News Release

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories successfully completes major evacuation exercise

Chalk River, 2015 May 21 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is pleased to announce that it successfully conducted a real-time emergency response exercise at its Chalk River site in partnership with local emergency response groups. Held on Wednesday, May 20, the exercise simulated an onsite emergency which required an evacuation from the Chalk River site.  

This evacuation exercise is conducted to meet a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulatory commitment and is undertaken once every five years. The exercise also supplements a comprehensive annual program of smaller-scale exercises, and provides CNL staff the opportunity to practice emergency response procedures.  The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission oversees and evaluates these exercises on a regular basis.

Importantly, this exercise provided an opportunity for CNL emergency teams to work side-by-side with a number of community organizations, including the Laurentian Hills – Deep River Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Committee, Garrison Petawawa, the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, the Renfrew County Dispatch Service, the Laurentian Hills and Town of Deep River Fire Departments, the Town of Deep River Police Service, the Pembroke Regional Hospital, and Deep River & District Hospital. 

“Exercises like these allow us to assess operational readiness and integration with other emergency response teams from CNL and mutual aid partners within the community,” explained Adrian Bilton, Exercise Coordinator at CNL. “Large scale events like this create the opportunity for CRL staff and local emergency response organizations to work together while practicing their response skills and procedures under a unified command structure.”

Exercises and assessments are routinely undertaken to ensure that emergency response capabilities are maintained at a high state of readiness. In addition to the onsite security and fire teams, Chalk River Laboratories’  Emergency Operations Centre, Environmental Assessment Centre and Site Assessment Centre at CRL are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

“Making our exercises as realistic as possible means involving staff from a large group of CNL departments,” added  Bilton. “In addition to staff directly involved in the training event, over 2,500 employees participated in the site evacuation exercise.”

One of the most important factors in any exercise such as this will be the follow-up. A detailed assessment of the exercise has already begun, and will help to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, ultimately enabling us to improve our emergency response capabilities.

Special thanks to all of CNL and the local organizations who participated and supported the exercise. The exercise was a tremendous success and valuable learning experience for everyone involved.

At CNL, safety is our first priority and the testing of our site emergency procedures is an important component of our operational practices.

About CNL

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries.  Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally. 

With ongoing investments in new facilities and a focused mandate, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is well positioned for the future.  A new performance standard reinforced with a strong safety culture underscores every activity.

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For more information, please contact:

Patrick Quinn
Director, Corporate Communications
CNL, 1-866-886-2325