The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) conducts annual inspections of the nuclear fuel cycle; here are some of its recent findings.
In its draft 2013 safety assessment, the CNSC stated that all six nuclear power plants were being operated safely:
The CNSC also reported the nuclear power industry scored 14 “fully satisfactory” ratings in 2013, up from 12 such ratings in the previous year. Five of the six power plants received an average score of “satisfactory,” while the newest plant, the Darlington nuclear generating station, received a “fully satisfactory” score.
The CNSC’s 2012 safety assessment found that uranium mines and mills, uranium processing facilities and nuclear substance processing facilities all met safety and environmental protection expectations:
To arrive at these conclusions, the CNSC conducted many inspections at the facilities, which included:
All of the mines and mills scored “satisfactory,” with the Cigar Lake project achieving a “fully satisfactory” score for its conventional health and safety program.
All of the uranium processing facilities scored “satisfactory,” with GE-Hitachi achieving a “fully satisfactory” grade for its environmental protection program.
The two tritium-processing firms – SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc. and Shield Source Inc. – achieved “satisfactory” scores, with SRB achieving “fully satisfactory” performance on its conventional health and safety program. Shield Source Inc. earned three “below expectations” ratings for its management, its operating performance, and its environmental protection program. The company has now ceased operations permanently.
Nordion, which produced radioisotopes for the health- and life-sciences sector, as well as industrial radiation sources, achieved 11 “satisfactory” ratings, along with three “fully satisfactory” ratings, for its environmental protection, conventional health and safety, and security programs.
The 2012 safety assessment represents the most recent published set of findings; the CNSC has completed its 2013 assessment, and the draft CNSC Staff Integrated Safety Assessment of Canadian Nuclear Power Plants for 2013 is available on its website.