Terms of Reference of the External Advisory Committee on Pressure Tubes

Established: July 30, 2021

1. Background

On July 11, 2021, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Commission) members were informed by CNSC staff that Bruce Power reported measurements obtained from one Unit 6 pressure tube, selected for examination as part of an industry-supported surveillance program, showed Hydrogen Equivalent Concentration ([Heq]) above the generic predictions and exceeding the Licence Condition 15.3 [Heq] limit of 120 parts per million (ppm – by weight). The Commission was further informed that measurements obtained from one Unit 3 pressure tube selected as part of an outage pressure tube inspection campaign showed [Heq] above the generic predictions and above the Licence Condition 15.3 [Heq] limit of 120 ppm.

Due to the highly technical and scientific nature regarding nuclear reactor pressure tubes and the impact of hydrogen on the structure and robustness of pressure tubes, this External Advisory Committee (EAC) is established pursuant to subsection 17(1) and paragraph 21(1)(c) of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to provide technical and scientific expertise to the Commission in its regulatory decision-making regarding pressure tube fitness for service This is to complement the expertise of Commission members and CNSC staff specialists, and to provide an external perspective for the benefit of Commission members in their role as decision-makers.

The EAC is not a decision making body. It is expected to contribute to the technical soundness of decisions that will be made by the Commission. The Commission may adopt, modify or reject advice and recommendations from the EAC as it sees fit, according to broader considerations that will form the basis for Commission decisions.

2. Mandate

To provide objective and impartial expert advice to the Commission concerning matters related to pressure tubes generally, and specifically to address issues related to [Heq] exceedances and the predictive modelling used to assess [Heq] levels.

3. Principles

The Commission recognizes that EAC members have had or may have affiliations or interests with various nuclear industry actors. Principles of impartiality, fairness, timeliness, responsiveness and transparency shall guide the activities of the EAC.

4. Activities

The EAC will:

  1. Participate in Commission proceedings to provide expertise.
  2. Provide technical and scientific advice to the Commission following the review of documentation filed by participants and CNSC staff.
  3. Make recommendations and provide opinions to the Commission to assist in the Commission’s consideration of submissions filed and evidence received for Commission proceedings.
  4. Provide responses to queries from Commission members.
  5. Advise the Commission on relevant information that may further the knowledge of Commission in an area under review.
  6. Advise on or recommend areas of research or further assessments that would assist the Commission in its decision-making in relation to pressure tube and [Heq] issues.
  7. Conduct focused reviews in specific areas of importance to the Commission pertaining to pressure tubes, including on modelling and predictive tools, as requested by the Commission.

5. EAC Membership

  1. The EAC will be composed of a minimum of 3 members and a maximum of 5 members, including a Chair. Secretariat and analytical support to the EAC will be provided by the CNSC Secretariat who may assist during EAC activities and act as resource and liaison.
  2. The initial members have been selected by the President. Additional or temporary members may be selected by the President, upon consultation between the President and EAC Chair.
  3. Members may be from universities, science-based government departments, private consultancy firms and other institutions (e.g., international regulators, standards-setting groups).
  4. A majority of members shall be based in Canada and have experience with CANDU technology. Foreign members must bring relevant skills and expertise, if not familiar with CANDU technology.
  5. Members shall serve as individuals by virtue of their expertise, experience and knowledge of related issues in their respective fields. Members should keep appropriate documentation system for traceability and transparency of processes.
  6. For the purpose of subsection 5.a above, administrative support to be provided by Secretariat includes: manage the EAC file databases, co-ordinate reviews, facilitate meetings, take meeting minutes, and develop tools to support the EAC function.
  7. If the EAC determines that it needs to obtain advice from a third party where it would require the disbursement of moneys, the EAC Chair shall direct the request to the Commission Secretary for authorization.
  8. Members must not have worked as an employee of the CNSC, Bruce Power, OPG or NB Power for at least 1 year prior to serving on the EAC. It is understood that members may have done or may be currently doing work for the CNSC, Bruce Power, OPG or NB Power, in their capacity as experts and specialists.

