Municipal Candidates Overwhelmingly Favour World-Class Nuclear Emergency Planning for Durham Region

Whitby, October 14, 2014Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA)’s municipal election survey indicates there is a near consensus among respondents that elected officials should advocate for the province to consult openly with the citizens of Durham Region on updating nuclear emergency plans, with the goal that revised plans will meet international best practices. DNA posed three questions on this topic to the 209 candidates running for office this Fall. Candidates were asked:

1. If elected, will you advocate for world-class nuclear emergency plans that meet or exceed international best practices?

2. Do you support directing Durham Region staff to study and provide a report to Regional Council on international best practices for nuclear emergency plans?

3. Do you agree that Durham Region should request the government of Ontario to openly and transparently consult with the municipalities and citizens of Durham Region on new off-site nuclear emergency plans?

Responses were overwhelmingly in the affirmative on all three questions.

The overall response rate was 60%, with Oshawa’s being the highest at 73% and including three incumbent Regional Councillors and two incumbent City Councillors responding. Scugog showed the lowest rate of return, at 27%. No incumbent politicians in Scugog responded to the survey.

As DNA spokesperson Gail Cockburn comments, “With the recent KI pill pre-distribution motion passing unanimously at Regional Council in September, these survey results clearly establish there is both the need and the political will to strengthen nuclear emergency planning in Durham Region.”

DNA’s Web site shows results broken down by municipality so that citizens can easily see what their local candidates have stated publicly about the need to better protect Durham’s citizens in the event of a nuclear emergency. 

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ELECTION 2014: 209 Municipal Candidates Surveyed

DNA conducted an election survey on nuclear emergency planning with all 209 candidates running for municipal office in the elections coming up on October 27th. All candidates in each of Durham's 8 municipalities were included. The questionnaire with its explanatory preamble can be found here.

** There is a near consensus among respondents that elected officials should advocate for the province to consult openly with the citizens of Durham Region on updating nuclear emergency plans with the goal that revised plans will meet international best practices.

Check out the comprehensive results in the documents below! Each individual document contains the questions, as well as overall results & individual candidates' comments.

DNA Survey Results-Reg. Chair2

DNA Survey Results-AJAX2

DNA Survey Results-BROCK2

DNA Survey Results-CLARINGTON2

DNA Survey Results-OSHAWA2

DNA Survey Results-PICKERING2

DNA Survey Results-SCUGOG2

DNA Survey Results-UXBRIDGE2

DNA Survey Results-WHITBY2

 

 

 

 

KI Motion - Sept. 17/14.

Durham Regional Council Meeting, September 17/14.

Motion

Moved by Councillor O’Connell, Seconded by Councillor Jordan,
(144)

“Whereas exposure to gaseous radioactive iodine following a nuclear reactoraccident is a serious concern because it increases the risk of thyroid cancer;

Whereas there are 10 operating nuclear reactors in Durham Region;

Whereas the timely ingestion of Potassium Iodide (KI) can block radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid gland and thereby significantly reduce the risk of thyroid cancer following a reactor accident;

Whereas other Canadian provinces with nuclear reactors (New Brunswick and Quebec) and other countries such as France and Switzerland pre-distribute KI to all residents, schools and businesses in proximity to their nuclear stations;

Whereas the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has proposed a new requirement for KI to be pre-distributed along with educational materials to all residents within the 10-km evacuation zone by the end of 2015;

Whereas the Government of Ontario has objected to the new requirement on jurisdictional grounds;

Now be it resolved that Durham Region requests the Government of Ontario, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Durham Emergency Management Office and Durham Region’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to collaborate and ensure that CNSC’s proposed KI pre-distribution requirement is implemented by the operators by the end of 2015.

Be it further resolved that Durham Region requests the Government of Ontario and the CNSC to seek input from Durham Regional governments and their citizens on future changes to off-site nuclear emergency plans.

Finally, note that a copy of this resolution will be sent to:

  • All Durham Region municipalities
  • Durham Nuclear Health Committee
  • City of Toronto
  • City of Toronto Office of Emergency Management
  • Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
  • Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
  • Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Canadian Association of Nuclear Host Communities
  • Bruce Power
  • Ontario Power Generation
  • Members of Provincial Parliament
:

- Granville Anderson (Durham) - Joe Dickson (Ajax-Pickering) - Christine Elliott (Whitby-Oshawa) - Jennifer French (Oshawa) - Tracy MacCharles (Pickering-Scarborough East) - Laurie Scott (Haliburton/Kawartha Lakes/Brock) - Mitzie Hunter (Scarborough-Guildwood)

  • Members of Parliament

- Colin Carrie (Oshawa) - Barry Devolin (Haliburton/Kawartha Lakes/Brock) - Chris Alexander (Ajax/Pickering) - Corneliu Chisu (Pickering/Scarborough East) - Erin O’Toole (Clarington/Scugog/Uxbridge)”

CARRIED ON THE FOLLOWING RECORDED VOTE:

Yes

  • Councillor Aker
  • Councillor Ballinger
  • Councillor Bath
  • Councillor Chapman
  • Councillor Clayton
  • Councillor Coe
  • Councillor Collier
  • Councillor Diamond
  • Councillor Drew
  • Councillor Drumm
  • Councillor England
  • Councillor Foster
  • Councillor Henry
  • Councillor Jordan
  • Councillor McLean
  • Councillor Mercier
  • Councillor Mitchell
  • Councillor Novak
  • Councillor O’Connell
  • Councillor O’Connor
  • Councillor Parish
  • Councillor Perkins
  • Councillor Pidwerbecki
  • Councillor Rodrigues
  • Councillor Ryan
  • Councillor Woo

Members Absent:

Marimpietri, Neal

Conflict of Interest: None

<To locate official minutes for this meeting, go to this page on the Durham Region Web site. Once there, click on Minutes & Agendas. Once there, Select Regional Council from the list of options, make sure to select 2014 also, then click on search. What will come up is a page with dates, agendas & minutes. Select the minutes for Sept 17th & you're away to the races!>

Note: for more information about KI on this blog, go to the Resources/Info page heading at the top & click on it.

