Internal memos show Canadian officials have been quietly preparing for the fallout from an atmospheric nuclear-weapons test by North Korea, including the spread of radioactive debris across the Pacific and the major public concerns that would arise.
In the event of a test, Health Canada’s radiation-protection bureau would monitor contamination, while various federal agencies would manage any dangers and ensure the public is kept informed.
Scenarios mapped out by the bureau suggest radiation levels would depend on the size and height of a detonation and weather patterns over the Pacific Ocean.
A presentation prepared for Health Canada’s deputy minister says experience in fallout monitoring indicates that contamination would be well below levels of public health concern.
But “significant public and political concern” are anticipated, and officials expect to be juggling everything from testing the safety of the food supply to evaluating the hazards to travellers and Canadians living abroad.
The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the briefing materials.