'The next wave of innovation': Nuclear reactors of the future are small and modular
The pros and cons of small modular reactors and where we could see them generating nuclear power.
The devastating impacts of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels are forcing countries around the world to look for zero-emissions alternatives for generating electricity.
One such alternative is nuclear energy, and the International Energy Agency - a group focused on energy security, development and environmental sustainability for 30-member countries - says the transition to a cleaner energy system will be drastically harder without it.
Canada's federal government appears to be on board, saying nuclear innovation plays a "critical role" in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as Canada moves toward a low-carbon future.
Submission of seventh Canadian National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety
As required by the Convention on Nuclear Safety, Canada has submitted, for international peer review, its report demonstrating how it continues to meet the obligations of the Convention. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) submitted the report on behalf of Canada.
Canada’s seventh report outlines the various measures that are in place to assure the safe operation of nuclear power plants in Canada and the protection of the health and safety of people and the environment. These include a robust nuclear regulatory framework, a mature and effective regulator, and licensee organizations that are fully committed to nuclear safety.
The report emphasizes Canada’s commitment to openness and transparency, research and development, peer review, and continual improvement. Achievements highlighted during the reporting period include Canada’s excellent nuclear safety record, enhancements to the nuclear regulatory framework and the completion of the Fukushima action items, which addressed safety improvements aimed at strengthening defence in depth and enhancing onsite emergency response.
The report also describes the CNSC’s comprehensive licensing process and compliance program.
In the licensing process, CNSC staff perform technical assessments of licence applications for both operating and new-build nuclear power plants (NPPs) against regulatory requirements (including the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and its regulations) and make licensing recommendations to the Commission. The process also includes conducting environmental assessments to demonstrate that proposed activities are not likely to result in significant adverse environmental effects. All NPP licensees in Canada have licence conditions handbooks, associated with their licences, which clarify the regulatory requirements and expectations and facilitate increased regulatory effectiveness and efficiency. The CNSC is introducing the requirement for licensees to perform periodic safety reviews for 10-year operating licences.
The CNSC’s compliance program is used to ensure licensee compliance with the regulatory framework and to monitor the safety performance of the NPPs. Activities within this program include surveillance and monitoring conducted by onsite inspectors, inspections supported by subject matter experts and desktop reviews by a wide range of technical specialists. The CNSC also assures compliance through reviewing and assessing licensee-submitted reports and documents.
Ramzi Jammal, CNSC Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer, has been elected as President of the Seventh Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety. As President, Mr. Jammal will preside over discussions among participating countries on how to improve nuclear safety worldwide through a constructive exchange of views. The Seventh Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety was held in March 2017 in Vienna.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment; to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public.
CNSC releases Independent Environmental Monitoring Program results for the Point Lepreau and Pickering Nuclear Generating Stations
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has analyzed, through its Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP), sampling results from the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, located at Lepreau, NB
The results are now available and they confirm that the public and the environment around these sites are safe and that there are no expected health impacts.
The IEMP was implemented to verify that the public and the environment around licensed nuclear facilities are safe. It is separate from, but complementary to, the CNSC’s ongoing compliance verification program. The IEMP involves taking samples from public areas around the facilities, and measuring and analyzing the amount of radiological (nuclear) and hazardous substances in those samples. CNSC staff collect the samples and send them to the CNSC’s state-of-the-art laboratory for testing and analysis.
For more information on the results from the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station:
Nuclear Regulation in Canada
Outlines the CNSC licensing process, the Commission process and nuclear safety in Canada.
Nuclear Engineering International publishes an article about the refurbishment of CANDU reactors
The refurbishment of Canadian-designed CANDU reactors and success through exchanging information, benchmarking, sharing lessons learned.
This article includes the views of key players in the refurbishment project at New Brunswick Power (Point Lepreau Generating Station).
Presentation by CNSC President Michael Binder on excellence in nuclear regulation
CNSC President Michael Binder perspective on the pursuit of regulatory excellence presentation: “Excellence in Nuclear Regulation”
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s 2015–16 Annual Report
On February 3, 2016, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, tabled the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s 2014–15 Annual Report - Regulating Nuclear Safety in Canada, in Parliament.