News Items: Councillor says pre-distribution could prevent ‘chaos’ during emergency

*** Durham Region.com Article on-line here ** Note on Sept. 25th - 2nd news item (in Oshawa Express) here

Potassium iodide pills could be distributed to Durham homes near nuclear plants

Councillor says pre-distribution could prevent ‘chaos’ during emergency

DurhamRegion.com By Jillian Follert

DURHAM -- Durham residents living within 10 kilometres of a nuclear plant could soon have potassium iodide pills distributed to their homes.

The move comes after the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission proposed a new requirement for the pills to be pre-distributed to all residents living within the 10-kilometre evacuation zone, along with educational materials.

Bureaucratic red tape has held up the process, prompting local politicians to take matters into their own hands.

On Sept. 17 regional council passed a motion moved by Pickering Councillor Jennifer O’Connell and Ajax Councillor Colleen Jordan, that calls on local officials to implement the program in Durham by the end of 2015.

“This is simply putting the KI in the hands of residents, rather than in the hands of pharmacies hoping that people actually go there and pick them up,” Coun. O’Connell said. “What’s the point of having this if, in the event of an emergency, it’s not actually in the hands of residents?”

Coun. Jordan noted the pills are most effective when taken quickly and said leaving the pills at pharmacies could create a mob scene in the event of a nuclear disaster.

“It’s going to create a lot of chaos in the areas where pills are stockpiled,” she said.

Members of Durham Nuclear Awareness praised the council decision, saying it follows best practices in other communities.

In Quebec and New Brunswick, where Canada’s other nuclear plants are located, it is standard practice to distribute the pills to homes and businesses within a set radius every five years.

“We’re pleased Durham regional council is telling the Ontario government that public safety is a priority. This is the first concrete step we’ve seen to update Durham’s nuclear emergency plans since the Fukushima disaster in 2011,” said DNA spokeswoman Gail Cockburn.

Potassium iodide pills are currently available to Durham residents at specific pharmacies, and are also stockpiled at local schools, child-care centres and health-care facilities.

However, focus group research done for Ontario Power Generation revealed very few Durham residents had obtained the free pills.

Potassium iodide works by protecting the thyroid, the part of the body most sensitive to radiation.

The pills are most effective when taken immediately before or after a radiation leak -- but they can have severe side effects, so should only be taken in an emergency.

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan told regional council that Ontario Power Generation should be responsible for the cost and distribution of the pills, not the municipalities.

He said he has spoken with OPG officials and “the co-operation is there.”

OPG spokesman Neal Kelly says details are currently being ironed out between the various agencies involved.

“We will work co-operatively with the other agencies to develop plans that meet the needs of Durham Region residents,” he said.

The recommendation from the CNSC is part of an ongoing review of Canada’s emergency preparedness in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The motion passed by council directs the Durham Emergency Management Office and Durham’s medical officer of health to work with the Ontario government and CNSC to get the program off the ground.

Reporter Jillian Follert covers the City of Pickering and the Region of Durham for Metroland Media Group's Durham Region Division.

** Note on Sept. 25th - 2nd news item in Oshawa Express here

** Note also! KI info on this site can be found here

KI Motion Passes

** News release sent out yesterday

Regional Council supports anti-radiation pills for residents in Durham

Whitby, September 17, 2014 – Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA) salutes Durham Regional Council’s decision to endorse the distribution of potassium iodide (KI) pills to over 200,000 residents within 10 km of the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations by the end of 2015.

Because KI pills can reduce the risk of thyroid cancer if taken soon enough after a reactor accident, they are already pre-distributed to families around the Point Lepreau reactor in New Brunswick, as well as in France, Sweden and Switzerland.

This summer the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) said it wanted KI pills pre-distributed around Pickering and Darlington by the end of 2015, but the Ontario government is resisting new requirements on jurisdictional grounds.

Pickering Regional Councillor Jennifer O’Connell proposed a resolution at the September 17th meeting of Regional Council requesting that the province work with the federal government to ensure KI is distributed to residences in Durham Region by the end of 2015. The resolution passed unanimously.

“We’re pleased Durham Regional Council is telling the Ontario government that public safety is a priority. This is the first concrete step we’ve seen to update Durham’s nuclear emergency plans since the Fukushima disaster in 2011,” said Gail Cockburn from DNA.

Today’s resolution also calls on federal and provincial governments to seek input from Durham Regional governments and residents of Durham on any future changes to off-site nuclear emergency plans.

DNA is currently surveying candidates for municipal office in Durham about their views on updating Durham’s off-site emergency plans. The results of the survey will be published in October.

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KI Resolution-Sept.17'14