By Laura King
June 18, 2015, Toronto - Leave it to a bunch of nuclear experts to come up with an agenda for a seminar on fire safety and emergency preparedness so detailed and complex that it’s impossible to find a session that doesn’t seem crucial to cover.
The nuclear people have also come up with a detailed and complex name: The 1st International Technical Meeting on Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the Nuclear Industry, which happens today and tomorrow in Mississauga.
The meeting is a response to Fukushima and the lessons learned from the fire and explosion after the 2011 tsunami.
There have since been exercises in Canada – at Bruce Power in Tiverton, Ont., and the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, in Clarington. We’ll hear lessons learned from those, too, along with the federal perspective on preparedness in Canada, which ought to be interesting (presumably it’s better than Ottawa’s plan – or lack thereof – for heavy urban search and rescue).
I witnessed a bit of the 2012 exercise at Bruce Power, mostly what happened in the surrounding municipalities, the role of the OPP’s search and rescue team and the volunteer fire department in Saugeen Shores, which works closely with Bruce’s fire department and resources.
A few weeks ago, I was in Clarington to work on a story with Deputy Fire Chief Mark Berney about recruitment and retention, and toured the region. I was surprised how close we could get to the plant without setting off alarms. From the access road, the tops of the four CANDU reactors are visible; new reactors are supposed to be installed starting in 2016, if Ontario Power Generation’s board approves the $12.8 billion price tag.
Representatives from the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management talk about the Darlington exercise at 9:30 this morning, followed by lessons learned.
Watch our twitter feed – @fireincanada. Although I’m betting it’ll be a challenge to condense any of what this group has to say into 140 characters.