Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Ontario must be prepared for nuclear accidents

In the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, more than 1,000 deaths were caused by maintaining an evacuation beyond a precautionary few days, which led to transfer trauma, fatigue and delays in obtaining medical support.

In Ontario, nuclear plants are so close to large populations that a similar mandatory evacuation would affect 1.3 million people just around the Pickering plant alone. RNs and NPs play a central role in any emergency response, and RNAO (in collaboration with its Ontario Nurses for the Environment Interest Group) urged a precautionary approach in its submission and presentation in May on the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan. The submission called for:

  • planning for a Fukushima-scale accident
  • full health support for all displaced populations
  • ongoing emergency training for key health-care providers
  • ensuring all policies, procedures and documentation are in place, in the event of a significant nuclear event
  • identification of vulnerable groups within 30 km of nuclear plants
  • ensuring alternative drinking water sources in the event of contamination of the Great Lakes
  • requiring that emergency measures meet or exceed international best practices

To show your support for our recommendations, please consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. RNAO tips on media strategies and letters to the editor may be found here.

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