The report reinforces the CNSC’s commitment to ensure that the nuclear industry is operating safely. It also demonstrates expertise in regulating the broad Canadian nuclear sector, by highlighting efforts in each key area. Readers can learn about the CNSC’s key achievements in the past year, its commitment to transparency and engagement with Canadians and Aboriginal communities.
Here is the highlights Web page that gives an overview of the report. Both the highlights Web page and the full report provide information on key achievements for this past year. The report also covers in-depth, specific topics, such as the regulatory program for cyber security at Canada’s nuclear power plants and the CNSC’s Independent Environmental Monitoring Program.
Read the full report:
Nuclear Energy in a Low-Carbon Future
Michael Binder, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission presents to the Canadian Nuclear Association on February 26, 2016. The President spoke about the CNSC’s strong regulatory framework.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission 2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities
The 2016-17 report on Plans and Priorities outlines the CNSC’s commitments and performance expectations for a three-year period, in support of its continued efforts to regulate the Canadian nuclear industry.
Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station
Visit NB Power’s website for information on Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station.
Learn more about the Convention on Nuclear Safety:
Read the Declaration from the G7 Leaders’ Summit:
Governance, Social Licence and the Energy Industry
On May 10, 2016, Marc Leblanc, Commission Secretary, delivered a presentation to the Ontario Power Summit. The presentation, titled “Governance, Social Licence and the Energy Industry: The CNSC Perspective”, provided an overview of the CNSC, its governance model as an administrative tribunal, its hearing process, how the public can participate, and social licence considerations.
Here are some resources to help in the understanding of nuclear energy:
- Keeping Canada and Canadians Safe
- Dispelling Misconceptions About Nuclear Energy
- Starting The Conversation On Nuclear
- Education And Outreach: Vital To Creating Objective Conversations Around Nuclear
- Bob Chiarelli: Powering Ontario's Bright Energy Future
Nuclear energy has been part of New Brunswick’s energy story for over 25 years and will play an even larger role in the future. With a major reactor refurbishment now underway and plans to build additional reactor capacity maturing rapidly, Atlantic Canada’s nuclear research and production community is poised for even more growth and diversification.
New Brunswick is the only province in Atlantic Canada licensed to operate a nuclear power facility. The Point Lepreau Generating Station, the only nuclear generating station in the region, is a vital part of the local energy mix. Located near Saint John, the station has been a significant source of power generation for the province of New Brunswick, producing 680MW of greenhouse gas-neutral energy, which accounts for up to 30% of the province’s energy needs.
The 700 people employed at Point Lepreau provide the region with nearly $70 million in income and establish a solid base for the region’s nuclear research and production community.
Point Lepreau uses the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s (AECL) CANDU-6 pressurized heavy water technology. AECL, a world leader in nuclear technology, has built its CANDU-6 reactors around the world, including Korea, Argentina, Romania, and China. Point Lepreau was the first CANDU-6 reactor completed, beginning operation in February 1983.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) President Michael Binder penned an article, “Keeping Canada And Canadians Safe”. The article explores the steps the CNSC takes to ensure that Canada’s nuclear industry remains a safe one. A number of other articles are also available:
- nuclear medicine’s help in advancing diagnosis and treatment of disease
- misconceptions about nuclear energy
- the significance of nuclear technology
- the importance of education and outreach to creating objective communication around nuclear
- Ontario’s energy supply
Read the articles:
Each year, the CNSC produces a report on the safety performance of Canada’s nuclear power plants (NPPs). The Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Plants: 2014 provides an assessment of the Canadian nuclear power industry’s safety performance during 2014 and details the progress of regulatory issues and initiatives up to April 30, 2015.
The report concludes that:
- there were no serious process failures at the NPPs
- no member of the public received a radiation dose that exceeded the regulatory limit
- no worker at any NPP received a radiation dose that exceeded the regulatory limits
- the frequency and severity of non-radiological injuries to workers were minimal
- no radiological releases to the environment from the stations exceeded the regulatory limits
- licensees complied with their licence conditions concerning Canada's international obligations
- no NPP events, above level 0 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, were reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency