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Safeguards-by-design: The Canadian experience

Abstract of the technical paper to:
51st Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
July 11-15, 2010

Prepared by:
James A. Casterton, Tom Ellacott and Michael Kent
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Within the international nuclear safeguards community, Safeguards-by-design (SBD) – the integration of safeguards considerations at the early design phase of a new nuclear facility – is a relatively recent concept. Historically many entities involved in facility design and construction have remained largely unaware of detailed safeguards requirements, creating potentially serious negative repercussions if such critical inputs are not acknowledged in the formative stages of a major project. For example, for large, complex constructions of the type frequently encountered in the commercial nuclear industry, experience has proven that retrofitting of safeguards equipment after design freeze can result in substantial cost increases in terms of redesign work, timeline extensions and human resource demands. There can also be a significant impact on the determination and implementation of the safeguards approach for the facility. In Canada there has been a effort to take safeguards considerations into account early in the design phase, primarily in association with the design and construction of CANDU power reactors. On-load reactors of this type require installed IAEA safeguards equipment to monitor the continual flow of nuclear material. Since some instrumentation is located inside the radiological containment envelope, it is of utmost importance to have accurate plant layout requirements identified early in the process to ensure that appropriate design space is allocated for critical safeguards installations. This approach has also been introduced in smaller, less-complex projects in Canada with very positive results. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Canadian experience and to provide examples of its practical implementation. This may provide a usual contribution to the ongoing discussions of the safeguards-by-design concept.

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