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Current fire protection regulatory approach for nuclear facilities in Canada

An abstract of the technical document presented at:
1st Technical Meeting on Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the Nuclear Industry, Canadian Nuclear Society
Mississauga, Ontario
June 17–19, 2015

Prepared by:
A. Bounagui, I. Bolliger and A. Blahoianu
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulates the entire Canadian nuclear sector (e.g., nuclear power plants, uranium fuel fabrication and processing, uranium mines and mills, waste management facilities). Regulatory requirements to mitigate fire risks are determined based upon:

  1. class of the facility pursuant to regulations
  2. risk to persons and the environment (graded requirements; e.g., licence conditions)
  3. achievement of the fire protection objectives set out in fire protection standards identified in the licence conditions handbook

The CNSC’s regulatory framework and regulatory oversight practices in fire protection for nuclear power plants (NPPs) have evolved over the last 10 years. This has resulted in considerable improvements in fire protection at operating Canadian NPPs. This has been achieved through the implementation of CSA N293 and safety upgrades, including design modifications, updated fire safety assessment, and operational practices leading to measurable reductions in fire risk.

The Fukushima lessons learned resulted in design changes at Canadian NPPs to improve management of, and response to, severe accidents to demonstrate that plant defence in depth has been strengthened. With the safety enhancements completed to date, the risk of severe consequences either from fire or other events is expected to be further reduced with emergency measures that can be put in place by onsite and off-duty personnel.

This presentation will provide a background discussion on the CNSC’s current regulatory approach to fire protection. It will also discuss the tools supporting the risk-informed, performance-based fire protection framework that may be leveraged to enhance safety and licensees’ operational flexibility in other areas of plant operations.

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