(Updated 2022)


This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear energy in Canada, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operation of nuclear power plants.

The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory, and international framework in Canada.

Canada has been a world leader in nuclear energy since the development of Canada's own CANDU reactor technology by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), which was founded in 1952. Rooted in this history, nuclear energy is an important part of Canada's current clean energy mix and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country's low carbon future. This includes not only the contributions of nuclear energy to Canada's clean energy mix and climate change targets, but continued investments in Canada's nuclear science and technology capabilities and exploration of the potential applications of innovative nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors (SMRs).

Nuclear energy is the second largest source of non-emitting electricity in Canada, with 19 commercial nuclear power reactors located in Ontario and New Brunswick that produce approximately 15% of Canada's electricity supply. This includes approximately 60% of the electricity supply in the province of Ontario and 36% in New Brunswick. Canada is also the world's second largest uranium producer, with over 8% of total world production coming from mines in Saskatchewan in 2020. Most of Canada's uranium production is exported for use in nuclear power throughout the world.



1.1.1. Energy policy

Energy is an important contributor to Canada's economy, representing approximately 8% of GDP, $95.1 billion in exports and 842,500 jobs (direct and indirect). Canada's emissions are largely dominated by the use, production and consumption of energy (representing approximately 81% of emissions).

The responsibilities of the federal and provincial levels of government with respect to energy are clearly delineated in the Canadian Constitution; however, in practice, many energy issues are a shared responsibility that require coordinated action. Provincial governments are the direct managers of most of the country's natural resources and have responsibility for energy management within their borders. Constitutionally, the Federal Government is responsible for international and interprovincial trade and energy infrastructure, the management of energy resources on federal Crown land, offshore and in the northern territories, as well as the regulation of all nuclear materials and activities in Canada and nuclear research and development (R&D). The federal and provincial governments share responsibilities for environmental regulation of energy projects and non-nuclear scientific R&D. As such, the primary principles that guide Canadian energy policy are:

  1. Respect for jurisdictional authority: The roles of the provinces and territories.

  2. Market orientation: Competitive markets are generally the most efficient means of determining supply, demand, prices and trade while ensuring an efficient, competitive and innovative energy system that is responsive to Canada's energy needs.

  3. Targeted interventions: When markets cannot achieve policy objectives, the government should intervene through regulation or other means. These policy objectives include issues of science and technology (e.g., R&D and fiscal support), health and safety (e.g., pipeline regulation), and environmental sustainability (e.g., carbon pricing).

Canadian energy policies have evolved to reflect individual provincial, territorial or regional strengths. For example, Quebec and Manitoba, both rich in hydroelectric resources, have almost entirely non-emitting power systems in place and are looking for opportunities to increase electrification, such as in transportation. Meanwhile, provinces that are hydro-poor but fossil fuel-rich such as Alberta and Saskatchewan have developed energy systems that are reliant on hydrocarbons. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have a wide range of policies aimed at increasing the uptake of clean energy and decreasing reliance on the highest-emitting sources of energy (e.g., coal and diesel). These policies include significant partnerships and investments aimed at accelerating the development of strategic interconnections to deliver clean electricity to places that need it, emerging non-emitting energy technologies to expand the portfolio of commercially viable non-emitting energy sources and technologies, and smart grid systems to increase the reliability, resiliency, and penetration of renewable energy generation.

Though Canada remains an energy intensive country, the Government of Canada seeks to enable the environmentally responsible production and use of energy, while ensuring the growth and competitiveness of the Canadian economy, along with the availability of secure and competitively priced energy and the protection of energy infrastructure. Canada's current energy policy continues to be informed by Generation Energy, a dialogue about Canada's energy future that was launched in 2017. Over 380,000 Canadians and international experts participated in this national conversation which was summarized by an expert-led report Canada's Energy Transition: Getting to Our Future, Together published in 2018. This dialogue confirmed a broad understanding of energy challenges and opportunities facing Canada and informed the four pathways along which current federal energy policies are focused:

  1. Saving energy;

  2. Powering clean communities;

  3. Using more renewable fuels;

  4. Powering the world.

These efforts are supported by a strong emphasis on innovation through research, development, demonstration, and deployment of clean technologies and practices.

In May 2015, Canada announced its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. This set the stage for Canada to become one of the initial 177 countries that adopted the Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change during December 2015. Together with international partners, Canada agreed to strengthen the global response to limit the average temperature rise to well below 2 C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 C.

During December 2016, Canada's federal, provincial, and territorial governments adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The framework outlined how Canada would meet its target of reducing emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 and supports its long-term low-GHG development strategy, which aimed to reduce Canada's GHG emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by mid-century. Over fifty concrete measures to reduce carbon pollution, adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, foster clean technology solutions, and create jobs that contribute to strengthening the economy were included in the framework. Canada continues to implement measures contained in the Pan-Canadian Framework, including through federal investments in clean energy innovation and partnerships with provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments and other stakeholders.

During December 2019, the Canadian Federal Government committed to the continued implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework, while strengthening existing and introducing new GHG emissions reduction measures. The Federal Government also committed to develop a plan to set Canada on a path to achieve a prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050.

During December 2020, the Canadian Federal Government released a strengthened climate plan A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy outlining additional policy and program measures to help Canada meet its GHG emissions reduction targets of 30% by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. The 2030 target was then raised in April 2021, when the Federal Government committed to reducing GHG emissions by 40-45% by that year. Canada's new 2030 target was confirmed in Canada's updated Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in July 2021.

1.1.2. Estimated available energy


Fossil fuels Nuclear Renewables
Solid Liquid Gas Uranium Hydro Other
Total amount in specific units* 6582 22983 1932 565,000 80.8 17.8
Total amount in exajoules (EJ) 193 1004 72 282.5 1.413 0.158

*Solid, Liquid: Million tonnes; Gas: Billion m3; Uranium: Metric tonnes @US$130/kgU;; Hydro, Renewable: GW.

-: data not available.

Source: Refer to NRCan energy statistics for oil, natural gas, and coal and lignite. Uranium data is from the 2020 NEA Red Book Uranium 2020: Resources, Production and Demand. A Joint Report by the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency

For hydro and other renewables see Natural Resources Canada, Statistics Canada Catalogues 57-003, 57-202 and 57-206, CANSIM Table 128-0017, and micro data from the Electric Power Generating Stations Survey, the Electricity Supply and Disposition Survey and the Electric Power Thermal Generating Station Fuel Consumption Survey.

Note: Hydro and other renewables reports the actual electricity installed capacity and production in 2017 Hydro potential is ~161 TW, whereas without any economic qualifiers wind and solar potential is infinite.

1.1.3. Energy Consumption Statistics


Final Energy consumption [PJ] 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Compound
annual growth
rate 2000-2020 (%)
Total 7 875 7 999 7 791 8 154 7 732 -0.09
Coal, Lignate and Peat 193 195 169 140 113 -2.63
Oil 3 363 3 690 3 741 3 814 3 327 -0.05
Natural gas 2 036 1 770 1 670 1 862 1 958 -0.19
Bioenergy and Waste 495 526 457 504 447 -0.52
Electricity 1 755 1 779 1 734 1 805 1 863 0.30
Heat 34 38 20 30 24 -1.74

*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.

-: data not available.

Source(s): United Nations Statistical Division, OECD/IEA and IAEA RDS-1


1.2.1. Electricity system and decision making process

Under the Constitution, electricity generation, transmission, and distribution falls primarily under the jurisdiction of the provinces. Provinces are responsible for most aspects of regulation and energy sector development within their geographical boundaries, including electricity policy and power generation. While the three Canadian territories of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut do not share these constitutional authorities, jurisdiction over electrical energy has been devolved to them under the Yukon Act, the Northwest Territories Act, and the Nunavut Act, respectively. The provinces and territories therefore have the authority to govern their electricity systems. A province or territory is free to decide the sources of its electricity supply and the design of its electricity markets. The Federal Government's role is restricted to nuclear energy policy and regulation, the regulation of international transmission lines and electricity exports, and the regulation of interprovincial transmission lines that are designated by the Governor in Council. Both levels of governments are involved in electricity research.

1.2.2. Structure of electric power sector

Canada has an exceptionally clean electricity generation system, with approximately 82% of electricity supply coming from non emitting sources in 2018. Canada is aiming to increase this figure to 90% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada's hydroelectric resources represent a large part of this supply, totaling about 60% of total electricity supply. The remaining 22% is made up of nuclear energy (15%) and other renewable energy (7%). That said, the provincial and territorial electricity supply portfolios are quite varied. Electricity generation in Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, Manitoba, Yukon and Quebec is primarily from hydropower, hydroelectricity generated exceeds 80% of total provincial supply in these jurisdictions). Hydropower and nuclear power represent the major sources of electricity in Ontario. Coal and natural gas dominate in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. In New Brunswick, nuclear power is largest contributor to electricity generation (38%) with hydropower, natural gas and coal making up the remaining contributions. Northwest Territories and Nunavut rely primarily on diesel, while wind power represents almost the entirety of electricity generated on Prince Edward Island, though the province imports a majority of its electricity from New Brunswick.

Canada's electricity industry is largely characterized by public (i.e. provincial or municipal) ownership in seven of ten provinces and its three territories. Three provinces (Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) feature private ownership of their utility sector. Eight of ten provinces maintain a single company with vertically integrated structures. Alberta and Ontario have opted for unbundling of generation and transmission/distribution since deregulation in the 1990s, including the creation of a competitive retail market for all final consumers of electricity. However, Ontario has maintained primary public ownership of these differing generation/transmission/distribution utility functions, whereas Alberta features private ownership. Both provinces feature private ownership of competitive resellers of electricity to final consumers.

At the distribution/supply level, large cities in Alberta and Ontario have municipally owned utilities, such as Toronto Hydro, Hydro Ottawa and Alectra in Ontario and EPCOR and ENMAX in Alberta, which are owned respectively by the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary.

There are a few private industry players, such as Nova Scotia Power, Fortis BC, Newfoundland Power, and Maritime Electric in Prince Edward Island. An increasing number of independent (renewable) power producers can be found in most provinces.

The main drivers for these changes include political support for competitive markets, technological developments that have led to smaller generating stations, development of variable renewable generation, and the need to seek lower electricity costs for industrial customers.

The following table indicates the entities involved in providing electricity generation, transmission and distribution services in each province and territory.


