Let us be clear. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will never compromise safety and would never issue a licence for uranium processing operations unless the proposed activities were safe.
The licensing process includes a separate and thorough assessment by CNSC staff of BWXT’s application submission. The assessment is based on the best available science and operational experience which informs a recommendation. It is important to note that this recommendation is not in any way an authorization or “preliminary approval” of BWXT’s licence application. The Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal; it will review all the submissions and render an independent decision in due course.
In the Commission member document they submitted to the Commission, CNSC staff made it clear that the risks associated with the licensed activities are mainly due to conventional industrial hazards and radiological hazards from the natural and depleted uranium dioxide (UO2). The risk of nuclear criticality does not exist when handling or processing natural and depleted UO2.
The January open houses in Toronto and Peterborough were intended to provide an overview of the CNSC’s history, mandate and regulatory framework ahead of the public hearing. In terms of public input, the CNSC welcomes it through many channels such as public hearings, consultations on documents for public hearings, public meetings and regulatory documents, and annual reporting through our Regulatory Oversight Review documents.
Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Commission’s public hearing is the legal process used to address comments and present facts pertaining to a licensing decision. Accordingly, the CNSC has communicated broadly that the Commission will be holding a public hearing in Toronto on March 2 and 3, and in Peterborough on March 4, 5 and 6, 2020, to examine the BWXT licence renewal application. The public hearing will be webcast live on the CNSC website at nuclearsafety.gc.ca.
As Canadians continue to change how they consume information, the CNSC is constantly looking to improve how it disseminates information to the public. The CNSC website holds key information about our work and hearings. All of our social media platforms are geared toward sharing news with wide audiences, engaging users more directly and bringing people back to our website. In addition, in every engagement we have had with media, we have conveyed key hearing information and dates to reach the broadest cross-section of the population possible.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission