What We Heard Report – DIS-12-04

Regulated Timelines: Proposed Amendments to the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations and the Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations

Preamble

Discussion papers play an important role in the selection and development of the regulatory framework and regulatory program of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). They are used to solicit early public feedback on CNSC policy or approaches.

Consistent with its commitment to a transparent consultation process, the CNSC considers and analyzes preliminary feedback when determining the type and nature of requirements and guidance to issue.

Introduction

As part of the Government of Canada's Responsible Resource Development initiative, the Commission is establishing 24-month timelines in regulations for projects that require its regulatory review and decision on new applications for the following types of licences:

  • a licence to prepare site for a Class I nuclear facility
  • a combined licence to prepare site for and construct a uranium mine or mill 

The proposed timelines would provide more predictable timing of regulatory reviews of applications for licences for new nuclear projects, while continuing to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment. The regulatory review process would continue to include measures to allow the public and Aboriginal groups to participate fully in the regulatory review of the project.

The CNSC issued a discussion paper for public consultation to seek feedback on the proposed amendments to the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations and the Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations. This report provides a summary of the key comments received during consultation.

Consultation process

The CNSC issued a discussion paper for public comment on July 10, 2012 for a 30-day comment period. An invitation to comment on the discussion paper was posted on the CNSC's Web site and the Government of Canada's Consulting with Canadians website, and a notification was posted on the CNSC's Facebook page. An email notification was also forwarded to subscribers to the CNSC's website. The discussion paper is available at nuclearsafety.gc.ca.

On August 20, 2012, the CNSC posted all comments received on the discussion paper and issued an invitation to provide feedback for a 10-day period. No additional feedback was received.

Summary of stakeholder comments

Comments were received from six stakeholders representing nuclear power plant operators, uranium suppliers, research institutions and industry associations. No comments were received from non-governmental organizations or Aboriginal groups.

The following summarizes the key comments received during the consultation:

  • In general, stakeholders supported measures which would improve the predictability and timeliness of regulatory reviews of major nuclear projects, including the establishment of timelines in regulation.
  • Several stakeholders were of the view that 24 months should be the maximum amount of time for the regulatory review, indicating that it could potentially be shortened to 12 or 18 months.
  • Some stakeholders recommended the establishment of regulated timelines for other regulatory reviews and approvals, including environmental assessments, raising the importance of coordinating environmental assessments with licensing reviews. Stakeholders also noted that the CNSC has been addressing the issue of cooperation with other jurisdictions with some effectiveness, and suggest that continued attention to this issue is needed to ensure certainty in regulatory reviews.
  • Some stakeholders noted that the CNSC has developed clear expectations regarding the necessary information for the licence application, which should negate the need for “stop clock" provisions.
  • One stakeholder noted that the regulations do not provide any real improvement over the current process.

The CNSC will take all input received from stakeholders into consideration while finalizing the regulations.

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