Electricity production (GWh) 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Compound
annual growth
rate 2000-2020 (%)
Total 605 675 620 752 600 022 657 790 640 449 0.28
Coal, Lignate and Peat 117 588 100 586 79 541 62 055 34 660 -5.93
Oil 14 690 15 649 8 338 7 910 5 672 -4.65
Natural gas 33 472 40 945 51 883 64 639 66 601 3.50
Bioenergy and Waste 8 226 7 917 9 162 9 252 10 182 1.07
Hydro 358 620 362 031 351 461 382 266 384 745 0.35
Nuclear 72 799 92 040 90 658 101 809 98 211 1.51
Wind 264 1 567 8 724 26 964 36 100 27.88
Solar 16 17 255 2 895 4 280 32.24
Geothermal 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Other 0 0 3 006 141 123 0.00
Tidal 32 28 28 13 0 -100.00

1.2.3. Main indicators


Final Energy consumption [PJ] 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2021*
Nulcear/total electricity(%) 11.8 14.5 15.1 16.6 14.6 14.3

*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.

**Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.

-: data not available.

Source: United Nations Statistical Division, OECD/IEA and IAEA RDS-1



2.1.1. Overview

Canada is a Tier 1 nuclear nation, with over 60 years of experience with nuclear energy and a full-spectrum supply chain. Canada's successful nuclear program is based on its unique heavy water natural uranium reactor technology, the CANDU (CANadian Deuterium Uranium) reactor, which uses pressurized fuel channels instead of a pressure vessel, natural uranium fuel instead of enriched uranium, and heavy water as a coolant/moderator instead of the light water that is found in pressurized water reactor designs. Canada's nuclear expertise spans across the entire fuel cycle, from uranium mining, to research and development (R&D), reactor design, decommissioning and waste management.

The Canadian nuclear industry is a significant contributor to the Canadian economy in terms of GDP, government revenue, and employment. Canada's nuclear sector contributes CAD13 billion per year to Canada's GDP, with approximately 70,000 direct and indirect jobs across the nation.

There are currently 19 CANDU reactors in operation in Canada. Nuclear energy provides about 15% of Canada's electricity needs. The many milestones of the Canadian nuclear programme include (individual reactor capacity figures are approximate, refer to Table 5 for more detailed information):

  1. In 1955, AECL, Ontario Hydro and Canadian General Electric made a commitment to build the first small scale prototype 22 MW(e) CANDU, the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor in Rolphton, Ontario, which began supplying the Ontario power grid in 1962.

  2. The Douglas Point Nuclear Generating Station, was constructed in Kincardine, Bruce County, Ontario. The 200 MW(e) reactor went into service in 1967; NDP and Douglas Point, established the technological base for the larger commercial units to follow and launched Canada's nuclear power programme.

  3. Two 500 MW(e) reactors at Pickering, Ontario, were committed to under a tripartite agreement between Ontario Hydro, AECL and the Federal Government; Ontario Hydro later committed to two more units to build an integrated four unit station; the units (Pickering A) came into operation between 1971 and 1973.

  4. Gentilly-1, a 250 MW(e) boiling light water reactor was constructed in Becancour. Quebec . It was put into service in 1972 and operated intermittently until 1978.

  5. Conceptual design studies on the Bruce A station were initiated in 1968; the 4 800 MW(e) unit Bruce A station came into service from 1976 to 1978.

  6. AECL developed the CANDU 6 reactor design and was successful in selling them starting in the 1970s: a single unit at Gentilly-2 (Hydro-Quebec began operating in 1982 and a single unit at Point Lepreau (New Brunswick Power also began operating in 1982).

  7. There are 31 CANDU reactors in operation globally, including twelve CANDU 6 reactors sold abroad to Argentina, China, India, Pakistan, Romania, and South Korea.

  8. In July 1974, Ontario Hydro decided to add four units to the Pickering site; these came into service as Pickering B from 1983 to 1986.

  9. Four additional units 872 MW (e) at Bruce B came into service from 1984 to 1987; four 900 MW(e) units at Darlington came into service from 1990 to 1994.

  10. Decision to lay up the eight units at Bruce A and Pickering A were made from 1995 to 1998 after an independent review of the plant's operations.

  11. Pickering A Units 4 and 1 were subsequently refurbished and returned to service in 2003 and 2005, respectively. In 2005, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) previously known as Ontario Hydro decided that Units 2 and 3 would remain in safe shutdown state and not be refurbished.

  12. In 2001, OPG entered into an agreement with Bruce Power, a private sector consortium, to lease its Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear generation station; Bruce Power successfully restarted Units 3 and 4 of Bruce A in 2004 and 2003, respectively. In 2005, it undertook a multibillion dollar project to refurbish and restart Units 1 and 2.

  13. In 2002, through the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, the Government of Canada assigned responsibility for the long term management of Canada's spent nuclear fuel to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), established by OPG, Hydro-Quebec , and New Brunswick Power Corporation on a not for profit basis.

  14. In 2006, OPG applied for a licence to prepare site for the Darlington New Nuclear Project. Technical submissions were received during September 2009, and a 10 year site preparation licence was issued in 2012.

  15. In 2007, the Government of Canada selected the NWMO's recommendation of Adaptive Phased Management (APM), for the long term management of spent fuel in Canada. This approach includes isolating and containing spent fuel in a deep geological repository (DGR) in a suitable rock formation in a willing and informed host community.

  16. During February 2010, OPG announced its intention to proceed with the refurbishment of its four nuclear power reactors at Darlington.

  17. During May 2010, the NWMO initiated its siting process to identify an informed and willing community with a safe and suitable site to host a DGR. Through the siting process, 22 communities came forward to engage with the NWMO and learn more about the APM approach, and as of January 2020 there are two Ontario communities that continue to participate in the site-selection process. As of January 2021, the NWMO has narrowed its focus to two areas: The Township of Ignace in northwestern Ontario, and the Municipality of South Bruce in southern Ontario. The NWMO expects to be in a position to select a preferred site by 2023. The project will only proceed with interested communities, First Nation and M tis communities, and surrounding municipalities, working together to implement it.

  18. On 2 October 2011, as part of the restructuring of AECL, the Government of Canada completed the sale of the assets of AECL's CANDU Reactor Division to CANDU Energy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin.

  19. The refurbishment of Bruce A Units 1 and 2 and Point Lepreau were completed, and the units returned to service in 2012. On 28 December 2012, a decision was made to shut down Gentilly-2. Hydro-Quebec is currently undertaking activities to prepare for the storage with surveillance phase.

  20. During September 2015, a Government-owned, contractor-operated model was implemented at AECL's sites (including sites being decommissioned and the nuclear laboratories). Under this model, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a private sector contractor, manages and operates AECL's sites on its behalf. AECL continues to own the sites, facilities, assets and liabilities. As part of this, the Federal Government announced an investment of $1.2 billion to revitalize AECL's Chalk River Laboratories, Canada's largest nuclear science and technology complex.

  21. During September 2015, the Government-owned, contractor-operated model was implemented at AECL's sites (including sites being decommissioned and the nuclear laboratories). Under this model, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a private sector contractor, manages and operates AECL's sites on its behalf. AECL continues to own the sites, facilities, assets and liabilities.

  22. In 2016, the province of Ontario announced it was investing $26 billion over 15 years to extend the lives of 10 nuclear reactors, extending each lifespan by approximately 30 years to maintain nuclear power capacity at 9.9 gigawatts electric (GWe).

    1. During October 2016, OPG began the refurbishment of its reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Refurbishment of the first reactor Unit 2 was completed in 2020. OPG estimates that the refurbishment of all four units will be complete in 2026 and that the station should remain operational until approximately2055.

    2. In 2017, Bruce Power reached an agreement with the Province of Ontario to complete the refurbishment of the remaining units at the Bruce site, Units 3 and 4 at the Bruce A station and Units 5 to 8 at the Bruce B station. Refurbishment began in 2020 for Unit 6. Upon completion, the plant is expected to remain operation until approximately 2064.

  23. In 2018, the Federal Government convened interested provinces and territories, industry, Indigenous communities and civil society together to develop Canada's Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Roadmap to chart a path forward on the development of SMR technology in Canada. Over the course of 10 months, through a series of expert working groups and workshops, the Roadmap gathered feedback on the direction for the possible development and deployment of SMRs in Canada. The SMR Roadmap was released during November 2018, and contains 53 recommendations for a number of partners, including recommendations for the Federal Government.

  24. Building on the Roadmap process, a number of initiatives are being pursued in Canada to support SMR development.

    1. In April 2018, CNL invited SMR vendors to submit applications to site an SMR at AECL sites. Several SMR designs are currently under consideration, with one vendor in the initial stages of site licensing with the CNSC (see below). As of 2021, four project proponents are engaged in various stages with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to site SMR demonstrations at a federal lab site. On 20 March 2019, the CNSC received its first licensing application for an SMR project at the Chalk River Laboratories.

    2. As of April 2020, twelve SMR vendors are participating in CNSC's Vendor Design Review an optional, pre-licensing step.

    3. On December 1, 2019, the Premiers of Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick signed an MOU to cooperate on the development of SMRs to address climate change, regional energy demand, economic development and research and innovation opportunities. Alberta also signed onto the MOU in August 2020.

  25. During December 2020, Canada's SMR Action Plan was launched. The Action Plan is the result of a pan-Canadian effort bringing together key enablers from across Canada, including the Federal Government, provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous Peoples, power utilities, industry, innovators, laboratories, academia, and civil society. Each of these key enablers has contributed a chapter to the Action Plan that describes a concrete set of actions they are taking to seize the SMR opportunity for Canada. The Action Plan responds to all 53 recommendations in Canada's SMR Roadmap and also includes voluntary actions that go beyond the SMR Roadmap recommendations. The Action Plan website invites interested organizations to direct questions and submit chapters to the generic Natural Resource Nuclear Energy Division inbox. New chapters from interested organizations are to be received and posted on the site on an ongoing basis. The Action Plan website will be updated annually to reflect progress made by all partners towards achieving the actions outlined in their chapters.

  26. Additionally, the Government of Canada is committed to continuous improvement on the management of radioactive waste in Canada. From 16 November 2020, to 31 May 2021, NRCan, undertook an extensive engagement process to hear the views and perspectives of interested Canadians, including Indigenous Peoples, on how they would like to see the radioactive waste policy modernized. NRCan officials led the engagement process with the support of other Federal Government departments with responsibilities for the management of radioactive waste in Canada.

2.1.2. Current organizational structure

FIG. 1. Federal reporting structure.

The Department of Natural Resources (Natural Resources Canada) reports directly to the Minister of Natural Resources, while the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and AECL report to Parliament through the Minister.


2.2.1. Status and performance of nuclear power plants


Reactor Unit Type Net
Status Operator Reactor
First Grid
BRUCE-1 PHWR 774 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1971-06-01 1976-12-17 1977-01-14 1977-09-01 80.2
BRUCE-2 PHWR 777 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1970-12-01 1976-07-27 1976-09-04 1977-09-01 99.4
BRUCE-3 PHWR 770 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1972-07-01 1977-11-28 1977-12-12 1978-02-01 45.1
BRUCE-4 PHWR 769 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1972-09-01 1978-12-10 1978-12-21 1979-01-18 100
BRUCE-5 PHWR 817 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1978-05-31 1984-11-14 1984-12-01 1985-02-28 99.8
BRUCE-6 PHWR 817 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1978-01-01 1984-05-29 1984-06-26 1984-09-14 0
BRUCE-7 PHWR 817 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1979-05-01 1986-01-07 1986-02-22 1986-04-10 82.8
BRUCE-8 PHWR 817 Operational BRUCEPOW OH/AECL 1979-07-30 1987-02-13 1987-03-07 1987-05-20 96.1
DARLINGTON-1 PHWR 878 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1982-04-01 1990-10-29 1990-12-19 1992-11-14 74.3
DARLINGTON-2 PHWR 878 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1981-09-01 1989-11-05 1990-01-15 1990-10-09 95.3
DARLINGTON-3 PHWR 878 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1984-09-01 1992-11-09 1992-12-07 1993-02-14 0
DARLINGTON-4 PHWR 878 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1985-07-01 1993-03-13 1993-04-17 1993-06-14 78
DOUGLAS POINT PHWR 206 Permanent Shutdown OH AECL 1960-02-01 1966-11-15 1967-01-07 1968-09-26 1984-05-04 0
GENTILLY-1 HWLWR 250 Permanent Shutdown HQ AECL 1966-09-01 1970-11-12 1971-04-05 1972-05-01 1977-06-01 0
GENTILLY-2 PHWR 635 Permanent Shutdown HQ AECL 1974-04-01 1982-09-11 1982-12-04 1983-10-01 2012-12-28 0
PICKERING-1 PHWR 515 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1966-06-01 1971-02-25 1971-04-04 1971-07-29 93.3
PICKERING-2 PHWR 515 Permanent Shutdown OPG OH/AECL 1966-09-01 1971-09-15 1971-10-06 1971-12-30 2007-05-28 0
PICKERING-3 PHWR 515 Permanent Shutdown OPG OH/AECL 1967-12-01 1972-04-24 1972-05-03 1972-06-01 2008-10-31 0
PICKERING-4 PHWR 515 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1968-05-01 1973-05-16 1973-05-21 1973-06-17 96.1
PICKERING-5 PHWR 516 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1974-11-01 1982-10-23 1982-12-19 1983-05-10 71.1
PICKERING-6 PHWR 516 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1975-10-01 1983-10-15 1983-11-08 1984-02-01 93.5
PICKERING-7 PHWR 516 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1976-03-01 1984-10-22 1984-11-17 1985-01-01 62.4
PICKERING-8 PHWR 516 Operational OPG OH/AECL 1976-09-01 1985-12-17 1986-01-21 1986-02-28 56.1
POINT LEPREAU PHWR 660 Operational NBEPC AECL 1975-05-01 1982-07-25 1982-09-11 1983-02-01 76.4
ROLPHTON NPD PHWR 22 Permanent Shutdown OH CGE 1958-01-01 1962-04-11 1962-06-04 1962-10-01 1987-08-01 0

*Latest available data.

Source: RDS-1 and RDS-2

-: data not available.

In their annual report: Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Generating Sites: 2020 CNSC staff presented the safety performance of nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Canada in 2020. CNSC staff concluded that the NPPs operated safely in 2020.

This conclusion was based on detailed CNSC staff assessments of findings from compliance verification activities for each facility in the context of fourteen CNSC safety and control areas. The conclusion was also supported by safety performance measures and other observations.

Important performance measures and observations include the following:

  • The NPP licensees followed approved procedures and took appropriate corrective action for all events reported to the CNSC.

  • NPPs operated within the bounds of their operating policies and principles.

  • There were no serious process failures at the NPPs. The number of unplanned transients and trips in the reactors was low and acceptable to CNSC staff. All unplanned transients in the reactors were properly controlled and adequately managed.

  • Radiation doses to the public were well below the regulatory limits.

  • Radiation doses to workers at the NPPs were below the regulatory limits.

  • The frequency and severity of non-radiological injuries to workers were very low.

  • Radiological releases to the environment from the NPPs were below regulatory limits.

  • Licensees met the applicable requirements related to Canada's international obligations; safeguards inspection results were acceptable to the IAEA.

2.2.2. Plant upgrading, plant life management and licence renewals

Nuclear power plants have comprehensive programs in place for plant life management. These programs include specific life cycle management programs for critical components.

In Canada, licences to operate nuclear power plants are typically renewed every ten years. These renewals are opportunities for the Commission to ensure that the operation of the plants is in accordance with the updated requirements. Licensees also support licence renewals by conducting periodic safety reviews, which identify gaps of the design and operation with modern standards and practices and implements upgrades to address the gaps that are practicably achievable in the next licence period.

In addition, licensees have also undertaken major refurbishment projects. In contrast with incremental life extension operations in light water reactors, refurbishment of CANDU heavy water reactors are more comprehensive projects that often involve a complete replacement of major components. They include disassembling the reactor core, including the removal of pressure tubes, calandria tubes and end fittings before new components are installed. Through refurbishment, CANDU reactors can remain in service for approximately another 30 years.

Maintaining nuclear as a key component of Canada's baseload electricity supply will be an important part of realizing Canada's climate-change goals. The province of Ontario is investing $26 billion over 2016-2031 to extend the life of 10 nuclear reactors, extending their lifespan by approximately 30 years to maintain nuclear power capacity at 9.9 gigawatts electric (GWe). The $26 billion refurbishment of the Darlington and Bruce facilities, the largest current energy investment in Canada, will ensure that nuclear continues to play a key role in achieving Canada's low carbon future.

In contrast with incremental life extension operations in light water reactors, refurbishment of CANDU heavy water reactors are more comprehensive projects that often involve a complete replacement of major components.

The overall refurbishment plan for the Ontario nuclear generating stations entails the sequential refurbishment of units at both the Darlington and Bruce sites. The first refurbishments at Darlington began with Unit 2 in 2016 and are expected to finish in 2026; and the Bruce project started with Unit 6 in 2020 and is planned to be completed by 2033. Refurbishments of Ontario's Bruce A Units 1 and 2 and New Brunswick's Point Lepreau nuclear station have already been completed, with the units returning to service in fall 2012. Pickering, Ontario's third operating nuclear power plant, was originally scheduled to shut down in 2020, but will continue to operate until 2024. The CNSC extended the plant's licence from 1 September 2018 to 31August 2028. This 10-year licence includes three stages: (i) continued commercial operation until 2024; (ii) stabilization activities (e.g., post shutdown defueling and dewatering); and (iii) safe storage with surveillance.

OPG submitted an application to renew its licence to prepare site for the Darlington New Nuclear Project in June 2020. This renewal application was assessed against REGDOC-1.1.1, Site Evaluation and Site Preparation for New Reactor Facilities, which was published in 2018 and incorporates lessons learned from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP. A Commission hearing took place during June 2021 and a Record of Decision was made to renew the site preparation license on 12 October 2021.

2.2.3. Permanent shutdown and decommissioning process

Pickering A Units 2 and 3

As noted above, Units 2 and 3 at Pickering A were laid up in the late nineties and OPG decided in 2005 to maintain them in a safe shutdown state. OPG plans to decommission them as part of the decommissioning of the other Pickering A units, which remain in operation.


The Gentilly-2 facility, operated by Hydro-Quebec , is located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Becancour. Quebec , about 15 km east of Trois-Rivi res.

The CANDU reactor has a nominal capacity of 675 MW(e) (megawatts electrical). It went into commercial operation in 1983. Based on a recommendation from Hydro-Quebec , the Government of Quebec decided in 2012 to close Gentilly-2. The reactor was shut down on 28 December 2012 and completely defueled by 3September 2013. In 2015, Gentilly-2 transitioned into a safe storage state and its fuel is stored in the irradiated fuel bay and dry storage; transfer of spent fuel from the irradiated fuel bay to dry storage was completed during December 2020.

A financial guarantee is a tangible commitment by a licensee that there will be sufficient resources to safely terminate licensed activities. When licensees terminate their activities, they must properly account for the safe disposal of all licensed material and equipment and must demonstrate that all locations associated with the licence are free of radioactive contamination. A financial guarantee does not relieve licensees from complying with regulatory requirements for termination of licensed activities but ensures there are funds available when licensees are unable to carry out safe termination. In August 2017, the CNSC accepted the total financial guarantee proposed by Hydro-Quebec as a financial guarantee for the future decommissioning of the Gentilly-2 nuclear reactor and the nuclear waste facilities location in Becancour.

The Gentilly-2 decommissioning plan includes the dismantling of all systems and structures, the remediation of any radioactive contamination or harmful or potentially dangerous substances to comply with prescribed limits, and the long term management of radioactive waste, including spent fuel. As the decommissioning strategy adopted by Hydro-Quebec has a 40-year dormancy period, the dismantling will be gradually phased in.

During April 2016, a Commission hearing as well as operational and performance discussions took place regarding Hydro-Quebec 's application to obtain a decommissioning licence. On 22 June 2016, the Commission announced its decision to issue a power reactor decommissioning licence to Hydro-Quebec for the Gentilly-2 facility. The licence is valid from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2026.

AECL's shutdown reactors

CNL is responsible for the decommissioning of AECL's shutdown reactors at three prototype reactor sites in Ontario and Quebec. These include the Douglas Point prototype reactor in Tiverton, Ontario, the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor in Rolphton, Ontario, and the Gentilly-1 prototype reactor in Becancour. Quebec

The Douglas Point reactor and the Gentilly-1 reactor are both permanently shut down and are owned by AECL and managed by CNL. In 2021 CNL received authorization from the CNSC to begin active decommissioning (dismantlement) for portions of the Douglas Point facility (everything except for the spent fuel canister area, the reactor core and containment structure. A Commission hearing was held during November 2020 and a waste facility decommissioning license was issued during March 2021. The current strategy for Gentilly-1 is to continue with the existing storage with surveillance, while CNL focuses on eliminating hazards to people and the environment. Activities at these sites are being carried out in accordance with CNL's Waste Facility Decommissioning Licences.

CNL has proposed in situ decommissioning of the NPD prototype reactor. This proposal involves the removal of the above-ground portions of the reactor and the grouting in place of the contaminated components inside the below-ground portions of the facility. The facility would then be capped and monitored in this form over the long term as radioactive waste disposal facilities. An environmental assessment and licence amendment application for this project are underway.


