Minister of Natural Resources Briefing Package: 2023
Table of contents
1 – CNSC priorities
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is looking for the Deputy Minister’s support on the following priorities
Impact assessment and regulatory streamlining
Meeting Canada’s climate change commitments – including net-zero by 2050 – will require timely development and deployment of safe projects, including nuclear projects, to support decarbonization. In line with the Government of Canada’s commitment in Budget 2023, the CNSC and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) are collaborating to find efficiencies in impact assessments and regulatory reviews for proposed nuclear projects, including through workshops with industry to identify priority areas of focus. The CNSC and the IAAC are committed to respecting project timelines; however, nuclear projects have regularly been delayed due to proponents not having the required information ready for regulators to review, or due to proponents not having built the necessary community acceptance. NRCan can play an important role in working with proponents to ensure that complete and timely information is submitted to support project reviews, and to earn trust and confidence – particularly of potentially impacted or interested Indigenous Nations and communities.
Understanding industry’s long-term plans and impacts on policies
As a safety-focused and agile regulator, the CNSC is committed to preventing harm while enabling the good that safe nuclear projects can bring, including to climate change priorities, energy security, environmental protection, health and wellness, and scientific research. The CNSC will never be a rubber stamp but needs to ensure that it is not an unnecessary barrier to innovation or progress, and it recognizes the need to be ready to review all proposed nuclear projects. The CNSC can only be as ready as the available information allows it to be, including for projects and activities being considered or proposed by the industry, and how governments may respond from a policy perspective. The CNSC’s ongoing readiness depends heavily on NRCan as Canada’s leader on federal nuclear policy, and on NRCan’s continued work with industry to clarify industry’s near-, mid- and long-term plans and any related policy considerations or responses.
International collaboration to drive deployment of standard small modular reactor designs globally
Small modular reactors (SMRs) need to be deployed safely, quickly, and consistently if they are to play a meaningful role, in scope or time, in helping meet climate change commitments and energy security priorities. To support the safe and broad global deployment of SMRs, the CNSC and other mature nuclear regulators recognize the importance of regulatory effectiveness and efficiency in the review and regulation of SMRs, while making best use of limited resources. The CNSC is supportive of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative and other international multilateral efforts on harmonization to support global deployment. The CNSC sees greater potential benefit and momentum in the near to mid-term from leading by example, particularly through bilateral cooperation between likeminded, mature and respected regulators; for example, the collaboration between the CNSC and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Collaboration through sharing information and conducting joint reviews on SMR technologies proposed in both countries is supporting greater efficiency through reduced duplication of effort while remaining focused on safety. However, with over 70 SMR designs under consideration or development around the world, regulators are at risk of being stretched too thinly to realize efficiencies. NRCan’s continued leadership is needed to encourage settling on a manageable number of designs to enable regulatory and supply chain responsiveness and excellence.
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan implementation
The CNSC is strongly committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, including by building meaningful relationships and strengthening the role of Indigenous Peoples in CNSC regulatory processes. The CNSC also supports the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP) and its associated Action Plan, which was released in June 2023 and is being implemented through Action Plan Measures (APMs). NRCan and the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) collaborated on APM 34, which calls for enhancing Indigenous Peoples’ participation in decision-making processes in the natural resource sector. APM 34 is focused on CER-regulated activities but directly encourages other federal departments, regulators, or institutions to take similar steps for federally regulated natural resource projects, including CNSC-regulated nuclear activities and projects. The CNSC’s nuclear safety mandate and the unique nature of the risks and international obligations inherent to the nuclear sector are distinct from other federally regulated natural resource sectors and require specific regulatory considerations. It is imperative that the CNSC be at the table with NRCan and other government partners on implementing action plan measures that could impact the regulation of the energy sector broadly. The CNSC welcomes the opportunity to work closely with NRCan, the CER, other NRCan portfolio agencies and Indigenous partners to support the implementation of APM 34 and other UNDRIP APMs to ensure that risks to the health, safety, security, and the environment presented by nuclear energy and materials continue to be minimized to the greatest extent possible.
Support for sustainable, ongoing Nuclear Energy Agency mentoring workshops for Indigenous girls
In early May 2023, the CNSC, in partnership with Trent University and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), hosted the first NEA International Mentoring Workshop to be held in Canada: Gikendaaso Oshki Kwewag – The Young Women Carry Knowledge. This 4-day workshop welcomed 38 Indigenous girls and braided Indigenous and western ways of knowing to support and empower participants in exploring education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The workshop featured presentations from women in the nuclear field, a keynote address from an Indigenous rights champion, on-the-land sessions led by Indigenous knowledge holders, laboratory experiments, a tour of a nuclear facility and a STEM Fun Fair. It fostered meaningful connections through partnering the Indigenous girls with Canadian and international mentors. Given the success of the workshop, confirmed through follow-up surveys, the CNSC wants to make mentoring workshops a regular occurrence in Canada. NRCan supported the workshop through a financial contribution of $50,000 and has signaled its commitment to support future editions. The CNSC welcomes NRCan’s ongoing leadership and support, both financial and in kind, to help Canada continue to lead by example in encouraging and supporting interest in STEM fields, and to help develop a future workforce that is diverse, empowered and engaged.
