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OPG's nuclear emergency preparedness

Sana Ahmed, staff writer

April 7, 2011 — Darlington's nuclear power plant is ready to cope during an emergency.

Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear reactor
Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear reactor

When Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant underwent severe damage in the post-tsunami days, it tested human capability on how to withstand such an immense disaster.

One can never be too prepared when it comes to dealing with nuclear energy and natural disasters.

Here at home, Ontario Power Generation's Brian Duncan paints a reassuring picture in case Canadians ever confront a disaster situation like the one in Japan.

When the nuclear facility in Darlington was constructed, part of its planning included protection from floods and tornadoes. Engineers also ensured the building's structure would remain safe for up to five hundred years to come.

If there is a severe weather emergency like an ice storm, the facility has the ability to shut the reactor down. However, standby generators are around that ensure the plant is in a safe state.

“These are very well-designed plants. They are very robust. We have very well trained people. We practice for events. We practice responding to events. We believe these are very safe facilities,” says Duncan.

An impressive feature about these plants is that they have the ability to fully shut down power in approximately two seconds.

Duncan says Japan's post-tsunami situation provides excellent examples of how to react in an emergency. The first tendency is to usually focus on the immediate troubled spot. But, Duncan stresses that it's important to look outward at the community-at-large and examine the repercussions felt by them.

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