TORONTO, July 9, 2012 /CNW/ - His Excellency, the Rt. Hon. David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, has awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Dr Fergal Nolan, President of the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.
The award recognizes Dr Nolan's exceptional contribution to protecting Canadians from excessive exposure to radiation in workplaces and communities across Canada. The award will be presented today at the Ontario Legislature by the Hon. David Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals were established to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne. They are awarded to recognize and celebrate significant achievements and extraordinary contributions Canadians have made for the benefit of their fellow citizens and their country.
Founded in 1980, the independent, not-for-profit Radiation Safety Institute of Canada was created in response to a major radiation disaster in the uranium mining community of Elliot Lake, Ontario . That disaster caused the deaths from lung cancer of more than 220 healthy uranium miners from excessive exposure to radiation in the mines.
Dr Fergal Nolan was a member of the Institute's founding Board of Governors. Later, he was appointed its first President and Chief Executive Officer. As such, he developed the Institute from its origins in Elliot Lake into a national organization for radiation safety, known for its independence, strict impartiality and "good science in plain language"© .
The Institute's unique status has been recognized internationally. According to officials of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Canada's Radiation Safety Institute is the only organization of its kind in any country that is independent of government, industry and labour.
With the support of a distinguished and volunteer Board of Governors, Dr Nolan has led the Radiation Safety Institute in resolving major public and workplace radiation controversies and in "good science in plain language" © responses to requests for assistance from individuals, communities, industries, labour unions and governments across Canada.
Under Dr Nolan's leadership, the Institute's unique National Laboratories were established at Innovation Place in Saskatoon to provide a specialized technical service to assist in monitoring the radiation exposure of workers in the mining industry. The service, federally licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, is the only one of its kind in Canada and the United States. Recently, in response to increasing demand, the National Laboratories have been expanded to twice their original size and with greatly increased capacity.
Dr Nolan also led the Institute's long and successful campaign advocating major changes in federal and provincial regulations to ensure greater protection for uranium mine workers from radiation exposure in the mines; and, for the first time in Canada, for extensive radiation safety measures to be incorporated at the outset into the design of new uranium mines in Saskatchewan and elsewhere.
In a second strategic initiative for the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada, Fergal Nolan's leadership saw the establishment of the Institute's National Education Centre in Toronto to provide independent, impartial and scientifically sound information on radiation issues to the public and the media.
In addition, for the more than 150,000 workers (90% outside the nuclear industry) who are exposed daily in Canada to radioactive materials and radiation emitting machines in workplaces everywhere, the National Education Centre provides a range of first-class education, training and awareness courses in radiation safety and a quick response service to questions and concerns from workers and employers.
These courses have earned high praise across Canada for their "good science in plain language"© approach and the quality of their teaching. Over 1200 Institute graduates now work as qualified Radiation Safety Officers in hospitals, university research centres, in many different industries and in government.
After 28 years as President and CEO and 31 years on the Board of Governors, Dr Fergal Nolan will be retiring in early September from the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada (see Chair's Announcement on www.RadiationSafety.ca). His successor will be announced shortly by the Institute's Board of Governors.
The award of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a timely and welcome recognition of his extraordinary service to Canadians in the interests of radiation safety.
For further information:
George Polak, Manager, Marketing & Communications, 416-650-9090 x 28, gpolak@RadiationSafety.ca