The CNSC will also be looking for the Deputy Minister’s support and/or approval on the following issues:
Bill C-26, An Act respecting cyber security, amending the Telecommunications Act and making consequential amendments to other Acts
The CNSC administers Canada’s framework for cyber security at nuclear facilities, which currently applies to nuclear power plants and small reactor facilities. Given the fast and frequent developments in the cyber threat environment, the CNSC intends to update the existing Nuclear Security Regulations to include new requirements for cyber security and protection of sensitive information. The CNSC also plans to issue additional cyber security guidance to licensees.
Bill C-26, An Act respecting cyber security, amending the Telecommunications Act and making consequential amendments to other Acts was introduced in the House of Commons by the Minister of Public Safety on June 14, 2022. This proposed legislation creates a new law, the Critical Cyber Security Systems Protection Act (CCSPA), which establishes a cyber security compliance regime for federally regulated critical cyber infrastructure. Nuclear energy systems are identified as 1 of 6 vital services and systems subject to the proposed CCSPA. The CNSC’s existing regulatory foundation and related work underway on cyber security align well with the intent and provisions of the proposed legislation. The bill completed second reading in the House of Commons and was referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on March 27, 2023. The bill was not considered in committee prior to the House rising for summer.
The CNSC will continue to work with NRCan to ensure that the measures in the CCSPA, and those in any related regulations, are complementary to and enhance Canada’s existing framework for the nuclear sector.
Regulatory amendments for Ministerial approval
The CNSC is proposing updates to the following regulations to better align with international standards, guidelines, and best practices in nuclear security. The Commission has statutory authority to make regulations, with approval of the Governor in Council. As such, the Minister’s support is needed to enable the regulations to move through the Government of Canada regulation-making process. The following regulations will be presented to the Minister.
Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (Imports, Export and Safeguards)
As a signatory to the United Nations’ Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Canada has international commitments and obligations in the areas of peaceful use of nuclear material and technology, disarmament, and non-proliferation (i.e., preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology). The CNSC implements regulatory controls for the production, use, storage and movement of nuclear material in Canada, and it ensures that nuclear imports and exports do not contribute to the development of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The CNSC is proposing to amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations to align with the latest international standards related to non-proliferation.
In late 2023, the CNSC expects to seek the Minister’s approval to submit to PCO for approval by Governor in Council, to publish in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
2 – CNSC overview
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Rumina Velshi
Ms. Velshi was appointed on August 22, 2018 for a 5-year term as President and Chief Executive Officer. Her term has been extended to facilitate identifying a successor, and she will resign effective October 13, 2023.
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Calgary, Alberta
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Mississauga, Ontario
- Laval, Quebec
- Pickering, Ontario*
- Darlington, Ontario*
- Bruce, Ontario*
- Point Lepreau, New Brunswick*
- Chalk River, Ontario
- FTEs: 908
- Budget: $152,966,165
- Licensees: 1,472
- Licences: 2,278
The CNSC, created and mandated under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, is Canada’s nuclear regulator.
It oversees nuclear activities to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment, and implements Canada's international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The CNSC’s mandate also includes the dissemination of objective scientific, technical and regulatory information on its activities as well as on the effects of nuclear technology on human health and the environment.
The CNSC is independent of, but not isolated from, government and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. Nuclear regulation is solely under federal jurisdiction. The CNSC has no provincial counterparts.
Acting as an independent quasi-judicial administrative tribunal and court of record, the Commission comprises up to 7 permanent members who are appointed by the Governor in Council. The Commission has the responsibility for making licensing decisions through a quasi-judicial public hearing process, and its decisions can be reviewed only by the Federal Court of Canada. CNSC staff provide advice to the Commission, implement Commission decisions, and enforce compliance with regulatory requirements.
Four overarching priorities
Core regulatory operations represent the bulk of the CNSC’s everyday work to deliver on its mandate. These include the administration of the regulatory framework, licensing, certification, and compliance activities, with the ultimate goal to make sure that the Canadian nuclear industry is operating safely and securely.
The CNSC’s 4 strategic priorities are as follows:
- The CNSC’s modern approach to nuclear regulation and enabling technological innovation uses science-based and risk-informed regulatory practices and a robust regulatory framework to take into account scientific uncertainties, an evolving industry and changing regulatory expectations. A current focus is on new technologies, such as SMRs.
- The CNSC aims to be a trusted regulator, recognized as independent, open and transparent, and as a credible source of scientific, technical and regulatory information.
- The CNSC’s global influence is leveraged to enhance international nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation.
- The CNSC is an agile organization that is flexible and inclusive, with an empowered and equipped workforce that is able to quickly adapt to an evolving operating environment.
3 – CNSC structure (August 2023)
4 – The Commission
The CNSC is a body corporate established by the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA). The NSCA establishes the objects of the Commission, which are to:
- regulate the development, production and use of nuclear energy and the production, possession and use of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and prescribed information to prevent unreasonable risk to the environment, national security and to the health and safety of persons
- disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public concerning the activities of the Commission and the effects on the environment and on the health and safety of persons, of the development, production and use of nuclear energy, nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and prescribed information
The Commission consists of not more than 7 permanent full-time or part-time members, appointed by the Governor in Council. One of the members is designated as President and is a full-time member. Each permanent member holds office during good behaviour for a term not exceeding 5 years. Commission members come from across Canada and represent various scientific and business backgrounds. In addition to President Velshi, there are currently 4 other permanent, part-time members. Their biographies are included in annex A.
The NSCA also provides for the appointment of temporary members who may be appointed to the Commission for a maximum of 3 years. However, temporary members may continue to serve past the 3-year period to take part in the disposition of any matter in which they became engaged while holding office as members.
The Commission is a court of record and makes decisions on the licensing of nuclear-related activities in Canada, establishes legally binding regulations, and sets regulatory policy direction on matters related to health, safety, security and environmental issues affecting the Canadian nuclear industry. The Commission has significant experience dealing with governance issues given its need to be, and to be seen as, independent, fair and unbiased in its decision making. The Commission holds public hearings for major licensing decisions, during which the perspectives of Indigenous peoples, the public and stakeholders are welcomed and, in some instances, supported through participant funding.
The Commission may delegate licensing and other decisions as appropriate to designated CNSC staff. When establishing regulatory policy, making licensing decisions and implementing programs, it takes into account the views, concerns and opinions of industry, interested members of the public, and Indigenous Nations and communities.
The Commission Registry provides technical and logistical support for Commission proceedings, as well as legal expertise on administrative law and procedural regulatory requirements applicable to the delivery of its mandate. It provides legal advice to the President and Commission Members, and is responsible for Commission member training and development. Additionally, the Registry communicates with all stakeholders and interested parties, including government departments, intervenors, licensees and applicants, Indigenous Nations and communities, and the public, on Commission affairs. Finally, the Commission Registry is the official registrar for Commission documentation and manages the hearing process.
The Commission is authorized to appoint and employ professional, scientific, technical or other officers or employees it considers necessary for the purposes of its objects under the NSCA. The President of the Commission is also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission with responsibility for supervising and directing the Commission’s work.
The Commission is an independent agency of the Government of Canada, but has the following accountability:
- Accountability to Parliament: The Commission reports to Parliament through the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. It submits annual reports to Parliament, as well as an annual Departmental Plan and Departmental Results Report. The President and CEO of the Commission appears before parliamentary committees to elaborate on matters related to the administration of the regulatory regime.
- Legal accountability: Regulatory decisions by the Commission can be reviewed only by the Federal Court. As a federal agency, the Commission is subject to various laws (e.g., the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Official Languages Act, the Privacy Act, the Access to Information Act, and the Financial Administration Act).
5 – Legislative authority, regulatory philosophy, and scope of regulation
The Commission’s legislative authority
Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA)
The Commission was established in May 2000 when the NSCA came into force. The NSCA replaced the Atomic Energy Control Act, which had been in place since 1946 without significant change and under which the Atomic Energy Control Board (the predecessor to the Commission) regulated the nuclear industry.
The NSCA is supported by a set of regulations, as well as by a suite of regulatory documents that provide guidance on the Commission’s expectations. International nuclear regulatory agreements and legally-binding conventions are also implemented by the Commission, especially in the areas of non-proliferation and safeguards. These obligations are sometimes incorporated into regulatory requirements through amendments to regulations.
Other nuclear-related legislation
Nuclear Energy Act (Minister of Energy and Natural Resources)
This Act sets out the Minister’s powers with respect to authorizing the utilization of nuclear technology and research and development activities relating to it.
Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (Minister of Energy and Natural Resources)
This legislation sets out the requirements for the owners of nuclear fuel waste to arrange for its permanent management and storage. Its provision led to the creation of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, a consortium of nuclear facility operators.
Impact Assessment Act (IAA) (Minister of Environment and Climate Change)
Passed in 2019, this legislation replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and sets out the requirements for impact assessments of major projects, including nuclear projects. In accordance with provisions of the IAA, when the nature of a nuclear project requires an impact assessment to be carried out, the process will be led by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. The review panel for the assessment will include at least 1 member appointed from the CNSC, but such member(s) must not constitute a majority of the panel.
Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act (NLCA) (Minister of Energy and Natural Resources) The NLCA came into force in 2017 and provides for a liability limit of $1 billion (as of January 1, 2020) in the event of a nuclear accident. The NLCA replaced the Nuclear Liability Act and modernized Canada’s nuclear liability regime by clarifying and broadening the number of categories for which compensation may be sought and improving the procedures for delivering compensation. NRCan administers the NLCA. The CNSC’s role is to provide advice to the Governor in Council on the designation of nuclear facilities for the purpose of establishing liability insurance requirements.
The CNSC’s regulatory program is based on 2 accountability principles:
- Persons and organizations that are subject to the NSCA and associated regulations are directly responsible for ensuring that the regulated activities in which they engage are managed in order to protect the health, safety, and security of Canadians and the environment, and in order to ensure that Canada implements its international nuclear obligations.
- The CNSC is accountable to the public for regulating persons and organizations that are subject to the NSCA and associated regulations, in order to assure that they are properly meeting their obligations.
The CNSC uses a risk-informed approach to regulation that is focused on protecting the health, safety, and security of Canadians and the environment, as well as ensuring that Canada meets its international nuclear commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Scope of nuclear regulation in Canada
The regulation of nuclear energy and nuclear substances is a federal jurisdiction by virtue of section 71 of the NSCA, which declares nuclear works and undertakings to be for the general advantage of Canada. This derives from the potential health, safety and security concerns associated with the development and use of nuclear energy or nuclear substances, which are largely extra-provincial and international in character and implications.
The CNSC is the federal government agency responsible for regulating the development, production and use of nuclear energy, and the production, possession and use of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and prescribed information, in the areas outlined below. The authority to regulate is set out in the NSCA and the specific regulations under it.
The NSCA establishes a licensing regime for all nuclear facilities and nuclear-related activities, requiring that any person who wishes to carry out prescribed activities have a licence from the Commission before doing so. Licences may include conditions that are specific to the proposed use or activity, including the requirement for financial guarantees.
The scope of regulated activities is extensive and includes:
- power reactors
- non-power reactors
- nuclear research and test facilities
- uranium mines, mills, processing and fuel fabrication facilities
- nuclear substance processing facilities
- particle accelerators
- waste management facilities
- nuclear substances and radiation devices
- irradiation equipment
- packaging and transportation of nuclear substances
- imports and exports of controlled nuclear materials, equipment, technology and information
- exports of nuclear related dual-use materials, equipment and technology
- cancer treatment (i.e., brachytherapy and teletherapy)
- dosimetry service providers
In Canada, there are more than 1,400 CNSC licensees, who hold almost 2,300 licences. Commission staff perform a range of activities to verify and ensure that licensees comply with their licences and any related conditions.
The Commission has an extensive suite of regulatory enforcement measures available to enforce licensee compliance. These measure include increased regulatory scrutiny, orders, licence amendments, monetary penalties and prosecution for regulatory offences set out in the NSCA.
6 – Initiatives, issues and projects for awareness
The Deputy Minister should be aware of the following initiatives and issues.
Appointment and transition of new President and CEO
With Ms. Velshi’s term ending on October 13, 2023, the CNSC is preparing for a seamless and efficient transition to a new President and CEO. Some of the initiatives underway to support the transition include a comprehensive transition package to brief the new President and CEO on the organization and its priority files, and a communications plan to effectively manage stakeholder relations. The CNSC welcomes any briefing package or similar material from NRCan should the department wish to provide it for the new President and CEO.
SMR action plan and collaboration
In preparation for the introduction and adoption of emerging technologies such as SMRs in the nuclear industry, the CNSC is ensuring that it has the capacity, capability and readiness to regulate such technologies and their use. Any proposed project to build and operate an SMR requires licensing by the CNSC.
The CNSC contributed to the development of NRCan’s pan-Canadian SMR Roadmap and SMR Action Plan, and is working to implement the SMR Action Plan commitments related to international collaboration, public and Indigenous engagement, nuclear security and regulatory effectiveness. The CNSC received $50.7 million from Budget 2022 to build its capacity to regulate SMRs and to work internationally on regulatory harmonization. Progress on the CNSC’s activities, guided in part by the SMR Action Plan’s priorities, is shared at the Nuclear Leadership Table (previously the SMR Action Plan Leadership Table).
In addition to a new President and CEO, the CNSC anticipates the appointment of 2 new permanent, part-time Commission Members in 2023. With the expectation of several licence applications coming in short order this year, the CNSC will be prioritizing the onboarding, training, and development of new Commission Members to ensure readiness for forthcoming proceedings.
Hybrid work model
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the CNSC continued to deliver on its mandate seamlessly and without interruption. Learning from that experience, the CNSC has adopted a hybrid work model where managers and employees co-create flexible, in-office and remote work practices that maximize team connection, collaboration and innovation – regardless of location. The CNSC continues to develop new tools and practices to foster a culture that is conducive to collaboration in a hybrid work environment.
Throughout the remainder of the current fiscal year, the CNSC will continue implementing the Government of Canada’s GCWorkplace vision through an accelerated 5-year plan that will see the conversion of its in-office spaces to modern design standards. The CNSC’s Digital Program is concurrently overseeing the introduction of new digital efficiencies for the CNSC’s digital workspace, including an organization-wide transition to the full suite of Microsoft 365 applications and platforms, including SharePoint and Teams.
