DNA Presentation to Durham Regional Council - June 25th

On June 25th, 2014 DNA made a presentation to Durham's Regional Council to ask for leadership in requesting that the Province of Ontario upgrade nuclear emergency planning. Citizen presentations are limited to 5 minutes. The following information was presented to the Councillors in very considerable haste in order to meet the 5-minute deadline.

Presentation Title: Public Safety in Durham Region: Political leadership needed in upgrading offsite nuclear planning

(also here DNA to Reg Council June 25'14)

DNA Background

  • Working on Emergency Planning since 2012; regular at DNHC (Durham Nuclear Health Committee) meetings since early 2012
  • Sought expert help from Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)
  • CELA’s expert has been on this issue since 1988, i.e., post-Chernobyl
  • CELA presented very comprehensive report to DNHC in September 2012 – & then at Darlington refurbishment hearing in December 2012 & Pickering hearings
  • DNA also invited to attend the Nuclear Emergency Management Coordinating Committee (NEMCC) meeting held in Toronto last November
  • On Monday (June 23rd) took part in CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) meeting/conference call re: recommended changes in EP measures – no one from DEMO or Region in attendance

DNA Take-Away?

  • Planning basis is not for major accidents, or for major releases of radioactivity
  • There appears to be much confusion among the public as well as among politicians as to who is responsible for what

Agencies Involved in Emergency Planning

DNA invited to attend Nuclear Emergency Management Coordinating Committee (NEMCC) meeting in Toronto last November.

Provincial Ministries involved in EP

  • Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing
  • Ministry of Labour
  • Ministry of the Environment
  • Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Northern Development, Mines
  • Ministry of Energy
  • Ministry of Attorney General
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Ministry of Community & Social Services
  • Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services
  • Emergency Management Ontario, MCSCS
  • OPP – Emergency Management Unit
  • Communications Branch, MCSCS

Federal Organizations

  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Health Canada
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Transport Canada

Municipally & Regionally

  • DEMO (Durham Emergency Management Office)
  • Kincardine
  • City of Toronto
  • Town of SaugeenShores
  • Town of Amherstbburg
  • Town of Essex
  • Laurentian Hills/Deep River NEPC

Take Away?

A lot of jurisdictional issues. Or, cracks to fall between.    Why politicians need to act.

What is Clear? 

  • MCSCS [Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services] is quite clear that the planning basis is not for large-scale accident or release
  • Durham Nuclear Health Committee also understands this
  • Joint Review Panel Recommendations: see list (#46)
  • Judge on Darlington New Build: Emergency Planning cannot be ignored

Also clear & essential to grasp:

  • OPG is not responsible for off-site planning & it is off-site we are here about

Emergency Exercise

  • OPG [Ontario Power Generation] report obtained by FOI [Freedom of Information] in May 2013 showed the public has no idea what to do in case of a nuclear emergency
  • Exercise held end of May: No doubt useful – but without public involvement, how can the public possibly learn from it?
  • The exercise has no bearing on the current planning basis for nuclear emergencies, or on what members of the public will do in the event of an accident

Take-Away: Need to keep eye on the ball & not get distracted!

  Fukushima: Real-Life Experience

  • So much to say, not enough time.
  • Many insights about the Fukushima disaster in these 2 books; I recommend them highly!
  • Toshimitsu Homma of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency stated in April 2013 at an international conference on Emergency Management held in Ottawa that the most important lesson of Fukushima was that before the accident, “There was an implicit assumption that such a severe accident could not happen and thus insufficient attention was paid to such an accident by authorities.”

<The books referenced are Strong in the Rain – Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster & Fukushima – The Story of a Nuclear Disaster>


  • Durham Region: 10 reactors, some very old now & running past “design basis”
  • Public confused - almost everyone seems confused about what to do if accident happens, & who is responsible for what
  • Durham Region stands to be most affected if the unthinkable happens, & I heard OPG CEO Tom Mitchell say [6 months into the Fukushima disaster] “The unthinkable can happen.”


  • You as Durham Region’s elected representatives have a major responsibility here.

DNA Recommendation

DNA urges Durham Regional Council to advocate on behalf of its citizens for world-class nuclear emergency plans.

We recommend:

•  Durham Region study and endorse international best practices as our community’s expectation of offsite nuclear emergency plans.

•  Request that the Province carry out transparent and meaningful public consultations with Durham Region and its citizens on revisions to the province’s nuclear emergency plans.