Canada has a committed regulatory body that works for the continuous improvement of nuclear and radiation safety, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) peer review mission has concluded. The team noted areas for further enhancement.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team on 13 September concluded an 11-day mission to review the regulatory safety framework in Canada. The mission was conducted at the request of the Canadian government and hosted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The team also met with representatives of Natural Resources Canada and Health Canada. The 24-member IRRS team comprised senior regulatory experts from 17 countries, as well as four IAEA staff members.

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national nuclear and radiation safety regulatory infrastructure, based on IAEA safety standards and international good practices, while recognising the responsibility of each country to ensure nuclear and radiation safety.

The team identified several good practices, including that CNSC is highly transparent about its regulatory activities and decisions. In addition, Health Canada has raised public awareness of naturally-occurring radon.

Team leader Marta Ziakova, chairperson of Slovakia's Nuclear Regulatory Authority, said: "Canada has a comprehensive framework for nuclear and radiation safety covering current facilities and activities. Moreover, CNSC strives to continuously upgrade its regulatory framework to address new challenges in relation to upcoming technologies, such as small modular reactors."

The team also provided a number of recommendations and suggestions aimed at enhancing Canada's regulatory framework. These include that the government should enhance the policy and strategy for radioactive waste management and that CNSC should consider better aligning its radiation protection requirements with IAEA safety standards.

The final mission report will be provided to the government in about three months and the government plans to make the report public.

Ramzi Jammal, CNSC executive vice-president and chief regulatory operations officer, said: "While we are always looking for opportunities for improvement and welcome recommendations from our international colleagues, the IRRS review confirms that the CNSC has a strong regulatory framework and continues to ensure the safe operation of nuclear facilities in Canada."

Canada has 19 operating nuclear power reactors at four sites, which generates about 15% of the country's electricity. It also develops and exports reactor technology. Canada also operates uranium mines and mills, processing and fuel fabrication facilities, and waste storage sites. It also uses radiation sources in medical and industrial applications and in science and research. Canada operates five research reactors.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 17 September 2019
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