Transformation Management Office
Created in January 2023, the CNSC’s Transformation Management Office (TMO) is a temporary body with a 3-year mandate to mature the CNSC’s ability to manage transformational projects. The TMO serves as the operational arm of the organization’s strategic planning function, ensuring that the CNSC’s vision for change is executed in line with the direction of the CNSC’s Executive Team. The TMO provides integrated project management and change management support to a portfolio of projects within the CNSC, and is also creating and implementing framework for integrated decision making and reporting. The TMO is led by the Chief Transformation Officer and reports directly to the President.
Support for Ukraine
The CNSC has been actively monitoring the events in Ukraine and working closely with federal and international counterparts to offer expertise and assistance. As Chair of the 51st International Nuclear Regulators’ Association (INRA) meeting, President Velshi led the development of a joint statement on the conflict in Ukraine that was issued on May 31, 2023. In the statement, INRA members committed their ongoing support to the efforts of the Ukrainian nuclear regulator to maintain safe and secure nuclear facilities, recognized the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in ensuring accurate and up-to-date information on the status of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, and pledged support for the IAEA for its nuclear safety efforts in Ukraine.
In early May 2023, the IAEA asked INRA members to contribute personnel to be employed by the IAEA, for a term of up to 12 months and based in Vienna, to join rotational missions to Ukrainian nuclear facilities. These missions include conducting assurance activities and assisting Ukrainian operators in ensuring safety and security at nuclear facilities. In response, the CNSC submitted the names of 3 individuals who volunteered for the missions, who are now undergoing assessment to determine if their skill sets meet the work’s requirements.
The CNSC has also been working with the Ukrainian nuclear regulator, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, to finalize a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation and exchange of information. President Velshi will travel to Ukraine in August 2023 to meet with Ukrainian officials and attend a signing ceremony for the MOU, as well as visit various nuclear facilities and the Chornobyl site.
Indigenous and stakeholder engagement and advancing reconciliation
To advance Indigenous and stakeholder engagement, the CNSC has been implementing a new strategic stakeholder engagement program. This program will guide the development and maintenance of long-term relationships with Indigenous Nations and communities and specific stakeholders. It aims to move from a transactional engagement approach to a lifecycle approach focused on long-term relationship building with key stakeholders outside of the CNSC’s existing licensing process. Full implementation of this program is expected by the end of the fiscal year.
The CNSC is also committed to advancing reconciliation and has made noteworthy progress on supporting initiatives. In May, the CNSC launched the Indigenous and Stakeholder Capacity Fund (ISCF), a funding program that helps support Indigenous Nations and communities and stakeholders with a direct interest in nuclear activities to build capacity and knowledge in order to better participate in the CNSC’s regulatory processes, programs and initiatives. The ISCF builds on the CNSC’s successful and ongoing Participant Funding Program, which supports participation in project-specific licensing and environmental assessment processes, including participation in Commission proceedings.
Protected information redacted.
Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make consequential amendments (firearms)
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the government of the day ordered a review of security within critical infrastructure. Operators of Canada’s seven high-security nuclear facilities were ordered to immediately bolster their security; this included a new requirement to have armed personnel onsite. At the time, this was put in place under an emergency order and was later written into regulation. The then-Minister of Natural Resources was expected to return to Cabinet with a permanent legislated solution.
Protected information redacted.
A legislative solution was approved by Cabinet in December 2020. Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms) contains the legislative solution in the form of proposed amendments to the NSCA. Introduced in the House of Commons in May 2022, Bill C-21 has since passed the House of Commons and was tabled in the Senate in May 2023 and completed second reading in June 2023. The bill was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security, Defence and Veteran Affairs, but was not considered prior to the Senate rising for the summer. As the bill continues through the legislative process, the CNSC will support Public Safety Canada, as lead for the bill, by having CNSC officials attend clause-by-clause meetings of the Committee to respond to any questions on the proposed NSCA amendments.
The Deputy Minister should be aware of several nuclear projects, including those undergoing a CNSC-led environmental assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012):
Three EAs for Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Waste Management Projects (Ontario and Manitoba)
- Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF), Chalk River Laboratories, Deep River, Ontario: Proposal to build an engineered near-surface waste management facility to store low-level radioactive wastes
- Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) Closure Project, Rolphton, Ontario: Proposal for partial removal/partial in-situ grouting of decommissioned reactor and remediation of the site
- Decommissioning of Whiteshell Reactor #1 (WR-1), Pinawa, Manitoba: Proposal for partial removal / partial in-situ grouting of decommissioned reactor and remediation of the site
Applications for these projects, which are being managed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories on behalf of Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL), were filed with the CNSC between April 1 and May 16, 2016.
A 2-part public Commission hearing was held in 2022 for the NSDF project, for which the Commission issued a procedural direction to leave the record open until January 2023 to allow more time for Indigenous consultation. This constituted a no-ruling with respect to the EA or licence amendment application, and Commission hearing for the final submissions regarding this application was held on August 10, 2023.
There have been considerable delays in the completion of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the NPD Closure Project and decommissioning of the WR-1. Hearings will not commence until a satisfactory EIS is submitted for the proposals.
Significant concerns have been expressed by Indigenous groups and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in both Ontario and Quebec over the NSDF and its proximity to the Ottawa River. Indigenous groups and NGOs have also expressed significant concerns over the NPD and WR-1 projects, particularly around in-situ decommissioning, including their views that the approach does not align with international standards.
In accordance with the IAA, these projects will all continue under the current CEAA 2012 process with the CNSC as the lead in the conduct of the EAs. This is in line with the Government’s principle that no project will be required to restart from zero. The CNSC has significant experience with EAs and our EA processes are rigorous, including robust public participation and Indigenous consultation.
Two EAs for new uranium mining projects (Saskatchewan)
- Rook-1 (NexGen Energy Ltd.), northern Saskatchewan: Proposal for underground mine to produce up to 14 million kilograms (14,000 tonnes) of uranium annually for 24 years
- Wheeler River (Denison Mines Corporation), northern Saskatchewan: Proposal for in-situ recovery uranium mining and processing operation to produce up to 5.4 million kilograms (5,400 tonnes) of uranium annually for 20 years
EAs for these projects commenced on May 2 and 31, 2019, respectively. The CNSC completed its initial review of the draft EIS statement for the Rook-1 project on November 18, 2022, and for the Wheeler River project on March 21, 2023. Both of these technical reviews found that the information submitted did not address the regulatory requirements for the EA. Only once a draft EIS meets regulatory requirements will CNSC staff proceed with developing an EA report.
Deep Geological Repository for Used Nuclear Fuel (Ontario)
The CNSC expects an application for a licence to prepare site from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) for a deep geologic repository (DGR) for Canada's used nuclear fuel in 2024. In advance of that anticipated application, the CNSC and the NWMO have a service arrangement that enables the CNSC to engage with potential host communities and to carry out pre-project technical work, including formal reviews and research. Through this engagement, the CNSC provides information about how it regulates Canada’s nuclear sector, including DGRs.
There are currently 2 potential host communities remaining in the NWMO’s site selection process: Ignace in northwestern Ontario, and South Bruce in southern Ontario. The NWMO is expected to select the site in 2023.
Global First Power Micro Modular Reactor Project application (Chalk River Laboratories)
Global First Power (GFP), supported by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), submitted an application to the CNSC in March 2019 to build a demonstration Micro Modular Reactor facility on AECL property at the Chalk River Laboratories site. The CNSC-led EA under CEAA, 2012, commenced on July 15, 2019. This first-of-a-kind project is of significant interest to the public, NGOs and Indigenous groups from both Ontario and Quebec. The CNSC is conducting ongoing Indigenous and public engagement as the EA and licensing processes continue. GFP has identified a delay in its environmental impact statement and expects to submit it in early 2024.
OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project (Ontario)
OPG has held a licence to prepare site for up to 4 nuclear reactors since 2012. In June 2021, the Commission held a licence renewal hearing, upon OPG’s request, to renew this licence for a 10-year period. The Commission approved OPG’s licence renewal application in October 2021. On October 31, 2022, OPG submitted an application for a licence to construct, which is currently under CNSC review. OPG selected GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 SMR technology, the 10th evolution of the water-cooled boiling water reactor, in December 2020.
On July 7, 2023, the Government of Ontario announced that it will work with OPG to commence the planning and licence application process for 3 additional SMRs, for a total of 4 SMRs, at the Darlington New Nuclear site. If realized, the total output of the Darlington New Nuclear project would be 1,200 megawatts.
Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishment Project (Ontario)
In October 2016, OPG began a $12.8 billion project at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in the Municipality of Clarington on the western shore of Lake Ontario. This project is to refurbish the 4 reactors and extend their lives by 30 years. The refurbishment project began with Unit 2 in fall 2016 and was completed in summer 2020. Unit 3 began its refurbishment in September 2020 and was completed in July 2023. Refurbishment of Unit 1 began in spring 2022 and is expected to be completed mid-2025. Finally, Unit 4 is currently being prepared for its refurbishment outage and is expected to be completed in winter 2026.
The CNSC is maintaining regulatory oversight throughout the project. To date, it has not observed any technical challenges or undue risks to health, safety or the environment.
Bruce Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishment (Major Component Replacement Project) (Ontario)
In 2020, Bruce Power began a $13 billion project to refurbish and extend for 30 years the lives of 6 of the 8 reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. The project commenced with Unit 6 in 2020, which is scheduled to be completed in 2023. Unit 3 commenced on March 1, 2023, and is expected to be completed in 2026. Unit 4 will begin in 2025 and be completed in 2027. Unit 5 will begin in 2026 and be completed in 2029. Unit 7 will begin in 2028 and be completed in 2031. Unit 8 will begin in 2030 and be completed in 2033. Units 1 and 2 were previously refurbished and resumed operation in 2012 for an expected 30 years. The CNSC will maintain regulatory oversight during the refurbishment.
Bruce Power Project 2030
Bruce Power’s Project 2030 aims to identify, recommend, and implement safe and cost-effective power-recovery opportunities to achieve 7,000 megawatts from the Bruce Power site by the early 2030s.
Protected information redacted.
Bruce Power New Nuclear
Bruce Power is currently in the early project planning stages to expand current operations at the existing Bruce Power site with new large-scale nuclear, supported by the Government of Ontario. The potential project is expected to require an integrated impact assessment under the IAA.
Protected information redacted.
In preparation for this project, the IAAC, the CNSC and Bruce Power held 2 workshops in spring 2023, focused on the integrated impact assessment process, proposed streamlining opportunities, and Bruce Power’s Impact Assessment Readiness Report.
Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s Deep Geological Repository
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) was established in 2002, in accordance with the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, and federally mandated to design and implement Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel. This plan is captured in NWMO’s Adaptive Phased Management (APM) approach. In May 2010, the NWMO launched its site selection process for a willing and informed community to host a deep geological repository (DGR) as the solution for the long-term storage of the used nuclear fuel – including that created by new and emerging technologies. This process is still underway, with two areas remaining as potential hosts for the DGR – the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area, both in Ontario. The NWMO anticipates site selection by 2024, after which the NWMO may begin the process of applying to the CNSC for a site preparation licence as well as an impact assessment by IAAC. The CNSC can only make a licensing decision on a DGR after the completion of the impact assessment process under the Impact Assessment Act.
In 2019, the CNSC signed a service arrangement with the NWMO to provide regulatory guidance for the implementation of the APM approach that identifies the terms under which the CNSC provides services to the NWMO prior to the submission of a licence application. These services include pre-project design reviews of APM DGR concepts, identifying regulatory requirements for a DGR, and participating in public meetings to provide information on the CNSC’s role.
A: Members of the Commission
The NSCA provides for the appointment of no more than 7 permanent Commission members by Order in Council and of temporary members. One permanent member of the Commission is designated as the CNSC’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The current Commission membership is as follows:
- Ms. Rumina Velshi
President and Chief Executive Officer
- Dr. Marcel Lacroix
- Dr. Timothy Berube
- Mr. Randall Kahgee
- Dr. Victoria Remenda
Ms. Rumina Velshi
Rumina Velshi was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the CNSC in August 2018.
Ms. Velshi has a long association with the CNSC, having been a Commission member from 2011 until her appointment as President and CEO.
Ms. Velshi has extensive technical, regulatory and adjudication expertise in the energy industry. Throughout her career, she has worked in various capacities at Ontario Hydro and Ontario Power Generation, the electrical utilities in the province. Ms. Velshi also previously served as a part-time Board member of the Ontario Energy Board, the economic regulator of the province’s electricity and natural gas sectors.
In February 2020, Ms. Velshi was appointed Chairperson of the Commission on Safety Standards, established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for a four-year term.
Ms. Velshi very actively promotes careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), especially for young women. Since joining the CNSC as President and CEO, she has launched a women-in-STEM initiative to consider ways to support women in STEM careers at the CNSC and elsewhere, and to further STEM education by working with interested partners. She has also delivered several international keynote addresses about breaking down barriers for women in STEM.
Ms. Velshi was one of the founding members of Canada's Women in Science and Engineering. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute for Women in Engineering and Science, an institute that advances education in the STEM fields worldwide through an international network of organizations, foundations and experts.
She has served as Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors of Scientists in School, a non-profit organization that offers STEM-focused workshops to more than 700,000 students each year. Ms. Velshi is one of 150 Canadian women whose stories are compiled in Your Turn, a book published to mark Canada's 150th anniversary and inspire the next generation of women leaders.
Ms. Velshi holds a bachelor of applied science degree in civil engineering, a master of engineering degree in chemical engineering and a master of business administration degree, all from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Marcel Lacroix
Dr. Marcel Lacroix was reappointed on March 25, 2022 as a permanent, part-time Commission member for a 5-year term.
A resident of Montréal, Québec, Dr. Lacroix holds a bachelor’s degree in physics, magna cum laude, from the University of Ottawa, Ontario. He also has a master’s degree and PhD in nuclear engineering from the École Polytechnique de Montréal, Quebec.
Dr. Lacroix is a full professor at the Université de Sherbrooke, an engineering consultant and a technical adviser to law firms.
