Nuclear Emergency Response Program for the Visits of Nuclear Powered and Capable Vessels

March 2015

Project Summary

ISR was contracted by the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) to develop a technical planning basis and nuclear emergency response program for Canada in support of the visits of American, British, and French nuclear-powered vessels (NPVs) and nuclear-capable vessels (NCVs) that are currently authorized to visit three Canadian ports. ISR was tasked with developing, and on an ongoing basis updating, the technical safety documentation that contains the technical planning basis and recommended precautionary measures for public and environmental protection for these goodwill visits. Planning distances were developed and refined for the implementation of protective actions (i.e., evacuation, sheltering, and stable iodine prophylaxis) in the event of a nuclear accident involving a radiological release. This was followed by the development of plans, procedures and a training and exercise program for the response teams stood up for these visits.

ISR conducted a capability and gap analysis to first establish the current state of each of the above listed nuclear naval fleets. Design and safety features on board nine (9) classes of submarines and three (3) classes of aircraft carriers were then reviewed against similar technology employed in land-based reactor systems. As many of the technical specifications of these vessels are classified, reactor power outputs were derived from purported cruising speed, hull displacement, and electrical and steam demands and open literature. Based on the estimated reactor powers and known vessel operating cycles, the ORIGEN2.1 code was used to determine the fission product inventory within each reactor core. This information was then used as an input to COSYMA to calculate the possible doses and health effects to the public for a number of postulated accident scenarios.

Using these results and guidance from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), risk- and probability-based planning zones were defined for the implementation of protective actions. Protective actions include evacuation, sheltering, and the administration of stable iodine tablets in response to a radiological release.

ISR has supported DND/CAF with this program for over 18 years for all aspects of the program.

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