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Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Working Group

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Working Group (PDF 52 kb)

Interested parties should address their written comments to CNSC consultation at

Draft Terms of reference

December 2018


The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a public hearing from June 25–29, 2018 to consider the licence renewal application from Ontario Power Generation for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. A number of intervenors raised concerns about the distribution of potassium iodide (KI) pills in the event of an emergency, and more specifically, how the vulnerable population (children under 18, pregnant women and breastfeeding women) would obtain these pills.

At the hearing, CNSC staff made a commitment to the Commission to form a working group to provide clarity on the existing plans and associated responsible authorities to distribute KI pills (in the Ingestion Planning Zone, within a 50-km radius) in the event of an emergency at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Responsibilities and guidance for planning, preparedness and response regarding iodine thyroid blocking are detailed in the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (Master Plan and Implementing Plans).

This document details the terms of reference for this working group.

1.0 Mandate

1.1 The mandate of the CNSC Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Working Group (the Working Group) is to provide clarity on the existing plans and associated responsible authorities for distributing KI pills in the Ingestion Planning Zone in the event of an emergency at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The Working Group will work cooperatively and proactively to fulfill its mandate in a timely manner.

1.2 To fulfill its mandate, the Working Group will focus on: the current provincial and federal requirements for the distribution of KI pills; considerations and education concerning KI pill emergency distribution in the Ingestion Planning Zone; the means of KI pill distribution in relation to other factors associated with a nuclear emergency response; and, the availability and scope of public emergency preparedness information.

2.0 Membership

2.1 The Working Group is composed of representatives from the CNSC, the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM), the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and each organization is a signatory to these terms of reference. The CNSC representatives are from the Directorate of Power Reactor Regulation and the Directorate of Security and Safeguards. The OFMEM, MOHLTC and OPG may select up to two permanent representatives each for the Working Group.

2.2 The Municipality of Durham and the City of Toronto may also select one permanent representative each for the Working Group.

2.3 The OFMEM and MOHLTC will engage with other municipalities and public health units that fall within the Ingestion Planning Zone, with the support of the CNSC and OPG, as needed.

2.4 The chairperson is selected from among the CNSC representatives by CNSC senior management. The chairperson’s role is to prepare the agenda for Working Group meetings, chair the Working Group meetings, and take responsibility for all organizational and communication issues. The chairperson can delegate their duties to the other CNSC representative at any time.

2.5 Three co-chairs are selected, one each from the OFMEM, MOHLTC and OPG, to serve as the primary contact for organizational issues and communication purposes. Co-chairs can delegate their duties to the other OFMEM, MOHLTC or OPG representatives at any time.

2.6 The chairperson and co-chairs are responsible for inviting any person(s) to participate in or observe meetings of the Working Group.

2.7 A representative of the CNSC serves as secretary for the Working Group. The secretary is responsible for the recording and distribution of meeting minutes, the distribution of all documents related to Working Group meetings, and any communications required in support of the Working Group.

2.8 Each member is responsible for meeting the timelines and objectives agreed to by the Working Group. All members are accountable for their area of responsibility. Members have the authority to negotiate and enlist the help of other staff, as needed. Because good communication is fundamental for success, members must inform the chairperson and co- chairs that a commitment cannot be met as soon as they know or suspect this to be so, and they must negotiate an alternate date or make alternate arrangements. Members are responsible for bringing any risk issues to the attention of the chairperson and co-chairs in a timely manner.

3.0 Meetings

3.1 The Working Group will meet a minimum of once every six weeks. Additional meetings can be held with the consensus of the Working Group. The preferred method for Working Group meetings is face to face, but video and teleconferencing are also options.

3.2 Barring unforeseen circumstances, Working Group members who are unable to attend must notify the chairperson or the co-chair of their absence at least three working days before the meeting. Members have the option to participate by video or teleconferencing.

3.3 The chairperson is responsible for determining the time and place of the meetings. All members of the Working Group assume responsibility for their personal costs to attend.

3.4 The CNSC is responsible for the costs associated with the meeting, such as room rental and any associated hospitality. The Working Group members assume responsibility for the cost of their lunches or dinners.

3.5 The objective is to send the agenda to the Working Group members one week before a meeting. Any documents required will be distributed at least three days before the meeting. The secretary of the Working Group will distribute a draft copy of the minutes no later than two weeks after each meeting. Members will have 10 working days to provide comments to the secretary so that the minutes can be prepared for approval at the next meeting.

4.0 Deliverables

4.1 The Working Group is responsible for the following deliverables cooperatively:

  • Develop draft terms of reference
  • Finalize the terms of reference and distribute them to the responsible authorities of the CNSC, OFMEM, MOHLTC and OPG identified in section 6 for signature
  • Prepare a report on the initial findings of the Working Group
  • Finalize the report on the findings of the Working Group to be provided to the Commission

4.2 CNSC staff are responsible for the following deliverables:

  • Post the draft terms of reference on the CNSC website for a 30-day public comment period
  • Post the draft report on the initial findings on the CNSC website for a 30-day public comment period
  • Produce and present the appropriate Commission member document(s) in support of the Commission’s public meeting on this project. Meeting materials will be made publicly available in accordance with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Rules of Procedure.

4.3 CNSC staff will establish a special committee for the purpose of advising CNSC staff. Composition of the committee will be established by the CNSC.

4.4 The Working Group will develop a project plan, outlining the deliverables and anticipated timelines.

4.5 CNSC staff will provide progress updates on the completion of all deliverables identified in point 4.1 and 4.2 to the Commission through the status report on power reactors.

4.6 The Working Group will provide progress updates on all deliverables identified in point 4.1 and 4.2 to the Nuclear Emergency Management Coordinating Committee.

5.0 Review of the terms of reference

5.1 The terms of reference are not intended to limit the effectiveness of the team; rather, they are meant to provide direction on team organization and work processes. This document can be reviewed and amended as needed with the agreement of all Working Group members. All amendments must be approved by the signatories to these terms of reference.

6.0 Management oversight

6.1 CNSC senior management will provide high-level strategic direction on systemic opportunities for improvement relating to the Working Group terms of reference, roles and responsibilities, and critical issues.

6.2 The Working Group members are responsible for disseminating any information from their respective senior management to the Working Group and ensuring any issues brought to the Working Group are raised with their senior management.

6.3 The senior management of all signatory parties may also engage directly, as needed.

7.0 Management approval

I concur with these terms of reference and support the Working Group members and associated responsibilities.

Once these terms of reference have been signed, the Working Group will be enacted.

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario Power Generation

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