Reactor unit Shutdown reason Decommission strategy Current decommissioning phase Current fuel management phase Decommissioning licensee Licence terminated year
Gentilly-2 End of life Controlled reactor shut down (completed)
Defuel reactor core (wet storage, completed)
De-water and vacuum dry the primary heat transport system and moderator system (completed)
Drain all station systems (completed)
Move fuel from wet storage to dry storage (by 2020)
Dismantle reactor components (to be completed 2059-2064)
Fuel transferred to dry storage onsite. HQ is continuing to maintain the facility in a safe shutdown state. Dry storage Hydro-Quebec Decommissioning licence: 2026
Gentilly-1 End of life Facility is currently in storage with surveillance. - Fuel transferred to dry storage onsite. CNL is continuing to maintain the facility in a safe shutdown state. Dry storage Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Decommissioning licence: 2034
Douglas Point End of life Decommissioning activities are underway.

- Fuel transferred to dry storage onsite. CNL has started decommissioning activities, with a focus on dismantling non-nuclear buildings while future plans are being developed. Dry storage Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Decommissioning licence: 2030
Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) End of life Facility is currently under storage with surveillance.
In situ decommissioning is being planned (environmental assessment/licence amendment underway).
- Fuel transferred to dry storage offsite.
- Currently seeking regulatory approval for in-situ decommissioning.
Dry storage (at Chalk River Laboratories) Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Decommissioning licence: 2034


2.3.1. Nuclear power development strategy

Refurbishment and Long Term Operation of Existing Facilities Remains the Main Strategy for Maintaining Nuclear Energy for the Long Term

Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada's current clean energy mix. It is the second-largest source of non-emitting electricity in Canada, providing approximately 15% of Canada's overall electricity supply. Nuclear energy displaces around 50 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year across Canada, and Canadian exports of uranium displace global emissions by roughly 270 551 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year (as compared with coal).

Of the 23 CANDU nuclear power reactors built in Canada, 19 power reactors currently operate, generating 13.7 GWe of power capacity, with 18 reactors supplying about 60% of Ontario's electricity and one reactor supplying about 40% of New Brunswick's electricity demand. Combined, these make an important contribution to Canada's 82% decarbonized electricity mix.

The decision to refurbish Ontario's nuclear reactors represents a commitment to the development and growth of a strong, safe, and sustainable nuclear sector in Canada. The $26 billion refurbishment of the Darlington and Bruce facilities, being the second largest energy investment in Canada to date, will support the growth of Canada's nuclear sector over the next decade or more, ensuring that nuclear continues to play a key role in achieving Canada's low carbon future.


Reactor unit/Project name Owner Type Net Capacity in MW(e) Construction start year Expected date of Return to Service
Darlington Nuclear Power Plant refurbishment OPG CANDU 3,512 2016 2026
Bruce Nuclear Power Plant refurbishment OPG with site leased to Bruce Power. Bruce is responsible for managing the refurbishment project CANDU 4,807 2020 (start of Major Component Replacement for units 3-8) 2033

Support for export projects

Although no CANDU new build projects are currently planned in Canada, the Government of Canada continues to support Canadian industry in providing products and services for existing nuclear plants in Canada and abroad, and in pursuing CANDU export opportunities.

The potential role of small modular reactors (SMRs) in new build projects

SMRs are nuclear reactor facilities that are smaller in size and power output than conventional gigawatt class nuclear power reactors, with enhanced safety features and can range from as small as 1 MW per generating unit to as large as approximately 300 MW per generating unit. The developers of these technologies being proposed are seeking to take advantage of a host of new approaches to assure a high degree of safety performance while improving aspects such as constructability, ease of operation and reducing waste streams. As a result, SMR technologies are a key opportunity being explored in Canada by both industry and governments. In 2018, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) convened the Canadian SMR Roadmap, a pan-Canadian, stakeholder-driven initiative bringing together provinces, territories, utilities, industry and other interested stakeholders to chart a path forward for this technology in Canada. Throughout the process, more than 180 individuals from 55 organizations were engaged, including governments, industry, laboratories, regulators, academia, labour unions and civil society. Engagement also included initial dialogues with representatives from northern and remote, including Indigenous, communities. The process unfolded through five technical working groups to undertake expert analysis and six workshops across Canada.

This report, the SMR Roadmap (, found that SMRs could have significant economic and environmental benefits for Canada, and that success will rely on strategic partnerships across the sector and internationally. The report made over 50 recommendations to all essential enablers for Canada to seize this opportunity.

Canada's SMR Action Plan, launched during December 2020 provides a public and comprehensive Team Canada response to the recommendations made in the SMR Roadmap. As per the Statement of Principles (, the Action Plan complements and highlights ongoing work to develop and deploy SMRs in Canada and internationally by showcasing the actions being undertaken by a diverse range of stakeholders to seize Canada's SMR opportunity, as well as the alignment between government and partners.

Through the Action Plan NRCan will foster collaboration between partners with an interest in SMRs, from technology developers, to Indigenous Peoples, to EPCs, to civil society organizations, to potential end users. In launching the Action Plan, NRCan aims to send a strong domestic and international policy signal that Canada is the place to be for SMR development, encouraging investment by the private sector and other partners. By bringing together a wide range of voices to discuss challenges and priorities on an ongoing basis, NRCan also aims to ensure that SMRs are developed and deployed in a way that is consistent with federal priorities of creating jobs, economic development, and reducing emissions.

Building on the Roadmap process and Action Plan commitments, a number of initiatives are being pursued in Canada to support SMR development:

  • CNL has sought to host one or more demonstration SMRs at an AECL site and initiated an Invitation for Demonstration in 2018. There are currently four proposals which have passed various stages of the process. U-Battery Canada Ltd.'s 4 MWe high temperature gas reactor, StarCore Nuclear's 14 MWe high temperature gas reactor and Terrestrial Energy's 190 MWe integral molten salt reactor all passed Stage 1 of CNL's process. Global First Power's 5 MWe high temperature gas reactor has entered into Stage 3.

  • With respect to research and development (R&D), AECL's Federal Nuclear Science and Technology (FNST) Work Plan is funding R&D to advance the deployment of SMRs and support government policy and regulation decisions related to SMRs. CNL has also launched the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI) to support cooperative research with third-party proponents in Canada to accelerate the deployment of safe, secure, clean, and cost effective SMRs in Canada.

  • The CNSC is involved in a number of Vendor Design Reviews (VDR). A VDR is an optional pre-licensing activity that may result in the identification of fundamental barriers to licensing. Further information about vendor design reviews can be found on the CNSC's website: Note that while many vendors are currently engaged in the vendor design review process, the status of the projects vary, ranging from the first steps in the development of a service agreement, to near or full completion of the review.

  • At the federal level, funding for SMR development has been provided through existing clean energy and innovation programming, as well as through Canada's Federal Nuclear Science and Technology work plan.

    • To-date the Federal Government has provided funding for SMR projects through Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada's Strategic Innovation Fund and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), e.g., $20 million to advance ON-based Terrestrial Energy reactor design (2020) and $50.5 million to assist with the research and development of NB-based Moltex Energy reactor and technology to recycle radioactive spent fuel into new fuel (2021).

  • Provinces and utilities have made investments and are also taking steps to move forward on SMRs:

    • The Province of New Brunswick has committed $30 million to help establish New Brunswick as a leader in the field of research and development of SMR technology through the creation of a nuclear research cluster that is partnering with two SMR vendors. The vendors are also partnering with local universities and national laboratories to establish research and development activities. Separately, OPG and Bruce Power have signed memoranda of understanding with SMR vendors to cooperate on the regulatory process and to explore business cases.

    • The Provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick signed an MOU to cooperate on the development of SMRs during December 2019. Alberta signed onto the MOU during August 2020. Under the MOU, provinces committed to preparing a feasibility study in partnership with utilities prior to developing a plan for SMR deployment.

Nuclear fuel cycle

Except for enrichment and reprocessing, the Canadian nuclear industry covers the entire nuclear energy fuel cycle from nuclear R&D and uranium mining, milling, refining, conversion and fuel fabrication to nuclear technology design, construction, operation, maintenance, waste management and decommissioning.

Radioactive waste management

Canada has policies, legislation and responsible institutions that govern the management of all categories of radioactive waste.

Canada's Radioactive Waste Policy Framework provides the overall principles for radioactive waste management and is supported by three pieces of legislation that govern the management of radioactive waste in Canada:

  • The Nuclear Safety and Control Act, which sets out the CNSC's mandate, responsibilities and powers;

  • The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, which provides the framework for progress on a long-term strategy for the management of nuclear fuel waste; and

  • The Impact Assessment Act (and previously, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012), which, while not being specific to radioactive waste management, establishes the legislative basis for the federal impact assessment process.

The Policy Framework clearly defines the role of government, and waste producers and owners. The government has the responsibility to develop policy, to regulate, to oversee producers and owners to ensure that they comply with legal requirements and meet their funding and operational responsibilities in accordance with approved waste disposal plans. It also makes clear that waste producers and owners are responsible, in accordance with the principle of the polluter pays , for the funding, organization, management and operation of disposal and other facilities required for their wastes.

Canada is currently reviewing and modernizing its radioactive waste policy to ensure it is based on the best available science, continues to meet international practices, and reflects the values and principles of Canadians.

2.3.2. Project management

In Canada, provinces are responsible for managing their own energy supply and electricity generation infrastructure, including decisions on the construction of NPPs in the provinces, whether by private or public entities. As indicated earlier, the regulation of nuclear energy falls under federal jurisdiction. In this regard, NPPs in Canada are regulated by the CNSC throughout their life cycles starting from site preparation phase to decommissioning and abandonment (release from licensing), including long term radioactive waste management.

Certain proposed nuclear facilities requiring a federal impact assessment as well as review under the NSCA; these are referred to as designated projects. In 2019, the Government of Canada brought into force the Impact Assessment Act (IAA), which replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (CEAA 2012). The IAA seeks to protect the environment, recognize and respect Indigenous rights, and strengthen the economy. The impact assessment process serves as a planning tool that takes into consideration of social, environmental, health, and economic impacts.

There is also an emphasis on early planning and engagement with the public, including Indigenous Peoples, and stakeholders to identify and discuss potential effects and benefits early, leading to tailored impact assessment guidelines, clarity on public, including Indigenous Peoples, engagement plans, and strong cooperation with provincial governments essential to achieving one project, one assessment.

Designated projects are reviewed by an integrated review panel to satisfy the requirements of both legislations. The process is led by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) with the support of the CNSC. The review panel must include at least one member of the CNSC's decision-making body, the Commission Tribunal.

