Experts Complete IAEA Follow-up Review of Canada's Nuclear Regulatory System

Ottawa, Canada
2011/30

Nuclear and radiation safety experts today concluded a two-week mission to review Canada's nuclear regulatory system. At the request of the Canadian Government, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted a follow-up assessment of an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission performed in 2009. The follow-up mission peer review team was comprised of 10 highly experienced regulatory experts from eight Member States (Finland, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States of America) and five IAEA staff members.

The IRRS follow-up mission examined progress made by the Canadian nuclear regulator - the Canada Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) - in acting upon the recommendations and suggestions identified during the 2009 IRRS mission. Additionally, new subject areas were reviewed at the request of CNSC, including the transport of radioactive materials and the regulatory implications of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in Japan earlier this year.

"CNSC should be commended for the significant progress made in addressing the findings identified in the 2009 IRRS mission and for inviting this follow-up review," said IRRS team leader Martin Virgilio, Deputy Executive Director for Reactor and Preparedness Programs of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The review team found that CNSC had made significant progress toward addressing the previously identified issues and ultimately improving its regulatory effectiveness. Most of the findings identified in the 2009 mission report have been effectively addressed and can be considered closed.

Complementing the strengths identified during the 2009 mission, the 2011 IRRS follow-up team noted the following additional strengths:

  • The recommendations and suggestions from the 2009 IRRS mission were systematically addressed through active senior management commitment;
  • The regulatory framework for transport of radioactive materials is well established, commensurate with the large scope and volume of transport activities in Canada; and
  • The regulatory response to the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident was prompt, robust and comprehensive.

The IRRS team also made additional recommendations and suggestions to further strengthen the Canadian nuclear regulatory system. Areas for improvement opportunities include:

  • The adoption of the IAEA's 2009 Transport Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material into the Canadian regulatory framework;
  • A national assessment of nuclear power plant off-site emergency plans to include all relevant organizations; and
  • The conduct of full-scale emergency exercises on a periodic basis.

"The results of this international peer review confirmed the effective role of the CNSC in ensuring safety of Canadians and the environment and a testament to our continuous improvement," said Ramzi Jammal, Executive Vice President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer of CNSC.

In a preliminary draft report, the IAEA conveyed the team's main conclusions to CNSC, and a final report will be submitted to the authority in about three months. The IAEA encourages its Member States to make IRRS mission reports available to the public, and CNSC stated to the team that it will do so.

About IRRS Missions

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure of States, while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in this area. This is accomplished through consideration of both regulatory, technical and policy issues, with comparisons against IAEA Safety Standards and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere.

Background

» International Nuclear Safety Experts Conclude IAEA Peer Review of Canada's Regulatory System, 12 June 2009
» Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) to Canada, 31 May-12 June 2009
» Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS)

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Last update: 13 November 2014