CNSC creates directorate for new projects

06 May 2008

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced that it has created a new directorate to "meet the new challenges of new major projects."

The Directorate of Regulatory Improvement and Major Projects Management (DRIMPM), part of the Regulatory Operation Branch of the CNSC, will oversee nuclear reactor design reviews, applications for new uranium mining operations and new power reactors, and the ageing of existing facilities.
In a statement, the CNSC said that among the DRIMPM’s responsibilities will be the licensing of new nuclear power reactors and new uranium mines; harmonizing internal CNSC initiatives to support on-going regulatory operations and new build; managing the operations planning process; and overseeing the preparation of the International Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission in May 2009.
In creating the new directorate, the CNSC said that it had separated current regulatory operations from incoming new build projects. This, the CNSC said, would enable it to continue its ongoing regulatory activities while allowing the organization to address the demands of new nuclear power reactors and new uranium mines by focusing expertise where it is needed the most.
The CNSC is responsible for regulating domestic nuclear facilities and is also charged with administering the country's safeguards agreement. It was set up in 2000 under the new Nuclear Safety & Control Act and its regulations, as successor to the Atomic Energy Control Board which had served since 1946. The CNSC reports to parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources.
Canada produces about one third of the world's uranium mine output, much of it from two new mines. After 2011 Canadian production is expected to increase further as more new mines come into production. About 16% of Canada's electricity comes from nuclear power, using indigenous CANDU technology. Eighteen reactors currently provide over 12,600 MWe of power. New nuclear capacity is proposed in three provinces: Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta.