An Overview – Regulatory Oversight Report for Uranium and Nuclear Substance Processing Facilities: 2016

Summary

The safety performance of Canadian uranium and nuclear substance processing facilities is regulated year-round by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Through ongoing regulatory oversight activities, CNSC staff determined that these facilities continued to operate safely in 2016. These conclusions are outlined in the Regulatory Oversight Report for Uranium and Nuclear Substance Processing Facilities in Canada: 2016.

The facilities in this report include five uranium processing facilities – Cameco Corporation’s Blind River Refinery and Port Hope Conversion Facility, Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc., and the BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada facilities in Peterborough and Toronto – and three nuclear substance processing facilities – SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc., Nordion (Canada) Inc. and Best Theratronics Ltd. All of these facilities are located in Ontario.

CNSC staff uses the safety and control area (SCA) framework to evaluate the safety performance of licensees. The following conclusions were made for each facility, supporting the confirmation of safe operation:

  • Radiation protection programs at all facilities adequately controlled radiation exposures, keeping doses as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).
  • Environmental protection programs at all facilities were effective in protecting the environment.
  • Conventional health and safety programs at all facilities continue to protect workers.
  • Other programs in support of remaining SCAs required to ensure the protection of the health and safety of workers, the public and the environment continue to be effectively implemented.

Regulatory oversight

To ensure the ongoing safety of Canada’s nuclear industry, CNSC staff continuously monitor and assess the performance of licensed facilities to make certain that the facilities are in compliance with regulations and licence conditions. The CNSC’s regulatory oversight activities include onsite inspections, review of reports submitted by licensees, event and incident reviews with follow-up, and general communication and exchanges of information with licensees.

Licensees remain responsible for the safe operation of their facilities and the implementation of compliance programs, which are continuously reviewed to ensure they remain effective and up to date with new or updated regulatory requirements and improvement initiatives.

2016 Report

The 2016 report looks at the licensees’ safety performances as a whole, noting patterns and trends where applicable, and then examines each facility individually. Public information programs, reportable events, significant facility modifications, and areas of increased regulatory focus are also discussed in the report.

In 2016, CNSC staff conducted 22 onsite inspections at uranium and nuclear substance processing facilities in Canada. At each facility, all 14 safety and control areas were rated either as "satisfactory", meaning that all compliance expectations had been met, or "fully satisfactory", meaning that the licensee was exceeding all expectations. The report specifically focuses on 3 SCAs – radiation protection, environmental protection, and conventional health and safety – as they reflect the overall effectiveness of the implementation of licensee programs and represent a good indication of facilities’ safety performance.

CNSC staff concluded that each of the regulated facilities discussed in this report made adequate provision for the health and safety of workers, and the protection of the public and the environment.

Spotlight: Public information and disclosure programs

Uranium and nuclear processing facility licensees are required to maintain and implement programs that share information with and disclose information to the public. These public information and disclosure programs ensure the timely and effective communication of information regarding the health, safety and security of persons and the environment, and other issues associated with the lifecycle of nuclear facilities.

CNSC staff reviewed a variety of communications activities that licensees used during this period, including public information sessions, facility tours, participation in community events, regular updates to elected officials, newsletters, and ongoing website and social media updates. Staff determined that uranium and nuclear processing facilities communicated effectively and satisfactorily with the public in 2016.

Conclusions

CNSC staff concluded that uranium and nuclear substance processing facilities operated safely in 2016. The CNSC will continue to provide regulatory compliance oversight to ensure that licensees continue to protect the health and safety of workers, the public and environment, as well as continue to meet Canada’s international obligations.

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