IAAC works collaboratively with the CNSC to draw upon their expert knowledge and ensure that safety, licensing requirements, international obligations, and other key regulatory factors are considered as part of a single, integrated assessment. A Memorandum of Understanding was developed that confirms the commitment of the participants to work collaboratively in conducting integrated assessments. The participants wish to ensure that the principle of one project one assessment is followed in reviewing designated projects that are also regulated by the CNSC, and that any reviews are conducted in an efficient and effective manner.

The federal Cabinet is responsible for making the impact assessment decision under the IAA. If Cabinet determines the project is in the public interest, the review panel (as the panel of the Commission) would make the licensing decision under the NSCA. If the project is authorized to proceed, subsequent regulation would be the responsibility of the CNSC under the NSCA. Non-designated projects subject to the NSCA would be assessed by the CNSC only.

Ongoing projects with environmental assessments, initiated under CEAA 2012 and led by the CNSC, will continue under their current processes. The IAA contains provisions to enable these projects to advance in this way.

The CNSC has also continued to review the NSCA and to modernize its regulations, regulatory requirements and guidance documents to ensure rigorous and enforceable requirements for compliance as well as a clear regulatory direction, which provides industry with the regulatory requirements to make its investment decisions, in particular with respect to new nuclear power plants and small modular reactors (SMRs).

The CNSC continues to collaborate with other federal departments and agencies, to advance transparent, predictable, evidence-based and timely review of major resource project applications through existing interdepartmental governance structures.

2.3.3. Project funding

Different financing models exist for financing nuclear plants and the decision on the approach taken rests with the provinces and relevant public and private utilities in the provinces.

At the federal level, there are a number of financing opportunities that are open to nuclear power projects or commercial development activities. Examples of new federal investments since 2015 include:

  • The Strategic Innovation (SIF) Launched in July 2017, SIF managed by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), is a program to accelerate areas of economic strength, strengthen and expand the role of Canadian firms in regional and global supply chains, support economic strategies, and attract investment that creates new, good, well-paying jobs, by providing funding for large projects (over $10 million in requested contribution). SIF has funded four SMR projects to date, totally over $100 million in investments:

    • $20 million to Terrestrial Energy

    • $47.5 million to Moltex Energy

    • $49.3 million to General Fusion

    • 27.2 million to Westinghouse

  • Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) In 2017, SDTC received an additional investment of $400 million over five years from the Federal Government. SDTC is an independent federal foundation and flagship program to support Canadian companies with the potential to become world leaders in their efforts to develop and demonstrate new environmental technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil. SDTC has previously provided funding for nuclear firms such as Terrestrial Energy ($5.7 million in 2015) and General Fusion ($12.7 million from 2019-2015).

  • The Government of Canada operates seven Regional Development Agencies, to support growth of businesses through innovation, by providing project funding.

    • In March 2021, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency announced $8.5 million in funding to Moltex, New Brunswick Power and University of New Brunswick for SMR-related projects.

  • Through the recent release of the federal budget, the Government of Canada has demonstrated its continued support for SMRs on the path to net-zero and Canada's ongoing commitment to upholding world-class standards for safety and security in all nuclear projects. Budget 2022 includes almost $70 million for Natural Resources Canada to support activities to address waste generated from SMRs; support the development of supply chains for SMR manufacturing and SMR fuel supply; strengthen international nuclear cooperation agreements; and enhance domestic safety and security policies and practices.

  • The CNSC also received over $50 million to build capacity to regulate SMRs and work internationally on regulatory harmonization.

  • Budget 2022 also includes an expanded mandate for the Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to facilitate decarbonization, including SMRs. This funding will compliment more than $100 million in federal investments to-date for the development and deployment of SMR technologies.

Individual provinces and territories have their own economic development and innovation financing programs with differing funding levels, terms, conditions and eligibility requirements

2.3.4. Electric grid development

About 82% of Canadian electricity is generated from non-emitting sources, with some regional variation due to provincial natural endowments. As a result of this geographic variation, connecting non-emitting power, including nuclear power, to the places where it is needed requires a regional electricity perspective. A number of grid development projects are underway, both internationally and regionally.

Grid development projects

Canada and the United States of America have a robust, two-way electricity trade, and strengthening cross-border transmission linkages was identified as a priority at the June 2016 North American Leaders Summit. There are currently 35 active major transmission lines between Canada and the United States of America and three additional lines at various stages of development. Upon completion, these transmission lines could expand import-export capacity between Canada and the United States of America by over 3,000 megawatts (MW) and would further help Minnesota, New York, and New England meet their electricity demand using clean power generated in Canada.

The decarbonization of electricity systems and the integration of renewable energy on the grid represent an opportunity to advance reconciliation with Indigenous People and foster the sustainability and self-determination of their communities. The Government of Canada is investing $1.6 billion in federal funding for the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line Project. When completed, the 1,800-kilometre transmission line will connect 17 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario that currently rely on diesel generation to the grid. On 22 December 2018, the connection to the first community was completed, with all communities expected to be connected by the end of 2023. Support for a climate resilient and clean electricity infrastructure will enhance wellbeing, energy security and reduce poverty in these communities by creating local economic opportunities and long-term jobs and by developing local technical expertise. By providing access to low cost power, electrification of these communities can help also unlock the forestry, renewable energy, and mining resource potential of the region.

Electricity demand in the South Peace Region in British Columbia is increasing due to natural gas exploration and development. To meet current and future demand, BC Hydro will expand the existing transmission infrastructure by building two parallel 230 kV power lines to provide a cleaner supply of energy to power the operations of industries and businesses in the Peace Region. This is expected to result in greenhouse gas emissions reductions of up to 2.6 megatonnes per year. The Government of Canada is providing up to $83.6 million for this project through the Investing in Canada Plan, while BC Hydro is providing the remaining $205.4 million.

Two transmission projects have been constructed in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador related to the construction of the new Lower Churchill 824 MW hydroelectric project.

The Labrador-Island Link, completed in 2017, will carry electricity from the Lower Churchill generating facility at Muskrat Falls to the island of Newfoundland. It is a 1,100 km, 900 MW high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line running from central Labrador, crossing the Strait of Belle Isle, and extending to St John's.

  • The Maritime Link, completed in 2018, is a new transmission link composed of a 500 MW HVDC transmission line, as well as a 230 kV high voltage alternating current transmission line and associated infrastructure, between Granite Canal, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Woodbine, Nova Scotia. The project includes two 170 km subsea cables across the Cabot Strait, and overland transmission lines in both provinces.

Bipole III is a 2,000 MW HVDC transmission line that connects from northern Manitoba to southern Manitoba over 1,388 km. Completed in July 2018, Bipole III strengthens the reliability and security of Manitoba's electricity supply.

Regional Electricity Cooperation and Strategic Infrastructure (RECSI)

In 2018, Natural Resources Canada released the results of RECSI, two regional dialogues and studies conducted in Western and Atlantic Canada to evaluate the most promising electricity infrastructure projects to help specific regions meet their future electricity needs while lowering GHG emissions. For more information on RECSI, please visit:

There is no required development of the existing grid (e.g. grid expansion and upgrades) related to nuclear power development, OPG's Darlington New Nuclear Project or GFP's Micro Modular Reactor at Chalk River Project. However, the Point Lepreau nuclear facility in New Brunswick is permitted to allow for future reactors. Consequently, RECSI ran a scenario analysis to model the impact of additional reactors. Under the RECSI scenario, the capital cost of 1200 MW (2 x 600MW) of new generating capacity is $9 billion with associated transmission costs of approximately $900 million.

2.3.5. Sites

OPG's Darlington New Nuclear Project is to produce up to 4800 MWe of baseload electricity using up to four additional nuclear generating stations. During November 2020, OPG announced resumption of planning activities to host a new nuclear facility using small modular reactor (SMR) technology. The project location is in Ontario, adjacent to the existing Darlington plant; a licence to prepare the site was issued in 2012. During December 2021, OPG announced that it has selected GE-Hitachi as the technology partner at the Darlington SMR site. For details about this project, please see

GFP's Micro Modular Reactor project, to be sited at AECL's Chalk River Laboratories is a single 15 MWth high temperature gas reactor and supporting infrastructure. The project location is in Ontario, on the Chalk River Laboratories site, and an application for a licence to prepare site was submitted to the CNSC in 2019. For details about this project, please see

There are other longer term opportunities for SMR deployment in Canada being explored by utilities. These include the potential for new units at existing licensed sites in Ontario or New Brunswick, as well as new sites in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

2.3.6. Public awareness

In Canada, there are important regional differences in public opinion toward nuclear energy. Support is generally highest in Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan provinces which have a long history with nuclear energy or uranium production, which have invested in research and education, and which derive economic benefits from the nuclear sector. Areas in close proximity to nuclear facilities have the highest support of all. In other provinces where civil society, policy makers and regulators have less experience with nuclear power, public opinion is less supportive.

A February 2021 survey commissioned by the Canadian Nuclear Association and conducted by Abacus Data found that a majority (64%) of informed Canadians expressed openness to or support of SMRs when presented with their potential uses. The majority of respondents supported investment in SMRs and nuclear energy to help remote communities move away from diesel, to help Canada pursue a green economy, and to decarbonize key high-emission economic sectors.

An earlier February 2019 survey by Abacus Data found that participants were less informed about the low-carbon nature of nuclear energy than other clean energy sources. However, when provided with more information, 49% of participants would support or strongly support nuclear energy as an alternative to higher-emitting sources of energy, with another 35% open to the idea. The survey also found that 43% of participants would support or strongly support SMR deployment, with another 43% open to the idea.

A February 2018 Ipsos survey of residents of counties near the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station found that 69% considered themselves very knowledgeable or somewhat knowledgeable of nuclear energy, 93% were confident that the plant operates safely, and 84% strongly supported or somewhat supported refurbishment.

Through Canada's SMR Roadmap, a review of available public opinion literature on nuclear energy found that men and those with higher levels of formal education were more supportive of nuclear energy. Concerns expressed include safety, waste and used fuel management, as well as perceived environmental risk, and a perception that nuclear energy is an expensive form of power generation.

The Roadmap found that in the Canadian context, there is a need for more engagement to understand Indigenous views on nuclear power. Indigenous views are diverse, and communities have different backgrounds, views, interests and drivers. There is also an important historical context, which includes mistakes and failures that have eroded trust. As a result, the Roadmap found that there is a need for genuine and ongoing engagement to rebuild trust, leveraging good examples of engagement that have been undertaken in Canada. The Government of Canada recognizes that genuine, meaningful partnerships with Indigenous Peoples are a critical component for Canada to capture the SMR opportunity. For that reason, as part of the SMR Action Plan, the Federal Government committed to actions to ensure that Indigenous views on SMRs are heard and understood, and that Canada is on a path towards a framework whereby SMRs provide lasting and meaningful benefits to Indigenous communities. These actions include ongoing, meaningful engagement, and ensuring that Indigenous representatives are included when Canada convenes the senior leadership of Canada's SMR Action Plan to discuss strategic priorities going forward.

