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Nuclear Substance Processing Facilities

Nuclear substances are processed for industrial, medical and research purposes. All nuclear substance processing facilities must meet the Canadian Nuclear and Safety Commission's (CNSC) safety and security requirements and are regulated under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

There are three nuclear substance processing facilities licensed in Canada:

  • Nordion (Canada) Inc. (Nordion) in Ottawa, Ontario. Nordion processes nuclear isotopes to provide products and services used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  • SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc. (SRBT) in Pembroke, Ontario uses tritium gas to manufacture self-luminous light sources and manufactures devices containing these sources.
  • Shield Source Inc. (SSI) situated in Cavan Monaghan, Ontario, at the Peterborough airport, has used tritium gas to manufacture self-luminous light sources and manufactures devices containing these sources.

Notice: On March 4, 2013, Shield Source Incorporated (SSI) announced that they will not be renewing its nuclear processing licence and plan to apply for the necessary licensing to decommission the facility. The CNSC will provide regulatory guidance to the licensee throughout this process and continue its increased oversight at SSI to ensure the public and environment are protected. Shield Source Incorporated elects not to renew Nuclear Processing Licence (source: SSI)

CNSC's licensing process for nuclear substance processing facilities follows the stages laid out in the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations , proceeding progressively through site preparation, construction, operating, decommissioning, and abandonment phases.

At each licensing stage, CNSC determines whether the licence applicant is qualified and has made adequate provisions for the protection of the environment, the health and safety of persons, and the maintenance of national security.

Environmental assessments are carried out to determine, and help mitigate, foreseeable risks. Applicants must also demonstrate the required measures to implement international obligations to which Canada has agreed. In general, Class I facilities follow ALARA principles- keeping radiation exposure to workers and public As Low As Reasonably Achievable.

If satisfied with the application submitted and the programs required for safe operation, CNSC may issue a licence that contains appropriate conditions. CNSC operating licences are for closed term periods, and are subject to renewal on the basis of compliance with the licence terms.

CNSC staff with specific technical expertise regularly visit licensed facilities to ensure compliance, and that facilities are operated safely and securely.

Another important aspect of CNSC oversight involves the protection of nuclear materials as part of our international obligations for nuclear safeguards. Canada has a national accounting system for nuclear materials, to help ensure no materials are lost or diverted for unauthorized uses.

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