In Fukushima’s wake, Canadian nuclear plants prepare for the worst

Photo by Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 – Globe and Mail

Canada’s nuclear operators are taking extra steps to make plants safe in response to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe – the first admission that, despite assurances Canada’s nuclear facilities aren’t vulnerable to that kind of meltdown, Japan’s Chernobyl-scale disaster is forcing them to re-evaluate how the industry prepares for emergencies.

In the weeks after the nuclear plant in Japan was damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission asked all operators to review their safety and emergency procedures. Their responses, due last week, assure the national regulator and the public that Canada’s plants are safe. But they also set out plans to make them safer – an indication of a renewed urgency in preparing for the worst-case emergencies, no matter how farfetched.

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Fukushima’s fallout: Ripple effects on nuclear power in Canada

Darlington Nuclear Plant's is designed to suck any radioactive steam that could be released. to date, this has not been needed. Photos taken April6 2011 during a media tour of the Ontario Power Generation's Darlington Nuclear facility near Oshawa, Ont.
(Photo by Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Anna Mehler Paperny – Globe and Mail
Thursday, April 07, 2011
The disaster in Japan is forcing this country to re-evaluate the way in which it pursues – and safeguards – nuclear power

The rectangular concrete bay tasked with containing 150,000 bundles of spent uranium looks like a swimming pool, with a temperature – 30 C – to match.

But the tranquil-looking body of demineralized water at Ontario’s Darlington nuclear generator belies the painstaking, energy-intensive effort to keep it cool.

Its fuel-cooling counterpart at 40-year-old Fukushima Daiichi spent weeks emitting high levels of radiation. A blast of liquid gas stemmed a leak this week, barely 48 hours before another powerful quake further complicated efforts to contain the damage.

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