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Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP)


Some enhancements were made to the CNSC's Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) Web page to provide you more access to information. Some of these updates are the result of recommendations made through our public Commission process.

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The CNSC implemented its Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) to align with Requirement 32 of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Safety Requirements Part 3 and to complement its ongoing compliance activities.

The IEMP is carried out by CNSC staff in publicly accessible areas and consists of sampling environmental media and analyzing radioactive and hazardous substances (as applicable) released from facilities in all areas of the nuclear fuel cycle: uranium mines and mills, processing facilities, power plants and research reactors, as well as waste management facilities. A summary of the results is made available on this dashboard.


Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), the licensee of each nuclear facility, is required to develop, implement and maintain an environmental monitoring program to demonstrate that the public and the environment are protected from emissions related to the facility's nuclear activities. The results of these monitoring programs are submitted to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to ensure compliance with applicable guidelines and limits, as set out in regulations that oversee Canada's nuclear industry. As part of the CNSC's regulatory oversight, CNSC staff also conduct extensive compliance verification activities. These include reviews of the licensees' environmental protection programs to ensure they are adequate, as well as regular inspections to ensure the programs are being implemented accordingly.

The CNSC has implemented its Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) to verify that the public and the environment around licensed nuclear facilities are safe. It is separate from, but complementary to, the CNSC's ongoing compliance verification program. The IEMP involves taking samples from public areas around the facilities, and measuring and analyzing the amount of radiological (nuclear)and hazardous substances in those samples. CNSC staff collect the samples and send them to the CNSC's state-of-the-art laboratory for testing and analysis.


The objective of the Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) is to build Indigenous and public trust in the Canadian Nuclear safety Commission’s (CNSC) regulation of the nuclear industry, via an independent, technical and accessible environmental sampling program around nuclear facilities, while using CNSC resources effectively and efficiently. Additionally, it helps to confirm the CNSC’s regulatory position and supports decision making. The IEMP is not a mechanism to validate or modify a facility’s environmental monitoring program (EMP), as this is achieved through the CNSC’s licensing and compliance activities. The results are independent of facilities’ environmental monitoring programs.

IEMP in Action

The IEMP process consists of developing site-specific sampling plans for each nuclear facility, and then processing and analyzing the samples collected. The sampling plans focus on the environment at publicly accessible locations such as parks, residential communities and beaches, and in areas of interest identified in environmental risk assessments (ERAs). Samples of air, water, soil, sediment, sand, vegetation, and local food may be taken.

Samples are analyzed at the CNSC's laboratory by highly qualified scientists using industry best practices. Samples are measured for both radiological and non-radiological contaminants related to the activities of the nuclear facility and as identified in the site-specific ERA. These results are compared to available background values, environmental quality criteria and available benchmarks. Conclusions and data are then published here on the CNSC website, illustrated in a user-friendly map. The IEMP results are also used extensively in outreach and Indigenous engagement.

CNSC regulatory oversight reports

The CNSC publishes annual regulatory oversight reports on the nuclear industry, which include results from the IEMP and other compliance verification activities. These reports focus on the licensees' annual performance in 14 safety and control areas, including environmental protection, radiation protection, conventional health and safety, waste management, and emergency management.

The reports are discussed at public Commission meetings. The CNSC encourages the public and Indigenous groups to comment on these reports and offers funding opportunities through its Participant Funding Program.

Regulatory Oversight Reports

Other monitoring programs and reporting

To assist readers, the CNSC has compiled a list of other departments, levels of government, agencies, and licensees of nuclear facilities that conduct monitoring and reporting in the areas of radiation and environmental protection.


To date, sampling has been conducted at a number of nuclear facilities.

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