Nuclear safety is an issue that is taken seriously both by Canadian citizens and by those in the nuclear industry. The nuclear industry in Canada has a safety record unsurpassed by most industries. In fact, the nuclear industry is one of the most strictly regulated and closely monitored industries in the world. In Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has the sole responsibility for regulating, licensing, monitoring and inspecting all activities and facilities which use nuclear material, to ensure that the public, the environment and workers are protected. The CNSC derives its mandate from the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) which empowers the CNSC to regulate all activity in Canada which uses nuclear materials. These facilities and activities include:

  • Nuclear generating stations (electricity)
  • Non-power (research) reactors
  • Nuclear substances and radiation devices (radiography, industrial gauges, exploration, nuclear medicine, education, etc.)
  • Uranium mines and mills
  • Uranium processing and fuel fabrication facilities
  • Medical particle accelerators
  • Non-medical particle accelerators
  • Waste management facilities
  • Irradiator facilities (in veterinary hospitals, research, medical and industrial institutions, etc.)
  • Brachytherapy and teletherapy facilities
  • Nuclear substance processing facilities
  • Nuclear research and test establishments
  • Packaging and transport of nuclear substances

To carry out its regulatory responsibilities, the CNSC works in co-operation with many government agencies including:

  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  • Environment Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Provincial/territorial and municipal government agencies (including regulators)
  • Nuclear Waste Management Organization
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)
  • United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)

Because Canada is a world leader in the best practices for protection of health and safety, and for weapons non-proliferation, co-operation with these agencies means that Canada’s influence is felt around the world.