As the COVID-19 pandemic rolled across the country early this spring, shutting down airlines, retailers and legislatures, Canada’s nuclear industry rapidly put in place business contingency plans developed nearly 20 years ago after the SARS epidemic. And, by all accounts, they worked.
Indeed, key industry players had long ago socked away tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) and developed “what-if” disaster plans that helped the country’s nuclear power plants, uranium mines, research reactors, and nuclear waste disposal sites roll with the pandemic punch.
And yet, as the pandemic shut down one industry after another this spring, senior staff at the country’s nuclear industry regulator worried that their ability and the ability of those they regulate to guarantee the safety of Canadians might have been put at risk.
“The health and safety of Canadians may appear to be compromised if [CNSC] operations do not take place as expected by Canadians,” said an 11-page memo prepared on April 14 titled “Identification of COVID-19 Related Risks.”
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