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Results and Lessons Learned from Radiological/Nuclear Emergency Response Exercise Held in Québec, Canada

Lortie, Dominic*; Johnson, Sonia†‡; St-Amant, Nadereh†§; Larivière, Dominic†**; Tremblay, Germain; Richoz, Danielle*; Romiguière, Christophe*; Frenette, Etienne††; Brown, Jason‡‡

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3182499477

The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks of Québec (Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs du Québec—MDDEP) held a 3-d provincial nuclear emergency response exercise in September 2008 that saw participation from Canadian provincial and federal departments. Nuclear emergency exercises are regularly held in Québec, given the presence of the Gentilly-2 nuclear power plant situated in Bécancour on the St. Lawrence River. The significance of this exercise is that it marks the first exercise held in Canada where environmental samples spiked with relevant radioisotopes were analyzed during the exercise, both on-site and remotely, and where the results of those analyses had a direct impact on the decisions made during the exercise.

Following the exercise, samples were sent to two other laboratories that are part of the Canadian National Nuclear Laboratory Network for analysis, providing the first intercomparison exercise for the Network. The results of the analysis of the air and drinking water samples, as well as the lessons learned during the exercise, are presented and discussed in this article.

The performances of field and laboratories analyses during an emergency exercise held in Québec, Canada, were evaluated using spiked environmental samples.

* Centre d’Expertise en Analyse Environnementale du Québec, Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs du Québec, 850, boul. Vanier, Laval, QC, Canada, H7C 2M7; † RadiationProtection Bureau, Health Canada, 775 Brookfield Rd, Ottawa ON, Canada, K1A 1C1; ‡ Current address: Hazard Identification Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada, 50 Colombine Driveway, Ottawa ON, K1A 0K9; § Current address: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, PO Box 1046, Station B, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1P 5S9; ** Current address: Laboratoire de radioécologie, Département de chimie, Université Laval, 1045 Avenue de la Médecine, Québec, QC, Canada, G1V 0A6; †† Environmental Health Program, Health Canada—Québec Region, 1001 St-Laurent W, Longueuil, QC, Canada, J4K 1C7; ‡‡ Radiological Analysis and Defence, Defence Research and Development Canada, 3701 Carling Avenue, Ottawa ON, Canada, K1A 0Z4.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

©2012Health Physics Society