With regards to the application for a licence to prepare site received from Global First Power, there has been a high degree of interest from stakeholders, members of the public, including Indigenous groups. This was reflected in the significant number of comments received on the project description, which was published for comment in 2019. CNSC staff have been and will continue to provide information and engage with stakeholders and the public in a manner that reflects the level of interest in this project. CNSC staff will also continue to consult with Indigenous groups that have interest in the project and/or whose Indigenous and/or treaty rights may be impacted by the project.

Similarly, for the renewal of OPG's licence to prepare site for the Darlington New Nuclear Project, the submissions from OPG and intervenors, as well as CNSC staff recommendations were considered. The CNSC made participant funding available through Participant Funding Program and invited interventions from Indigenous groups, members of the public and stakeholders in this matter. Seven requesters received participant funding to assist with their interventions.


Canada has a full spectrum industry that covers the entire nuclear energy fuel cycle from nuclear research and development, uranium mining and fuel fabrication to nuclear reactor construction (as well as servicing of CANDU reactors in Canada and abroad), nuclear power plant operation, radioactive waste management and decommissioning. Supply chain and industry segments include manufacturing, engineering, construction, and operations and maintenance of nuclear facilities.

There are over 200 member companies participating in the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI), which represents the Canadian nuclear supply chain. Their business lines range from specialized technical services through small instrument suppliers to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies. Canada's nuclear sector contributes $13 billion per year to Canada's GDP, with approximately 70,000 direct and indirect jobs across the nation.


As electricity in Canada is a provincial responsibility, all electric utilities, including nuclear power, fall under provincial jurisdiction. The provinces, in consultation with the utilities, are responsible for business decisions relating to electrical power, including nuclear stations. The utilities are responsible for the planning, construction, operation and decommissioning of NPPs. Some private sector suppliers work as subcontractors to the utilities for specific work.

There are currently two public utilities and one private utility operating NPPs in Canada: Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and New Brunswick Power (NB Power) are publicly owned and operated utilities, and Bruce Power is a privately-operated plant under a public private partnership.

The utilities are members of the CANDU Owners Group (COG), which provides some funding for nuclear research and development (R&D). COG was formed in the early 1980s to promote closer cooperation in matters relating to plant operations and other programmes as a means to improve plant performance.


The decommissioning of an NPP is the responsibility of its operator. The CNSC licenses the decommissioning process to ensure that decommissioning activities are carried out in accordance with CNSC regulatory requirements to ensure protection of the workers, the public and the environment and to implement Canada's international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to ensure that any stored waste and contaminated portions of the plant proper are dealt with in a safe manner. In addition, the CNSC requires all licensees with operating NPPs to develop decommissioning plans and maintain financial guarantees sufficient to cover the eventual decommissioning of the NPP.

Currently, CNL is decommissioning the Douglas Point prototype reactor facility. Hydro-Quebec , a public utility in the province of Quebec , is preparing to decommission the Gentilly-2 NPP. OPG is also preparing to decommission the Pickering NPP once the plant is scheduled to close in 2024.


Except for enrichment and reprocessing, the Canadian nuclear industry covers the entire nuclear energy fuel cycle from nuclear R&D and uranium mining, milling, refining, conversion and fuel fabrication to nuclear technology design, construction, operation, maintenance, waste management and decommissioning.

Mining and milling

Due to temporary suspension of mining operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian uranium production totalled 3878 tU in 2020, a decrease of 44% from 2019 production of 6994 tU. As a result, Canada's share of world uranium production decreased from 13% to 8%. Since 1996, all Canadian uranium production has been from mines located in northern Saskatchewan.

Cigar Lake is the world's second-largest high-grade uranium deposit. All ore from the Cigar Lake mine, which is operated by Cameco Corporation, is processed at the McClean Lake mill, which is operated by Orano Canada Inc. Despite operations being suspending for 6 months during 2020, production totalled 3878 tU in 2020, maintaining Cigar Lake's position as the world's largest uranium producer. The mine opened in 2014 and before COVID-19, had been in full production since 2017.

McArthur River is the world's largest high-grade uranium deposit. Both the McArthur River mine and the Key Lake mill, which processes all McArthur River ore, are operated by Cameco Corporation. Production at these two facilities has been suspended since January 2018, due to low uranium prices, and only 67 tU was produced in 2018 and 2019 from cleaning out mill circuits. Prior to 2018, these two facilities were the world's largest uranium mine and mill in terms of annual production.

Operations at the Rabbit Lake mine and mill, which are wholly owned and operated by Cameco, have been suspended since July 2016 due to low uranium prices.

Uranium conversion and enrichment

Cameco Corporation operates Canada's only uranium refining and conversion facilities, located at Blind River and Port Hope, Ontario, respectively. At the Blind River refinery, uranium ore concentrates from Canada and abroad are refined into uranium trioxide (UO3), an intermediate product. The UO3 is then trucked to the Cameco Port Hope facility, which is currently the only operating conversion facility in North America producing uranium hexafluoride (UF6) and the only commercial supply of fuel grade natural uranium dioxide (UO2).

Canada does not enrich uranium. UF6 is enriched outside Canada for use in foreign light water reactors, while natural UO2 is used to fabricate fuel bundles for CANDU reactors in Canada and abroad.

Fuel fabrication

In Canada, there are two fuel fabrication companies, BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. and Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cameco Corporation; both of which produce fuel pellets and fuel bundles for CANDU reactors. BWXT produces fuel pellets and fuel bundles at facilities in Toronto and Peterborough, Ontario, respectively. Cameco produces fuel pellets, fuel bundles and components at its facilities in Cobourg and Port Hope, Ontario. The fuel fabrication process involves forming the uranium dioxide into pellets, followed by a process of sintering and sheathing in zirconium to make fuel bundles for use in CANDU reactors.

Responsible institutions

NRCan is the lead department for the development and implementation of Government policy on radioactive waste management, such as Radioactive Waste Policy Framework, as well as policy on uranium mining, such as the Non-Resident Ownership Policy in the Uranium Mining Sector. NRCan also provides support to the Minister of Natural Resources in fulfilling the legislative requirements of the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) and ensuring that the nuclear energy corporations and AECL and the NWMO comply with the requirements of the NFWA.

As Canada's independent nuclear regulator, the CNSC regulates radioactive waste owners in Canada based on its comprehensive and stringent regulatory regime and verifies that waste management facilities comply with established safety requirements through inspections and audits.

AECL is responsible for the Federal Government's radioactive waste and decommissioning obligations stemming from legacy nuclear science and technology operations at its sites as well as for other sites contaminated with historic low level radioactive waste across Canada for which the Government of Canada has accepted responsibility. AECL oversees its contractor, CNL, which manages and operates AECL's sites on its behalf and implements programmes and projects to manage its radioactive waste responsibilities.

Canada's nuclear operators are responsible for managing their own waste and are well suited to developing and implementing safe, secure solutions. The nuclear industry is safely managing its radioactive waste, and initiatives are underway to develop long term radioactive waste management facilities.

CNL operates a commercial waste service for small producers and owners of radioactive waste, such as hospitals and universities. On behalf of AECL, CNL accepts low level and intermediate level radioactive waste on a fee for service basis from these organizations for long term management.

Storage and disposal of spent fuel

Nuclear fuel waste (also known as spent fuel) is defined under the NFWA as irradiated fuel bundles removed from commercial or research nuclear fission reactors.

All Canadian nuclear power reactors were constructed with onsite spent fuel storage bays or water pools. Spent fuel is stored in either storage bays or in dry storage facilities. All spent fuel is stored at the site where it was produced, with the following exceptions:

  • Small quantities that are transported to research facilities for experimental or examination purposes, and which are stored at those facilities.

  • The spent fuel produced at the now closed Nuclear Power Demonstration Nuclear Facility was transferred to Chalk River Laboratories, where it was placed in a dry storage facility.

  • Highly enriched uranium (HEU) from research reactors at Canadian universities has been returned to the United States of America, through the US Department of Energy, to its'savannah River facility. In 2010, Canada and the United States of America agreed to cooperate in the repatriation of US origin HEU fuel stored at AECL's Chalk River Laboratories to the Savannah River site. In 2012, this agreement was expanded to include HEU bearing liquids. These repatriation initiatives are currently under way.

Currently, there is approximately 6,300 m3 of spent fuel in wet storage and 6,400 m3 of spent fuel in dry storage. There are three provincial nuclear utilities (OPG, Hydro-Quebec and NB Power) which altogether own about 98% of the approximately 12,700 m3 of nuclear fuel waste in Canada. The remainder is owned by AECL and McMaster University.

Consistent with the Radioactive Waste Policy Framework, the NFWA was brought into force in 2002 to ensure that a safe national solution for the long term management of nuclear fuel waste is developed, Government selected and implemented.

The NFWA required the nuclear energy corporations to establish a waste management organization. Consequently, the NWMO was established as a separate legal entity to develop and implement a safe national long term solution for Canada's spent fuel. The legislation also required the nuclear energy corporations and AECL to establish trust funds with independent third party trust companies to finance their long term spent fuel management responsibilities.

As a first step towards developing a national solution, the NFWA required the NWMO to submit a study to the Government of Canada on proposed approaches for the long term management of spent fuel. On 3 November 2005, the NWMO submitted its study, Choosing a Way Forward, after having carried out a three year dialogue with Canadians.

In its study, the NWMO recommended the Adaptive Phased Management (APM) approach as its preferred solution. The goal of the APM approach involves containing and isolating the spent fuel in a DGR located at a safe site within an informed and willing host community.

On 14 June 2007, the Government selected the APM approach as Canada's national approach for spent fuel over the long term. The NWMO is responsible for implementing the APM approach, subject to receiving all of the necessary regulatory approvals.

During May 2010, the NWMO initiated a siting process to identify an informed and willing host community with a safe, and suitable site for a DGR. By 2012, twenty-two interested communities in Ontario and Saskatchewan came forward to participate in the process and learn more about the APM project. As of January 2021, the NWMO has narrowed its siting process on two areas: The Township of Ignace in northwestern Ontario and the Municipality of South Bruce in southern Ontario. Those two communities are continuing to engage with the NWMO and explore the possibility of hosting a DGR and Centre of Expertise for the long term management of spent fuel. For information about the NWMO's siting process and how it is implementing the APM approach, refer to the following web site:

Reprocessing of spent fuel

Given Canada's large uranium reserves, there is no reprocessing of spent fuel in Canada. However, there may be proposals to reprocess used fuel from existing nuclear power plants in Canada, as some SMR designs plan to position themselves to run on reprocessed fuel.


