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Nuclear emergency exercise simulates plane crash into Bruce reactor

It’s all hands on deck at Bruce Power this week, as Ontario’s largest nuclear plant simulates a nuclear catastrophe.

“It’s a challenging scenario. A plane crashes into the Bruce B station. That leads to loss of life, the main steam line is broken, missing people, environmental issues, a spill into the lake. It’s an extremely challenging scenario,” explains Bruce Power’s Director of Community and Media Relations, John Peevers.

“Huron Endeavour” is Bruce Power’s fourth mock nuclear disaster exercise since 2012.

Under this scenario, over 40 people are dead, and many more are unaccounted for, after a plane plows into the Bruce B Nuclear Generating Station. Crews are working to try and contain any radiation leaks, all the while trying to get the station up and running again, as quickly as possible, in order to provide power to the rest of Ontario.

“It’s a worst case scenario, something we never actually foresee happening, but we also want to make sure we are challenging ourselves,” says Peevers.

Any emergency at Bruce Power is an emergency for surrounding communities, and the province. Kincardine, Ont. is the largest community close to Bruce Power, and are amongst the 1,000 emergency officials across Ontario taking part in the mock disaster training.

Inside the Bruce Power Emergency Response Centre near Tiverton, Ont. on Oct. 5, 2022 during a mock emergency drill. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“Whether it’s KI [potassium iodide] pills to sheltering in place, there’s so many layers to this exercise. It’s like an onion. We keep peeling back the layers to exploit different hot spots to ensure we can maximize our robustness, in terms of our state of readiness,” says Kincardine Mayor, Gerry Glover.

Peevers says the tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan acted as a wake up call to the industry, that worst case scenarios can happen, and need to trained for.

“A tsunami isn’t going to happen in Lake Huron. Could it be a severe winter storm that cuts us off from the outside world? A tornado, or natural disaster? We continue to look at these different scenarios to make sure we’re ready,” adds Peevers.

Lessons learned from previous emergency exercises and Fukushima has prompted Bruce Power to move their emergency vehicles to different locations around their sprawling facility, instead of storing them in one central location, in case that one location is destroyed or damaged.

“I can assure the community and broader audience, that if there was a nuclear disaster, worst case scenario, we are prepared, we are ready, and we have everyone mobilized who needs to be,” says Glover.

Peevers says Bruce Power conducts over 100 safety drills each year, and emergency exercises on the scale of “Huron Endeavour” every three years. Top Stories

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