Post-Fukushima Improvements to Nuclear Power Plants - HTML5 Transcript/Captions

A common question that we get from the public is: What's been done in Canada since Fukushima to improve the safety of our nuclear power plants? At the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, we have been very active since the accident in Japan. We immediately did a review of all major nuclear facilities. Our review confirmed that nuclear power plants operating in Canada are safe. The most important lesson learned from Fukushima is: expect the unexpected. With this in mind, we put an action plan together so that nuclear plant operators are ready to face any type of situation. When the 15-metre tsunami flooded the plants at Fukushima, all power sources were lost. Power is essential to cooling a nuclear reactor. Even after a reactor has been shut down, power is still needed for cooling. In the short term, portable emergency equipment was acquired by Canadian nuclear power plants. So equipment like diesel generators and pumps are stored onsite and offsite, and can be used to quickly and safely cool the reactor, effectively stopping the accident. Another lesson learned is that monitoring and controlling hydrogen buildup, during an accident, is essential. Because of chemical reactions, hydrogen is created in great quantity during a severe nuclear accident. Hydrogen is the gas that caused the explosions that you may remember we all saw on TV. So special devices are being installed to prevent hydrogen buildup at Canadian plants. These devices work without power. Another thing that caused concern at Fukushima was the spent fuel pools, which must remain full of water, at all times. So additional pipes and hoses have been added, as well as portable pumps, so that water can be added easily, no matter what happens, to keep the fuel submerged. Something else that will be added progressively to Canadian plants are air filtration systems for severe accidents. These systems work without power and are able greatly reduce the releases of radioactivity into the environment in case of a severe accident. The Point Lepreau Generating Station, in New Brunswick, has already been equipped with a system like this. We've also asked plant operators to conduct additional studies, using the latest tools, to analyze how Canadian reactors would handle an event like Fukushima. The results of these studies will help us to identify ways to further improve the safety of our plants. Now these are just a few of the actions taken so far. At the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, we continue to learn from the events at Fukushima. And we are committed to ensuring all reasonable precautions are taken to protect people and the environment.

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