2.8.1. R&D organizations

Nuclear research and development in Canada began in the 1940s. The Federal Government has funded a research and development programme at AECL since its creation in 1952.

Early pursuits took place at the Chalk River Laboratories in nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry and radiation biology. Two research reactors, the National Research Experimental (NRX) reactor and the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor were critical to the laboratories early programmes of basic science, health research as well as to the development of the CANDU reactor technology. Nuclear science and technology work was expanded at the Whiteshell Laboratories in 1963, where research was focused on the largest organically cooled, heavy water moderated nuclear reactor in the world, the WR-1. Facilities also included a SLOWPOKE reactor as well as shielded hot cell facilities and other nuclear research laboratories. An underground research laboratory and research in fuel storage also supported programmes for the study and demonstration of storage and disposal facilities.

Work at the Chalk River Laboratories was also expanded to support Federal Government initiatives to develop national radiological health and safety regulations and to contribute to international efforts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

In the mid-90s, a decision was made to shut down the Whiteshell Laboratories and to consolidate research activities at the Chalk River Laboratories. The Whiteshell Laboratories are currently undergoing decommissioning, and today the Chalk River Laboratories are Canada's largest science and technology complex. The laboratories boast multiple highly specialized and unique laboratories, a research reactor as well as testing facilities, all of which are used to deliver nuclear science and technology in the areas of health, safety, security, environment, energy, non-proliferation and emergency management for the benefit of Canadians and industry.

AECL enables nuclear science and technology for the Federal Government through the management of the Federal Nuclear Science and Technology Work Plan, which supports the Government's priorities and core responsibilities in the areas of health, nuclear safety and security, energy and the environment. Work under the plan is delivered by CNL, which manages and operates the Chalk River Laboratories under contract with AECL. AECL has also asked CNL to increase the science and technology stature of the Chalk River Laboratories, which is enabled by the delivery of services to third parties on a commercial basis and an investment of $1.2 billion for new and renewed science and site support infrastructure.

In March 2018, the National Research Universal Reactor was shut down after more than 60 years of operation. Its contributions included providing lifesaving medical isotopes that benefitted over a billion people, supporting the continued operation of the CANDU nuclear fleet, enabling technological and industrial advances and supporting research that led to Nobel Prizes.

Today, CNL is working to revitalize the Chalk River Laboratories, including a plan for a new advanced nuclear materials centre, and has a stated objective to host a demonstration SMR by 2026.

Other Canadian private sector organizations are also actively pursuing the development of nuclear technology. CANDU Owners Group is a private non-profit corporation voluntarily funded by CANDU operating utilities worldwide to share operating expertise, undertake joint R&D projects, work towards regulatory acceptance, and strengthen human performance. Stern Laboratories performs nuclear reliability and safety experiments for customers in the private and public sectors in order to help the development of PWR, BWR and CANDU reactor technology. Kinectrics, formerly the R&D arm of Ontario Hydro, carries out technological consulting across North America for nuclear related issues. TRIUMF's research facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia, serve a wide variety of nuclear research development interests, including with respect to detector development, high temperature superconductor testing, and cyclotron based medical isotope production.

2.8.2. Development of advanced nuclear power technologies

The Government of Canada actively supports the development of advanced nuclear power technologies. Advanced nuclear technologies, such as those being developed by a number of SMR vendors in Canada and internationally, were identified as an opportunity that Canada should pursue in Canada's SMR Roadmap. During December 2020, the Government of Canada launched Canada's SMR Action Plan to respond to the recommendations made in Canada's SMR Roadmap. One of the actions in the Action Plan's federal chapter is the commitment to support New Brunswick's Advanced SMR Nuclear Energy Research Cluster.

$76 million per year, for 10 years (2015-2025), has been invested in the Federal Nuclear Science and Technology (FNST) Work Plan, managed by AECL, to fund nuclear-related science and technology in the areas of health, safety and security, energy and the environment to support core federal roles, responsibilities and priorities, while maintaining necessary capabilities and expertise at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). This has included some funding for SMRs.

Federally, Canadian SMR developer Terrestrial Energy, as well as fusion energy company General Fusion, have received funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada's (SDTC) SD Tech Fund of $5.6 million and $12.75 million respectively. General Fusion has also received $49.3 million through ISED's SIF program an over $2 billion funding envelope to support innovation, which is open to nuclear energy projects. The Federal Government has also invested $50.5 million to assist with the research and development of NB-based Moltex Energy reactor and technology to recycle radioactive spent fuel into new fuel.

At the subnational level, New Brunswick is playing a leading role by committing $10 million to help establish the province as a leader in the field of research and development of SMR technology through the creation of a nuclear research cluster that is partnering with two SMR vendors, Moltex and ARC.

Small Modular Advanced Reactor Training (SMART) Program

During September 2019, Canada launched the Small Modular Advanced Reactor Training (SMART) Program, which is a federally funded initiative to promote training and research in the field of small modular reactors. The vision for the SMART training program is to provide a globally recognized program for SMR specific training that meets the evolving needs of the nuclear sector in Canada and provides students with a breadth of experience in the nuclear field and advanced training on technical and non-technical skills. A major commitment of SMART is to provide ongoing input from the stakeholders into the training and R&D conducted within the program.

2.8.3. International cooperation and initiatives

International Cooperation

Canada is an active supporter of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and maintains nuclear cooperation agreements (NCAs) with 48 countries, including members of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Canada's NCAs are a key requirement of its policy on nuclear non-proliferation and are the responsibility of Global Affairs Canada (GAC). NCAs are negotiated by GAC and the CNSC; the respective administrative arrangements that implement Canada`s NCAs, are established by the CNSC. Canada's NCAs commit Canada and its bilateral nuclear partners to complying with a set of requirements which help implement Canadian nuclear non-proliferation policy, ensuring that Canadian nuclear exports are only used for peaceful, non-explosive end uses. Canada has also concluded various bilateral memorandums of understanding in support of greater cooperation, including on research and development and sharing best practices and experience.

Multilateral Initiatives

Canada is a member of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the SMR Regulators Forum, the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). In 2018, Canada, along with Japan and the United States of America, co-led the development of the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy (NICE) Future initiative at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM).

Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)

Canada is an active and important contributor to the NEA, providing expertise in areas such as international best practices, nuclear regulations, decommission and waste, nuclear safety and codes and standards, nuclear financing, nuclear law and economics.

As a member of the NEA Steering Committee, Canada participated at both the 138th and 139th Steering Committee meetings which took place during April 2019 and October 2019 respectively. Canada also took part in a Small Modular Reactor Policy Debate facilitated by the NEA, providing views and perspectives on Canada's approach to the development and deployment of this technology.

During February 2019, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework entered into force. Canada is a founding member of the Nuclear NEST framework, along with nine other countries and fifteen organizations. Canada demonstrated continued support for the Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework and registered support for the CANDU Owners Group (COG) to explore opportunities to facilitate research and development cooperation between operators and laboratories in CANDU/pressurized heavy water reactor-operating countries.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Canada is an important contributor to the IAEA through its assessed and voluntary contributions, which include support to the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Programme, Peaceful Uses Initiative, and Nuclear Security Fund. Additionally, Canada provides in-kind contributions to the IAEA through the participation of experts from government, regulators, industry and academia in various IAEA activities, such as technical meetings, peer review missions, conferences and consultancy meetings. Through its regular participation in IAEA events, Canada can ensure that its national guidance, policies and technical standards remain current and at par with international standards, including with regards to the physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities, nuclear safety and nuclear regulation, and nuclear non-proliferation. Increasingly, innovation in the development of nuclear technologies is merging the design for security, safeguards and safety into one cohesive approach and this requires increasing close cooperation between experts in these areas to achieve effective design outcomes. Canada continues to be a strong supporter of the IAEA's mandate and activities, including nuclear safeguards verification.

SMR Regulators Forum

The SMR Regulators Forum, which was officially established in 2015, highlights nuclear safety by identifying, discussing and resolving common safety issues that may challenge regulatory activities associated with SMR technologies and their deployment. SMR technologies include both water-cooled and advanced reactor concepts.

The work of the Forum draws from the extensive nuclear safety experience of member regulators who:

  • are actively involved in regulatory activities concerning SMRs technologies.

  • bring other relevant regulatory experience from of new and existing nuclear power facilities.

The Forum is composed of a growing list of regulators from many countries worldwide, including Canada, China, Finland, France, Korea, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Japan is participating as an observer in technical working groups and the following organizations are observers of the Forum's activities: Nuclear Energy Agency, European Commission Joint Research Centre and World Nuclear Association CORDEL SMR Task Force.

The SMR Regulators Forum is self-funded by its member countries and has retained a scientific secretary and administrative support functions from the IAEA.

The Forum has published all major reports to-date transparently and in a timely manner, on the SMR Regulators Forum Website. Subject areas addressed by the Forum to-date include:

Use of a graded approach in risk informed decision making;

  • Application of defence in depth to SMR technologies;

  • Considerations in proposing flexible emergency planning zones;

  • Factors to be considered in the licensing of SMR facilities;

  • Considerations in the conduct of design and safety analysis of SMR concepts;

  • Manufacturing, construction commissioning and operation implications in SMR facilities.

The general conclusion of the Forum to-date remains that fundamental IAEA safety principles and objectives documented in the IAEA safety framework can be applied to SMR technologies, commensurate with a graded approach. However, the work of the Forum has provided feedback and recommendations in a number of areas where further enhancement of the IAEA safety framework will be useful for users. The IAEA has made a concerted effort across its programs or work to take the work of the Forum into consideration. For example, the IAEA convened a series of consultancies in 2021 to understand how existing requirements could be applied to advanced reactor technologies. The work of the SMR Regulators Forum was welcomed into the feedback to the consultancies and the IAEA is using this feedback to prioritize the updating of standards and guides going forward.

Generation IV International Forum (GIF)

A key international nuclear R&D initiative that Canada is a member of is the GIF, which enables the coordination of advanced nuclear research among major nuclear countries. As part of this initiative, CNL continues to work toward the development of the supercritical water reactor (SCWR) concept as well as participate in the hydrogen production of the very high temperature reactor (VHTR).

In May 2019, Canada hosted meetings of the GIF, co-located with the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in Vancouver, BC. The meetings brought together GIF participants and SMR vendors to develop relationships and find ways to ensure GIF research is meeting private sector needs. The meeting ended with agreement to put a stronger focus on paths to commercialization, and on R&D to support SMR deployment.

