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Meeting Minutes: CNSC Advisory Committee Workshop


  1. Opening remarks/ Roundtable Introductions
  2. Discussion on Draft Phase I Report
  3. Closing Remarks


November 19, 2021


10:30 AM – 12:30 PM


2 hours

1. Opening Remarks / Roundtable Introductions

K. Heppell-Masys, Director General (DG) for the Directorate of Security and Safeguards (DSS) welcomed participants to the CNSC Advisory Committee Workshop for the Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Working Group.

Roundtable introductions of all members was conducted.

K. Heppell-Masys explained to the members that the intent of the workshop is to go through the draft Phase I Report and discuss any comments, questions or feedback that the members have on the document. Comments received from the 90-day public review period were also presented to the members for feedback.

L. Casterton provided background information on the work done by the KI Pill Working Group between 2020 and 2021, and reiterated the role of the Advisory Committee.

Action 1:

L. Casterton to share the Advisory Committee’s Operating Procedures.

L. Casterton highlighted the following timelines and milestones of the KI Pill Working Group:

  • All comments received during the public review period and during the Advisory Committee Workshop will be included in the Commission Member Document (CMD) submission.
  • The Draft Phase I report will be presented to the Commission during the January 26 – 27, 2022 Commission proceeding.
  • Following the Commission Proceeding, the KI Pill Working Group will commence Phase II as described in the Terms of Reference.
  • Phase II is targeted to be complete by early 2023.

2. Discussion on Draft Phase I Report

A. Bellingham and L. Casterton presented the comments received during the public review period on the Draft Phase I Report.

The Draft Phase I Report and the comments received during the public review period can be found on the CNSC’s e-consultation page.

Advisory Committee members were asked to provide comments and feedback on the Draft Phase I Report. The following comments were received:

  Section Member Comment/Discussion
1. General D. Novog Commended the efforts by the Working Group on the Phase I report, and appreciated the concept of operations presented in Section 4. The Working Group offered a valuable opportunity for Public Health Units (PHUs) and Emergency Management Coordinators (EMCs) to provide input into the concept of operations.
2. General T. McClenaghan The report adds value by having all the information in one place. Understanding that the working group activities have two phases, is there an opportunity during or after Phase II to revisit the Phase I report and update as required, i.e. is this report an evergreen document?
CNSC: Once Phase I is complete the Working Group will not revise or update the Phase I report itself, however since Phase II is an extension of Phase I, there will be opportunities in Phase II to capture those items as required.
3. Section 1 T. McClenaghan The Phase I report describes the current plans in place, but what about the do-ability/adequacy/effectiveness of the distribution of KI in the event of an accident/emergency and the appropriateness of planning zones; will Phase II address address this?
CNSC: Phase II will look at the feasibility of these plans. In addition, other ways that this could be addressed include the IAEA EPREV follow-up mission (anticipated to take place in 2023), as well CNSC’s engagement with OFMEM on the revision of the PNERP.
4. Section 1 D. Novog For emergency distribution, the municipalities will be actioned to support the emergency distribution of KI pills, can this report elaborate on what needs to be done at the municipal level to ensure they have the appropriate capabilities/resources?
S. Watson: Agreed. At the municipal level, ensuring sufficient resources and staffing to carry out these actions needs to be discussed. This is something that Kincardine and other municipalities are looking at as the Bruce County area builds up.
CNSC: During the KI Pill Working Group workshop when discussing emergency distribution of KI pills, PHUs/EMCs referred to the strategies and response actions that took place during H1N1 in 2009. In present day, the response required by municipalities during the COVID-19 pandemic will provide additional information and insights to support the concept of operations for the emergency distribution of KI. This will be considered for Phase II.
5. Section 2 T. McClenaghan There is a need to ensure all information is available for anyone who requires it before an event happens. For example, we need to reinforce guidance and specific medical advice for those who can and cannot take KI pills, and how that differs for populations such as pregnant women or those with thyroid issues.
Timeliness to disseminate information and coordinate response actions is a reoccurring concern. For the COVID-19 and H1N1 response the timeframes are within days/weeks/months, however for a nuclear event the timeframes are within hours; there is going to be a lot of coordination required in a short amount of time. There is a need to address any coordination, cooperation, and public information matters in advance.
6. Section 3 T. McClenaghan See comment 4, same comment referring to the timeliness of public information/medical advice being prepared in advance of an event. Public communications relating to emergency preparedness has come a long way, but it is still complex. Should also consider impacts of misinformation.
7. Section 3 T. McClenaghan Figure 11, bullet 2 under Quick Facts: “In the highly unlikely event of a nuclear emergency, potassium iodide (KI) pills are key to keeping you safe”. Suggest reviewing this public information product to ensure KI pills are not presented as a “magic pill” during a nuclear event. Phase II should provide more information on the efficacy of the KI pills.
8. Section 4 D. Novog Section 4 indicates that the concept of operations was “confirmed” during the KI Pill Working Group Phase I Workshop, could it be elaborated on how this was confirmed? In addition, what was the tabletop scenario conducted during this workshop?
CNSC: The tabletop scenario did not refer to a specific on-site scenario at a nuclear power plant, it was focussed around an anticipated release occurring within a certain timeframe and the actions required by offsite response authorities. The meeting minutes from the Workshop are available through the KI Pill Working Group webpage.
Action 2: L. Casterton to share the meeting minutes from the KI Pill Working Group Workshop.
9. Section 4 T. McClenaghan Page 27, in terms of public alerting, the Working Group should consider the lessons learned from the Pickering false alert.
10. Section 4 T. McClenaghan Initial staging of KI pills was based on a Design Basis Accident (DBA) and can be expanded for a Beyond DBA (BDBA), but what about a Severe BDBA? Phase II will need to look at the timeliness of emergency distribution for a Severe BDBA, and if the timeliness cannot be achieved then pre-distribution needs to be considered. Impacts to each planning zone should be considered by applying a risk based approach to the level of detail needed.
11. Section 4 D. Novog Phase II should consider the impacts of a severe weather event on emergency response. Actions taken in response to a nuclear emergency may be part of a larger response to a severe weather event.
M. Burton: Provided an explanation that KI pills were pre-distributed to schools, towns, and villages within the IPZ for Bruce Nuclear Generating Site in case of extreme weather that is experienced in the area.
12. Section 4 B. Lemaich For the concept of operations, realistic expectations need to be considered. For example, during Fukushima the response was superimposed with a severe weather event. For Phase II, other factors need to be considered in the concept of operations when it comes to capabilities such as staffing, resources, support from neighbouring municipalities/ offsite authorities, etc. There can be all the plans in place, but if communities get overwhelmed or there is a lack of support, those plans can fall apart.

The Advisory Committee members did not propose any specific changes to the report, but the comments provided above will be brought to the Working Group for further considerations to be included in Phase II.

Members of the Advisory Committee present at the workshop concluded that the Phase I Report meets the mandate of Phase I.

3. Closing Remarks

CNSC emphasized the importance of public engagement for this working group process and thanked all the Advisory Committee members for their participation in providing comments on the draft Phase I Report.

L. Casterton reiterated the following anticipated milestones going forward:

  • January 2022 - Commission Proceeding to present the Phase I report and the comments received
  • Spring 2022 - Advisory Committee Meeting to discuss the commencement of Phase II and receive their input on the Phase II Workshop Agenda topics
  • Spring/Summer 2022 - Phase II Workshop with the KI Pill working Group
  • Early 2023 - Present the Phase II Report to the Commission

The following actions were identified for CNSC:

Action 1:

L. Casterton to share the Advisory Committee’s Operating Procedures.

Action 2:

L. Casterton to share the meeting minutes from the KI Pill Working Group Workshop.

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