6. Term for EAC Members

  1. The term of membership for an EAC member will be 2 years with the option to extend.
  2. Subject to consultation and agreement with the Commission, the membership composition may be modified to permit broad inclusiveness of viewpoints and to reflect various fields of expertise as required, with due consideration to preserve the continuity of the EAC.
  3. Membership may be terminated at any time by the Commission or upon written notification to the Commission Secretary.
  4. Members must declare any real or perceived conflict of interest they may have related to their role in the EAC activities, both before commencing their service with the EAC and during the term of that service. A member’s term may be terminated for a real or perceived conflict of interest, or for not fulfilling responsibilities and meeting objectives. The review and determination of real or perceived conflict of interest will be conducted by the President of the Commission.
  5. If an EAC member is unable to participate on a regular basis, their membership will be reviewed by the Chair in consultation with the President to determine if further action is required.
  6. The Chair will be designated by the President of the Commission.

7. Meetings and activities

  1. Activities may be requested or meetings may be called by the Chair or the President of the Commission. It is understood that time is of the essence, and that the EAC will be called upon from time to time, at the request of the Commission. Meetings may be held as required (including in person, via teleconference or virtually).
  2. Members are expected to attend all meetings and participate in activities where their advice is solicited.
  3. A member of the EAC who did not participate in a portion of a meeting because of affiliations and interests may not receive the section of the document pertaining to those affiliations and interests until that document becomes public.

8. Transparency

  1. In the spirit of transparency, interaction between the EAC and the Commission will be publicly reported, except where circumstances require confidentiality.
  2. The EAC will provide an Annual Report on progress achieved or work performed to the Commission. A summary of the EAC’s discussions and activities shall be included in the Annual Report.
  3. Chair responsibilities include the timely delivery of advice to the Commission by CEA members and the submission of the Annual Report to the Commission. Secretarial support shall be provided by the Commission Secretariat.
  4. The Secretariat will prepare on behalf of the EAC members a non-attributable record that includes the recommendations and advice resulting from each EAC activity or meeting. If parts or all of this record are confidential, the document will indicate this. The nature of the reporting may be in the form of notifications, reports, transcripts, summaries, records of decision, minutes or other means, as appropriate. Members will have an opportunity to review the record prepared by the Secretariat prior to its dissemination.
  5. If EAC members cannot come to a consensus, then the record must clearly state that there is a diversity of opinion with respect to the recommendations or advice.
  6. The EAC may provide recommendations or advice only in response to questions posed by or as directed by the Commission or President and within the scope of its mandate. Information that the Commission receives beyond the scope of the EAC mandate will be retained and used at the discretion of the Commission for future purposes.

9. Expenses and Reimbursement

The Commission Secretariat is responsible for the coordination, management and administration of the EAC and therefore will be responsible for reimbursement of EAC member’s eligible expenses and remuneration related to the EAC activities.

10. Conflict of Interest

EAC members must declare any conflict of interest on issues discussed. Representatives must be free of any real or perceived conflict of interest.

11. Confidentiality and non-disclosure

  1. Queries from or contacts with the media or any other external parties regarding the work or proceedings of the EAC must be referred to the Commission Secretariat. Members of the EAC shall not have communications with the media, unless authorized by the Commission Secretary.
  2. If required, communication between the EAC and CNSC staff or Commission members should be made through the Commission Secretariat.
  3. All members must sign a confidentiality agreement. A copy of the signed agreement must be provided to the Commission Secretariat. The template agreement is attached as Annex 1 to these Terms of Reference.

12. Amendments to the EAC Mandate and Terms of Reference

  1. The mandate and role of the EAC shall be reviewed by the Chair and the Commission every year. Thereafter, upon agreement by the Commission, the EAC may cease to be active (i.e. may be dissolved), or the membership may evolve (e.g., include other areas of expertise).

13. Signature of EAC Members

  1. All EAC Members shall sign to indicate their agreement to the EAC Terms of Reference.
  2. Signatures will be obtained as membership composition is changed or updated. The EAC Chair shall maintain an updated list with signatures and copies shall be provided to the Commission Secretariat.
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