which only cover areas close to nuclear stations.

He says it doesn’t provide for mass evacuations, or alternative sources of drinking water should the Great Lakes be contaminated.

“The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) recommends that we have zones out to 100 kilometers to look for hot spots and track ingestion control after an accident. And right now the zone around Bruce Power only goes to 50 kilometers. That needs to be changed and modernized,” he says.

And he says the plan should provide for long-term support, because six years after Fukushima, 100,000 people are still displaced from their homes.

He says the auditor pointed to complacency in the system this week and the fact that it takes so long to update our plans to make sure that they’re the best in the world.

“That’s true for reactors, but it’s also true for other radiation risks. So for [2 nuclear] waste dumps that are being proposed for the bruce, and also the transportation routes to the Bruce. We should be considering if we’re going to be shipping more waste around, whether emergency responders in Bruce County are ready to deal with such events, and whether their training is sufficient,” he adds.