Dr Lacroix has worked in the power and process industry within the private and academic sectors for over 40 years, in America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He worked for Atomic Energy of Canada at the Chalk River nuclear Laboratories and for the Gentilly-2 Nuclear Generating Station’s (Hydro-Québec) Groupe d’analyse nucléaire. Dr. Lacroix was also a full professor at the Université Claude Bernard of Lyon and at the École des Mines de France. As an energy specialist, he has authored and co-authored hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers and he has published several textbooks in thermodynamics, energy and nuclear technologies. During his career, Dr. Lacroix held 15 invited professorships at foreign universities. He is a keynote speaker at international conferences as well as a public speaker. He appears regularly in the media across Canada to comment on issues pertaining to energy technologies.
Dr. Lacroix is a licensed engineer with the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec.
Dr. Timothy Berube
Dr. Timothy Berube was reappointed on April 19, 2022 as a permanent, part-time Commission member for a term of five years.
A resident of Brandon, Manitoba, Dr. Berube holds an electronic technologist diploma from Confederation College, Ontario; a bachelor of engineering (electrical) from Lakehead University, Ontario; a master of business administration (international) from the University of South Australia; and a master of science (leadership) from Capella University, Minnesota. He also holds multiple non-secular degrees in metaphysics and divinity from the University of Metaphysical Sciences, California, culminating in a Doctor of Philosophy (metaphysical sciences) and a Doctor of Divinity (spiritual counselling).
Dr. Berube has over 30 years of experience in the areas of global leadership, executive management, governance, business development, operations, sales, marketing, engineering, project management and consulting. Included in this profile is a 10-year international portfolio resulting in the creation of 2 multi-million dollar multinational enterprises.
Dr. Berube's extensive career has been varied. He has held positions with the Canadian Forces Communications Command as Deputy Commanding Officer, Ontario Hydro as a nuclear operator, and with several telecommunications companies in Canada and abroad. He currently serves as the President and CEO for Westman Communications Group based in western Manitoba.
Dr. Berube is Métis. He has served on multiple for-profit and not-for-profit boards, including: the North West Local Health Integration Network, Digital Engineering Inc., and The Battalion Senate of 18 (Thunder Bay) Service Battalion. He currently sits on the board of directors with the Manitoba Cooperative Association. He is frequently engaged in community stakeholder meetings and events across a broad spectrum of the Western Manitoba community.
Mr. Randall Kahgee
Mr. Randall Kahgee was appointed to a 5-year term as a permanent, part-time Commission member on February 26, 2021.
Senior Counsel with Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, Mr. Kahgee specializes in Indigenous rights law, with an emphasis on community-based processes and government-to-government negotiations.
Mr. Kahgee has worked with Indigenous governments across Canada and has participated in significant agreements between Indigenous communities and provincial and federal governments on energy matters, including issues relating to the development of nuclear facilities, transmission lines and renewable energy projects, as well as on environmental matters. He has also been involved in the development of proactive strategies for engaging both proponents and government on mining and resource development. He has extensive experience in consultation and accommodation-related issues, including the development and implementation of processes for the full expression of free, prior and informed consent. He has also been involved in the negotiation and implementation of land claim and self-government agreements and has participated in a number of successful impact benefit negotiations.
As Chief of the Saugeen First Nation for 4 consecutive terms, from June 2006 to June 2014, he dedicated a great deal of his time to the reconciliation of the Crown-First Nation relationship and the full recognition, protection and expression of Indigenous and treaty rights. He has extensive experience in strategic development and in a range of governance-related issues, including the development and implementation of laws, policies and processes. He has also played a key role on a number of important regional and national bodies, including task forces on consultation and accommodation, justice, environment and treaties.
Mr. Kahgee is a regular speaker at conferences and law schools on Indigenous legal and political issues. He received his BA from York University and his LLB from the University of Toronto and is called to the bar in Ontario.
Dr. Victoria Remenda
Dr. Victoria Remenda was appointed on May 18, 2022, as a permanent, part-time Commission member for a term of 5 years.
She holds a PhD in earth sciences from the University of Waterloo, with a specialty in the hydrogeology of low-permeability earth materials. Dr. Remenda also holds a bachelor of engineering degree and a master of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently a professor and head of the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s University, and resides in Kingston, Ontario.
Dr. Remenda was inaugural Chair of the CNSC’s Independent Advisory Group on GeoScience, which provides objective, independent advice to CNSC staff on the geoscience aspects for the long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel. This role has allowed her to gain deep knowledge of the scientific, engineering, regulatory and stakeholder issues of siting and constructing a deep geological repository for the management of high-level nuclear waste.
A member of Queen’s since 1993, and an elected member of the Queen’s Board of Trustees since 2020, Dr. Remenda has extensive experience with legislative procedures and policies. As a professional engineer, scientist, instructor and researcher, she has instructed on the topics of federal and provincial guidelines and legislation concerning the practice of engineering, siting conditions, environmental assessments, and occupational health and safety – to name a few.
Dr. Remenda’s work in a variety of sectors and roles has required her to build relationships, seek partnerships, listen carefully, learn quickly and be prepared to consider and to embrace dissenting ideas and opinions. She has considerable experience evaluating technical and non-technical information from a variety of sources and disciplines.
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