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CNSC International Strategy 2024: Executive Summary

The mandate of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) as described in the Nuclear Safety and Control Act is to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment; to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public.

Given its mandate, the CNSC not only operates in a national context as the federal nuclear regulator for Canada, but also within a global context of international obligations, standards and guidelines.

The CNSC’s international engagements are wide-ranging. They fulfill legal, treaty and government obligations and directly influence the development of standards while also supporting the CNSC’s strategic priorities to be a modern, trusted, global and agile regulator.

The CNSC’s International Strategy (the Strategy) is a 5-year plan intended to provide high‑level guidance on the organization’s priorities for participating in international engagements. The CNSC’s ultimate international goal is to leverage and influence global nuclear efforts relevant to Canadian interests and activities to enhance Canadian and international nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation.

To work towards this goal, the CNSC has developed objectives that fall under 3 core themes: lead, collaborate and build.

Theme One: Lead

Objective 1: To hold designated memberships and representation in international multilateral organizations and be recognized as a world-class nuclear regulator to influence the development of international standards, practices and requirements.

Objective 2: To enhance relationships with international nuclear regulators through active engagement with and leadership in multilateral organizations to contribute to the CNSC’s expertise and perspective on international safety practices.


  • Nominate CNSC experts for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) committees and working groups to showcase the CNSC’s expertise and contribute to the development of common international safety practices.
  • Campaign for and obtain leadership positions in IAEA and NEA committees and working groups to influence the development of international safety standards, practices and requirements.
  • Support the Canadian government in fulfilling obligations under international conventions, such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, through the preparation of reports, involvement in peer review activities and participation at convention meetings.
  • Contribute to effective international cooperation on nuclear safety, security and safeguards and further enhance the CNSC’s reputation as a world-class regulator by actively participating in the IAEA General Conference as key members of the Canadian delegation.
  • Contribute to the development of IAEA safety standards, guidance and technical documents to influence the adoption of high-quality regulatory practices.
  • Actively participate in or lead IAEA peer review missions, such as the Integrated Regulatory Review Service, Emergency Preparedness Review Service, ARTEMIS integrated peer review service for radioactive waste, International Physical Protection Advisory Service, and Operational Safety Review Team, to share insights based on regulatory expertise.

Theme Two: Collaborate

Objective 3: To collaborate with international nuclear regulators to improve international safety standards and enhance the CNSC’s regulatory framework.


  • Proactively seek regulatory expertise from other nuclear regulators to enhance and improve the CNSC’s regulatory practices.
  • Prioritize new or active nuclear cooperation agreements, administrative arrangements, memoranda of understanding, and memoranda of cooperation that are mutually beneficial.
  • Actively participate in efforts related to international regulatory readiness for new technologies in order to share the CNSC’s experience and influence international regulatory readiness strategies.
  • Contribute to efforts to harmonize regulatory practices and requirements (i.e., IAEA Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative) with the goal of improving regulatory efficiency and effectiveness at a global level.
  • Host international regulatory delegations to Canada to maximize the value of in‑person collaboration and immersive knowledge sharing (resource dependent).

Theme Three: Build

Objective 4: To build strong relationships with aspiring nuclear countries to provide advice and expertise and to influence them to adopt IAEA safety standards and guidance.


  • Fully play its role as Chair and contribute as a member of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum to assist aspiring nuclear counties.
  • Contribute to multilateral initiatives, such as the IAEA Small Modular Reactor Regulators’ Forum, that will guide aspiring nuclear countries in developing safe nuclear programs.
  • Host delegations from aspiring nuclear countries to support their development of safe nuclear programs by maximizing the value of in-person knowledge sharing (business-line resource dependent).

International engagement enables the CNSC to meet its strategic objectives and ultimately deliver on its mandate. The Strategy acknowledges that the nuclear sector is evolving quickly. Although the Strategy has a 5-year outlook, an annual organizational-level international engagement workplan will be developed as part of the CNSC’s planning cycle. It is important for the CNSC to have a strategic approach to ensure that its international engagement is aligned with wider organizational strategic priorities.

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