Statement by Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association on the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan
March 8, 2012– Ottawa, Ontario
“One year ago, approximately 20,000 lives were lost and many forever changed following a devastating earthquake and tsunami off the north coast of Japan.
The natural disaster was also felt in the nuclear industry when the emergency back-up generators at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station were disabled by the unprecedented 24-foot tsunami.
Since the tragedy, the nuclear industry – at home and around the world – has been working to share valuable lessons learned to continue to ensure safety standards and policies reflect current findings. In Canada, our industry moved quickly to provide Canadians with as many facts as possible about the event – and assure them of the safety of our nuclear facilities.
Soon after the disaster struck, Canada’s nuclear companies launched a thorough assessment of our own systems and operations to confirm their safety, including looking at back-up power systems and the ability of nuclear facilities to withstand natural disasters that might occur here.
Last October, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) released the Fukushima Task Force Report. It concludes that all Canadian nuclear power plants are safe with facilities designed to withstand conditions similar to those that triggered at Fukushima.
Globally, it’s important for the nuclear industry to share valuable lessons learned from the tragedy in Japan. As an industry, we acted swiftly to increase safety through a diverse and robust emergency response capability that can deal with unexpected events.
In particular, we examined natural disasters such as tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, and the emergencies these events create. Canada’s nuclear facilities are planning and implementing dozens of Fukushima-related projects between now and the end of 2016.
Nuclear is a clean, reliable source of baseload power and an important part of Canada’s energy portfolio. Opportunities ahead in the Canadian industry span the country and the globe, including, the Government of Saskatchewan’s investment in a $30 million Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation; refurbishment plans underway in Ontario; and the broadening of the Canada-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Energy Cooperation which will see hundreds of new jobs and billions in new investments for Canada.
As an industry, we are committed to working together as we continue to analyze and implement lessons learned from Fukushima. But today, on behalf of the 71,000 workers in Canada’s nuclear industry, we pause to remember those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami one year ago.”
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