Media Release: Point Lepreau’s Updated Nuclear Emergency Response Plan Withheld from the Public

Media Release

The promised May 18, 2017 release of New Brunswick’s Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station’s updated emergency response plan has been withheld from the public.

 “We have seen the need for much better nuclear emergency planning and preparedness” said Canadian Environmental Law Association’s Executive Director, Theresa McClenaghan. During the four-day Point Lepreau relicensing hearing which took place in Saint John earlier this month, CELA presented a number of recommendations to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission aimed at improving emergency planning in the province of New Brunswick.

 New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization announced at the hearing that a new, revised emergency response plan for Point Lepreau would be released May 18, 2017. The emergency response plan, however, would not be made publicly available and circulated for stakeholder review only.

 In a letter dated May 17, 2017, CELA requested that the province release the new emergency plan to the public. No response has been received.

 “In the event of an accident at Point Lepreau, the public must be informed in advance of radiation-protecting measures and procedures,” noted Kerrie Blaise, counsel at CELA. “The existing emergency response plan only provides emergency response measures, such as evacuation and KI pill distribution, to a distance of 20 km. We hope that the new plan recognizes the need to expand this zone to at least 40km to encompass other communities in the area, including the City of Saint John.”

 The emergency response plan in Ontario, home to Canada’s greatest concentration of nuclear power stations, is publicly available and currently, undergoing a public review. It is crucial that the NB EMO demonstrate a similar commitment to openness and allow an opportunity for the public to ask questions and comment on the revised emergency response plan.

 Outstanding questions also remain regarding the level of accident New Brunswick has prepared for and whether, the new emergency plan will be able to respond to a Fukushima level accident.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel (416) 960 – 2284 ext 7219
Kerrie Blaise, Counsel  (905) 506 – 1512

Update: New Brunswick’s Department of Justice and Public Safety has provided further information post in the links below: