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Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Annual Report 2006-2007

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC1) is to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security, and the environment and to respect Canada's international commitments on the peace­ful use of nuclear energy.

In pursuing this mission, the CNSC is working toward realizing its vision of becoming one of the best nuclear regulators in the world. To this end, the CNSC is committed to four strategic objectives:

  • ensuring the effectiveness of its regulatory regime
  • operating with a high level of transparency
  • attracting and retaining excellent staff
  • maintaining efficiency of its regulatory regime

In carrying out its mandate, the CNSC upholds the values of quality, integrity, competence, dedication and respect for others.

The CNSC is an independent, quasi-judicial administrative tribunal and federal regulatory agency. As a departmental corporation under Schedule II of the Financial Administration Act, it reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources. Within its nuclear safety mandate, the Commission sets regulatory policy, makes regulations as required, and decides on major licence applications, renewals and related requests.

Members of the Commission, who are appointed by the Governor in Council at good behaviour, are separate from CNSC staff to maintain independence when making licensing and related decisions. CNSC staff function as expert advisors to the Commission and undertake the implementation of decisions made by the Commission, acting as Designated Officers for some licences.

Regulatory Framework

The CNSC was created under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and derives its mandate from the Act. The CNSC regulatory framework is an ever­green framework of regulations and associated reg­ulatory policies, standards and guides that apply to all nuclear industries including, but not limited to:

  • nuclear power reactors
  • non-power nuclear reactors, including research reactors
  • nuclear substances and radiation devices used in industry, medicine and research
  • the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining through to waste management
  • the import and export of controlled nuclear and dual-use substances, equipment and technology identified as proliferation risks

The CNSC also has certain functions under the Nuclear Liability Act, conducts environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and implements Canada's bilateral agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear safeguards verification. As a model of regulatory efficiency, the CNSC oversees the entire nuclear cycle and all aspects of nuclear safety in Canada.

Funding of CNSC Operations

The CNSC's operations are funded through an annual appropriation from Parliament. The agency requirements, is largely driven by the level of demand for licensing and regulatory oversight and by Canada's international commitments. The CNSC applies to the Treasury Board Secretariat to increase its cost-recoverable expenditures and related fee revenues or to receive new program funding when its workload increases.

The Government of Canada recovers most costs associated with the CNSC's regulatory activities from licensees, in accordance with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Cost Recovery Fees Regulations (2003). The CNSC collects fees and deposits them to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Some licensees, such as hospitals and universities, are exempt from paying fees. In addition, fees are not charged for activities that result from CNSC obligations that do not provide a direct benefit to identifiable licensees. These include activities with respect to Canada's international obligations (including the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons), public responsibilities such as emergency manage­ment and public information programs, and updating of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and associated regulations as appropriate.

Additional Funding Resources Received for 2006-07

In 2005, the Treasury Board Secretariat provided additional short-term funding of $14.5 million for 2006-07. For 2006-07, the CNSC's actual expen­ditures were $85.3 million. Fees received were approximately $58.3 million. The growth in the CNSC's regulatory oversight program, the emerg­ing priorities and how this additional funding is being used to respond to the increased workload are discussed in greater detail in Part III - Priorities of this annual report.

As a result of growing activity in all areas of the nuclear sector over the past several years, the CNSC has experienced a substantial increase in its work­load in most areas of its responsibility. In its 2006 budget, the Government of Canada recognized the CNSC's need to expand and allocated it additional funds of more than $93 million, the majority of which is cost-recoverable from licensees, to improve regulatory oversight over a five-year period. Of this funding, $4.5 million was allocated to the plan for 2006-07. These additional resources enable the CNSC to fund growth of its regulatory program, including overseeing nuclear power reactor refur­bishment projects, expansion of uranium mining, research facilities, waste management; and the use of nuclear substances, including health care facilities; and addressing risks to security of nuclear facilities while implementing numerous improvement initiatives. In addition, after the receipt of two applications for site licensing for construction of new power reactors in Canada, the CNSC requested and received incremental funding for $1.6 million for 2006-07 and of $6.1 million for 2007-08 to start to process these applications. These funds are also required to start to prepare a modern regula­tory framework for the construction of new power reactors in Canada. The CNSC will continue to prepare to meet new demands with respect to new nuclear power plants and the domestic safeguards and non-proliferation regime.

The CNSC and Canada's Performance

The Treasury Board of Canada's annual report, Canada's Performance, provides a government-wide statement of Canada's performance in three policy areas. The CNSC aligns its activities under these policy areas:

Economic Affairs

  • a clean and healthy environment

Social Affairs

  • healthy Canadians with access to quality health care
  • safe and secure communities

International Affairs

  • a secure world through international cooperation

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1 The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or CNSC refer to the total organization. The tribunal component is referred to as the Commission and the staff component as CNSC staff.

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