Follow-up and Supplemental Information to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s Appearance during the March 3, 2022, Meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development

Follow-up and Supplemental Information to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s Appearance during the March 3, 2022, Meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development - (PDF, 2 pages, 140 KB)

March 11, 2022

House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia, Chair
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Canada
ENVI@parl.gc.ca

Dear Chair and Members of the Committee,

Thank you for providing the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) with the opportunity to appear as a witness for the study on Nuclear Waste Governance in Canada. The safe management of radioactive waste is an important issue for Canadians, and we are proud to play a role in ensuring its ongoing and future safety through our oversight.

I enclose a copy of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) current Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) for the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF), as requested by Member of Parliament Pauzé. The WAC specifies all of the requirements that CNL will use, if approved by the CNSC, as decision limits for accepting/rejecting low-level radioactive waste for disposal. The NSDF WAC would also inform waste generators of the criteria for accepting waste, aiding them to make decisions on how to manage their waste. The WAC has been submitted as part of the licence application for the NSDF. CNSC staff’s science-based regulatory review of the NSDF WAC was a rigorous, iterative process. If the Commission grants a licence for the NSDF, the WAC will become part of the licensing basis. Revision 4, which is the current version and is available on CNL’s website, is attached in Portable Document Format (PDF). [Note: as this is a copy of the letter CNSC sent, the PDF is not included here.]

I would also like to take the opportunity to respond to a question posed by Member Collins on the consistency of the CNSC’s radiation protection requirements with international standards. I am pleased to report that following extensive reviews, analyses and public consultations beginning in 2013, the CNSC published updated Radiation Protection Regulations in 2020 and a suite of radiation protection regulatory documents in 2021, which are informed by international best practices and standards.

As noted in my testimony, the CNSC is independent, and the current relationship established by Parliament and the Governor-in-Council (reporting through the Minister National Resources Canada) fully respects that independence. Our decisions are risk-informed and science-based, and our regulatory framework is consistent with international standards and best practices. Regular reviews by our international peers confirm that our approach to regulating radioactive waste aligns with the best in the world, but as an organization committed to continuous improvement, we always look for and welcome opportunities to do better.

Your committee has heard many perspectives during its study. It was clear that all recognized the importance of the safe management of radioactive waste now and in the decades and even millennia ahead.

Based on the CNSC’s and our predecessor’s decades-long experience with the oversight and management of radioactive waste in Canada, and the excellent safety record, we are confident that the existing governance structure works well.

We look forward to the Committee’s report on Nuclear Waste Governance in Canada. We would be glad to respond to further questions or issues of interest as required.

Sincerely,

Rumina Velshi

Enclosure: (1)

  • Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Waste Acceptance Criteria for the Proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility

c.c.:  Alexandre Longpré, Clerk of the Committee, alexandre.longpre@parl.gc.ca

Date modified: