Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

May 31, 2009 14:10 ET

IAEA to Review Canada's Nuclear Regulatory Framework

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 31, 2009) - Today, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) welcomes a 20-member team of experts from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member states, who will conduct a peer review of Canada's nuclear regulatory regime.

During the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to Canada from June 1 to 12, 2009, members of the peer review team will assess Canada's nuclear regulatory regime against international standards and practices in the following areas:

- Legislative and governmental responsibilities;

- Regulatory body responsibilities and functions;

- Organization;

- Authorization process (licensing);

- Regulations and guides;

- Review and assessment;

- Inspection and enforcement (compliance); and,

- Management system.

The IRRS Mission to Canada will focus on the CNSC as the federal regulator mandated by Parliament to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials in Canada

"The CNSC is committed to continuous improvement and this is an excellent benchmarking opportunity for the organization," said CNSC President Michael Binder. "We will see how our policies, procedures and practices compare to international standards and best practices. It will support our efforts to be the best nuclear regulator in the world."

The IRRS is a service offered by the IAEA to member states. IRRS peer reviews compare a country's regulatory practices with international standards and equivalent good practices elsewhere in the world. Peer reviews are opportunities for both the CNSC and the IAEA to learn about different approaches to the organization and practices of national nuclear regulatory bodies. The reviews can also provide feedback to the IAEA on the application of IAEA safety standards and contribute to the harmonization of regulatory approaches among member states.

In preparation for the IRRS mission the CNSC conducted self assessments of its regulatory regimes and processes for power reactors, nuclear substances such as sealed sources, and the nuclear fuel cycle and facilities. The IRRS peer review team will produce a report identifying good practices and recommendations. A follow-up assessment will review the implementation carried out by the CNSC.

BACKGROUNDER

IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service Mission to Canada

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) is one of the services offered to member states by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The purpose of an IRRS mission is to compare the regulatory practices of a country with international standards and equivalent good practices elsewhere in the world. IRRS peer reviews are opportunities for both regulators and peer reviewers to learn about different approaches to the organization and practices of national regulatory bodies. They can also provide feedback to the IAEA on the application of IAEA safety standards and contribute to the harmonization of regulatory approaches among IAEA member states.

The IAEA is the world's center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world's "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its member states and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. As of February 2009, the IAEA has 146 member states.

The IRRS Peer Review was first piloted by the IAEA in Romania in 2006. Since then, Peer Reviews have been conducted in the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Following Canada, IRRS Reviews will be undertaken in the United States, Russia and Pakistan.

IRRS mission peer review teams are comprised of senior regulators recruited by the IAEA from other member countries. Review team members act on behalf of the IAEA, not on behalf of their own countries while on the mission. The review team is accompanied by IAEA staff who coordinates their activities and provides administrative support. IAEA staff also participates in the review activities. A list of the IRRS peer review team members for the mission to Canada is attached to this backgrounder.

The IRRS mission to Canada will take place from June 1 - 12, 2009. The CNSC peer review is a corporate-wide initiative involving the review of CNSC's:

- Legislative and governmental responsibilities;

- Regulatory body responsibilities and functions;

- Organization;

- Authorization process (licensing);

- Regulations and guides;

- Review and assessment;

- Inspection and enforcement (compliance); and,

- Management system.

These elements, organized under eight IRRS modules, are evaluated for all facilities and activities that are declared to be within the scope of the mission. For the IRRS mission to Canada, the scope extends to almost all facilities and activities licensed by the CNSC. This includes nuclear power plants, research reactors, uranium mines and mills, nuclear fuel cycle facilities, waste management facilities, Class II facilities, nuclear substances and radiation devices. IRRS peer review team members will participate in site visits to facilities across the country.

In addition to the IRRS modules, the peer review team will assess pre-selected thematic areas that can be defined as areas of specialty or interest. Some of them would correspond to the "safety areas" that CNSC specialists typically evaluate for larger facilities. Policy issues are high-level or emerging topics that are of general interest to the regulatory body ? they may not be directly applicable to licensed facilities or activities. The following thematic areas have been identified for the Canada mission team:

- Radiation protection programs:

- Environmental protection programs;

- Implementation of the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources;

- Implementation of the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety of Research Reactors;

- Regulation of uranium mines;

- Regulation of operating nuclear power reactors;

- Approach to the life extension of nuclear power reactors; and

- Licensing new nuclear power reactors.

The peer review team will be compiling their report during their time in Canada; however the final report is expected in the Fall of 2009. It will be posted on the CNSC Web site at that time.

To view the IAEA INTEGRATED REGULATORY REVIEW SERVICE MISSION TO CANADA, visit : http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ne0531.pdf

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