Canada chooses to share IAEA security report

11 April 2016

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has made available the International Atomic Energy Agency's final report on an International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission to Canada last year. The mission concluded that Canada has a mature and well-established nuclear security regime.

IPPAS missions are intended to help IAEA member states strengthen their national nuclear security regime through peer review advice and IAEA guidance. A team of international experts assesses a nation's physical protection systems, compares it with international best practices and recommends improvements. The final report of an IPPAS mission is highly confidential and may only be further shared at the discretion of the host state.

In this case, the CNSC has chosen to share the report as part of its commitment to transparency, although some parts have been redacted to protect "sensitive information".

The IPPAS mission to Canada took place between 19 and 30 October last year with a team of experts from Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, the UK and the IAEA, under the leadership of Nancy Fragoyannis, a senior level advisor at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It reviewed Canada's nuclear security-related legislative and regulatory regime, and security arrangements, including site visits and reviews of physical protection systems at the Bruce nuclear power plant, Ontario Power Generation's Western Waste Management Facility, Nordion's processing facility and the nuclear research reactor at McMaster University. It included meetings with officials from the CNSC and other Canadian agencies.

Canada's nuclear security regime was reviewed across five different modules covering: nuclear material and nuclear facilities at the national level; specific nuclear facilities; transport; the security of radioactive materials and associated facilities and activities; and computer security. Canada was one of the first nations to request an IPPAS mission covering all five IPPAS modules.

In the final report, the IPPAS team noted that Canada "has established and maintains a robust and comprehensive nuclear infrastructure", that it "is adhering and contributing to all international instruments relevant to nuclear security" and that its nuclear security legislation "is continually being updated and enhanced".

The team noted that the CNSC "encourages the adoption of good nuclear security practices that exceed current regulatory requirements". This was most obvious, it said, in transport security, computer security, emergency preparedness and security response. The team made three recommendations - one relating to a review of the resources available to CNSC and two relating to computer security - and 30 suggestions. It also identified 21 good practices during the mission.

CNSC president Michael Binder said he was proud the IPPAS report showed the organisation and Canadian nuclear licensees had continued to identify opportunities to enhance current nuclear safety practices. "The CNSC will keep working to ensure a strong nuclear safety and security regime in our country and around the world," he said.

The Canadian visit was the 68th mission conducted by the IAEA since the IPPAS program began in 1995.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News