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Exercise Synergy Challenge 2018


Exercise Synergy Challenge brought together over 1,000 people, including more than 100 CNSC staff members for a hands-on, two day immersive experience, simulating a nuclear emergency.

Emergency exercises, such as Synergy Challenge, test processes and procedures for the unlikely event of a real nuclear emergency.

We are working hard here at the CNSC to ensure that people and the environment are protected.

Nuclear safety and security is our number one priority.

Emergency response and recovery preparedness - Exercise Synergy Challenge 2018

In today’s world, emergencies can happen anywhere, any time and it’s important to be prepared to respond and have a plan of action just in case. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is focused on protecting people and the environment from the possibility of a nuclear emergency. Through enhanced safety requirements and rigorous training and regulatory requirements, all Canadian nuclear power plant operators must perform exercises and drills several times a year to be sure they’re prepared for any type of emergency.

What’s more, every three years, the CNSC requires these operators to host multi-jurisdictional, full-scale exercises. These mock scenarios test the operator, first responders, municipalities, as well as provincial, federal and even international government agencies’ interoperability, capacities and capabilities to respond to a nuclear emergency.

On October 3 and 4, 2018, the CNSC participated in New Brunswick Power’s Exercise Synergy Challenge. Led by New Brunswick Power and the government of New Brunswick, the exercise was the first of its kind to focus on both nuclear emergency response and recovery. This exercise spent a full day on recovery - which is the phase of an emergency when things return to normal. Recovery is the last stage of emergency management.

Synergy Challenge 2018 provided the opportunity to validate existing emergency plans and procedures, demonstrate improvements made in technological and communication capabilities, and implement nuclear response and recovery strategies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Approximately 1,000 people representing more than 35 agencies and organizations participated in this event.

The CNSC regularly participates in and evaluates exercises from nuclear power plants in Canada to validate nuclear operators’ emergency preparedness programs and identify improvements made to the programs. This benefits the nuclear power plant and the CNSC.

About 100 CNSC staff supported the simulated nuclear emergency response and recovery to understand the progression and possible radiation releases, determine if appropriate actions are taken by the operator. They also assessed possible offsite consequences and protective actions, and kept the public, government and international counterparts up to date on the situation.

To maintain and improve its emergency response capacity, the CNSC also regularly reviews its Nuclear Emergency Response Plan to incorporate lessons learned from previous exercises and drills.

Over the past few exercises, the CNSC has improved its response and monitoring capacities and capabilities by expanding its onsite emergency operations centre and  creating an emergency website, to better communicate with the public and media. With the acquisition of new software called WebEOC, the emergency operations centre has also improved its ability to share information promptly and to ensure aligned, consistent information.

To learn more about nuclear emergency preparedness and response, visit the CNSC’s emergency management and nuclear safety Web page.

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