Canadian environment commissioner slams mismanaged nuclear power plant safety inspections

October 5, 2016 10:49 am 

OTTAWA, Oct. 5 — A number of failings were found at Canada's nuclear regulator responsible for ensuring the country's nuclear plants are safe and secure, Canada's Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Julie Gelfand said on Tuesday.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) "must be able to show that it carries out the appropriate number and types of site inspections and that it follows its own procedures when doing so," Gelfand wrote in her 2016 report, which was tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

The report pointed out that the CNSC could not show that it had adequately managed its site inspections of nuclear power plants.

"The CNSC could not demonstrate that its inspection plans included appropriate number and types of inspections, and that it had the staff needed to verify that nuclear power plants were complying with all applicable requirements, or that site inspections were carried out according to CNSC's procedures," said the report.

The report stressed that the CNSC could not provide an adequate explanation for why some nuclear facilities were inspected while others were not.

It also criticized the agency's record keeping, saying planning records "contained inaccuracies and were incomplete."

The report also raises questions about staffing and whether the CNSC has enough inspectors to carry out its mandate.

"While senior management told us that they believed there were enough inspectors and that more were reassigned as issues arose, we were told by site inspectors and site supervisors at every nuclear power plant that there were either not enough inspectors at their sites or not enough at the levels needed," the report added.

The CNSC monitors Canada's five nuclear power plants in three provinces which house 22 nuclear power reactors and produce about 15 percent of the country's electricity.

The commission has agreed to the recommendations in Tuesday's report. It said in a statement on Tuesday it has taken action to raise awareness and ensure observance of site inspection procedures by site inspectors. (PNA/Xinhua)

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