International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC)

Canada is one of 34 member countries of IFNEC, a multilateral forum focused on ensuring that the global expansion of nuclear power occurs in a safe and secure manner, and in a manner that ensures nuclear technology is used only for peaceful purposes. IFNEC serves as a network for states to share knowledge and experience when dealing with nuclear energy and safety and has recently increased its focus on exploring the integration of nuclear technologies, such as SMRs, in broader clean energy systems. During November 2019, NRCan and CNSC participated in the IFNEC Global Ministerial Conference on SMRs to share Canada's policy and regulatory experience with SMRs.

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Zangger Committee (ZC)

The NSG and ZC are multilateral export control regimes providing guidelines for the supply of nuclear-related materials, equipment and technology. Canada is actively engaged in ongoing efforts to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons through participation in the NSG and the ZC. We implement our commitments under these groups through the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), as well as our bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreements.

Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM)

In recent years, Canada has co-led the development of a new multilateral nuclear energy initiative at the CEM. At CEM in June 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary called for countries to develop a workstream on nuclear energy under CEM, which Canada supported. In response, Canada worked with Japan and the United States of America to develop the initiative, called Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future), which was launched by ministers at the Ninth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9) in May 2018 in Copenhagen.

Since that time, Argentina, Jordan, Kenya, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom have joined as participating countries, and a number of international organizations, civil society and industry groups have joined as partners. Progress under the first year of the initiative was highlighted at CEM10, which Canada hosted in Vancouver, Canada. At CEM10, the initiative released a signature deliverable: Breakthroughs: Nuclear Innovation in a Clean Energy System. This book showcases examples of near-term nuclear innovation in short, approachable vignettes.

Also at CEM10, civil society groups Energy for Humanity, ClearPath, and the Energy Options Network joined Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America in launching a new campaign under the NICE Future initiative. The Campaign brings together governments, research institutions, NGOs, and industry to focus on flexible, integrated systems that use both nuclear and renewable energy in order to develop a better understanding of how coordinated use of these technologies can reliably and affordably accelerate contributions to clean energy systems of the future. For more information on NICE Future, please visit:

At CEM11, the Flexible Nuclear Campaign for Nuclear-Renewables Integration (FNC), a campaign under the NICE Future initiative launched a publication titled Flexible Nuclear Energy for Clean Energy Systems. This report brought together a variety of participant countries, multilateral organizations, and NGOs and explores the role that nuclear energy can play in flexible energy systems.

In 2021, at CEM12 the Net Zero Emissions Pathways with Nuclear Innovation side event featured the launch of Pathways to net zero using nuclear innovation: International perspectives on the role of nuclear energy and innovation in reaching our climate targets. This publication is intended to provide a snapshot of how international governments and organizations are utilizing nuclear energy and technology/or view nuclear energy and technology as a potential solution in meeting global climate change targets/net zero goals.


Educational Initiatives

To support its nuclear energy programme, a strong human resources development framework has been developed in Canada. At least four universities are currently offering a nuclear engineering programme in Canada. In 2002, the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE) was created through a partnership of leading Canadian universities, along with major nuclear plant operators, to carry out research and education in nuclear technologies. UNENE has now grown to a partnership of 13 Canadian universities along with seven industrial partners, conducting research and delivering a master of nuclear engineering programme along with other educational and training initiatives. The UNENE universities use their research initiatives, including eight Industrial Research Chair programmes, to develop expert personnel for the nuclear community. Both educational and training, as well as R&D programmes are regularly updated to reflect the challenges and opportunities for nuclear energy and technology in Canada. UNENE cooperates closely with the IAEA as a member of the IAEA-endorsed consortium of regional educational networks and in coordinating an initial IAEA Nuclear Energy Management school in Canada. The Chalk River Laboratories are also used for educational development and many scientists and students, both Canadian and international, conduct nuclear research there. Managed by CNL, the laboratories offer several educational development opportunities, including a reactor school programme.

TRIUMF, a publicly funded subatomic physics laboratory operated by a consortium of Canadian universities, offers lectures and seminars to students on nuclear medicine and particle accelerator development. TRIUMF possesses leading-edge scientific facilities including a cyclotron and a proton therapy cancer treatment centre.

Gender Diversity

The energy sector is one of the least gender diverse sectors worldwide: internationally, women represent only 26% of the global energy workforce. While women make up 39% of roles at the entry level, they represent just 26% of all executives and C-Suite leaders. In an effort to address this inequality, Canada, Sweden, and Italy jointly lead the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative, which works to advance gender equality in the energy sector. C3E International is a joint initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Under the umbrella of C3E International, Canada and Sweden co-launched the Equal by 30 Campaign, which is a global commitment by both public and private sector organizations to work towards equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women in the energy sector by 2030. Equal by 30 asks companies and governments to endorse principles, then take concrete action to increase the participation of women in the energy sector and close the gender gap by 2030. Signatories are also asked to report on progress made against their commitments.

The Equal by 30 campaign has successfully recruited over 170 signatories, including over 90 Canadian companies and all of the G7 countries. Over 15 nuclear organizations, both domestically and internationally, have signed on to the campaign, including Women in Nuclear (WiN) Canada the Canadian chapter of the Women in Nuclear worldwide association, which is dedicated to advancing the meaningful participation of women in the nuclear energy sector. Many of the campaign's nuclear energy signatories, including the Canadian Nuclear Association and The Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries, have also made their commitments to supporting women and enabling a more inclusive and innovative clean energy sector.

The gender gap is even more pronounced within the nuclear security sector, where it is estimated women compromise less than 20% of the international workforce. Canada's Weapons Threat Reduction Program is supporting a variety of international initiatives to address this under-representation, notably co-funding (with Norway) the publishing of the WINS Special Report on Gender and Nuclear Security and International Best Practice Guide on Advancing Gender Parity in Nuclear Security . This report, along with Canada's support for extensive outreach efforts by the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) has served to build international momentum toward gender parity in the field.


The Government of Canada keeps members of the public, including Indigenous Peoples, informed and engaged on national nuclear policy and events through responsible departments/ministers and by reporting to Parliament or to the public via information disseminated on web sites, publications, social media, the media, and through other means of correspondence. Natural Resources Canada also engages with the nuclear industry and other stakeholders on a regular basis through the Quarterly Nuclear Energy Session (QNES). The purpose of the QNES is to bring together stakeholders from across Canada's nuclear energy sector including, but not limited to, industry associations, companies, laboratories, academia, and utilities as well as federal departments and agencies, and provincial and territorial counterparts for updates and discussion on current initiatives and upcoming events and to foster collaboration and information sharing to support policy coherence on nuclear matters.

The CNSC keeps interested members of the public, including Indigenous Peoples informed of developments related to major nuclear facilities and activities in various ways, including emails, letters, phone calls and engagement activities. Indigenous Peoples and other members of the public are welcome to observe, either in person or via webcast, or to formally participate as interveners in the public hearings of the CNSC when it makes decisions on the licensing of major nuclear facilities. The CNSC has established a number of tools and mechanisms to help support Indigenous Peoples, individuals and not-for-profit organizations in participating meaningfully in CNSC regulatory activities, including the CNSC's Participant Funding Program (PFP) which was established in 2011. Through this funding program, the CNSC seeks to increase participation in its environmental assessment and licensing processes for major nuclear facilities, and to help Indigenous Peoples, individuals and not-for-profit organizations bring value-added information to the Commission.

Licensees and applicants also inform Indigenous Peoples, local communities, the press, and other members of the public about their activities and project details. In 2016, the CNSC published REGDOC-3.2.2, Indigenous Engagement, which sets out requirements and guidance for licensees and applicants whose proposed projects may raise the Government's duty to consult, on their role in Indigenous engagement and addressing any concerns raised by Indigenous groups who are potentially affected by their project or activities.

The individual owners, power companies or nuclear organizations inform their own stakeholders and the press about their activities and project details. There are also other organizations in Canada who have an interest in communicating information on nuclear power to the public, including the Canadian Nuclear Association, the Canadian Nuclear Society, the CANDU Owners Group and the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries.


Within Canada's constitutional framework, emergency management is a shared responsibility between the three levels of government (municipal, provincial/territorial and federal), operators, and non-governmental organizations in a bottom up approach. Most emergencies are local in nature and are managed at the community or provincial/territorial level. The Federal Government can become involved where it has primary jurisdiction or when requested for assistance due to the scope of the emergency.

The Government of Canada's emergency planning, preparedness and response are based on an all-hazards approach. The Emergency Management Act sets out broad policy direction and general responsibilities for Public Safety Canada and all other federal ministers and their respective departments/agencies. It broadens the scope of emergency preparedness at the federal level to include the four pillars of emergency management: prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Public Safety Canada has prepared the all-hazards Federal Emergency Response Plan (FERP) to address governance and coordination issues for federal entities and to support the provinces and territories. The Minister of Public Safety is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada's response to any emergency. The FERP is designed to harmonize federal emergency response efforts with those of the provinces and territorial governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, through processes and mechanisms that facilitate an integrated response. The Government Operations Centre (GOC) achieves the implementation of this plan by using the incident command system (ICS) structure. During an emergency, groups are created to fulfil those functions: planning, operations, logistics, finance and communications. The GOC serves as the operational 24/7 point of contact to trigger or receive notifications at the federal level.

Health Canada, through the Radiation Protection Bureau, administers the Federal Nuclear Emergency Plan (FNEP). The FNEP is integrated with and forms an annex to the FERP to coordinate the Government of Canada's scientific and technical response and to support the provinces/territories in managing the radiological consequences of any domestic, transboundary or international nuclear emergency. The FNEP provides supplemental and specific multidepartment and interjurisdictional arrangements necessary to address the health risks associated with a radiological or nuclear emergency. Health Canada also leads the Federal Nuclear Emergency Management Committee and co-leads the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Nuclear Emergency Management Committee. These two committees provide a forum for information exchange and the development of plans and joint projects to improve nuclear emergency management in Canada.

Health Canada coordinates federal operations with provincial and territorial operations as required. The FNEP includes provincial annexes for Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick as they have nuclear power stations, and for Nova Scotia and British Columbia as they have ports which are visited by nuclear-powered vessels. The FNEP also supports the provinces and territories without specific annexes as required.

In alignment with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidance and requirements, Canadian nuclear emergency response responsibilities are subdivided into on-site and off-site nuclear emergency responses. On-site nuclear emergency preparedness and response pertains to all actions and measures taken within the boundary of the licensee site, whereas off-site nuclear emergency preparedness and response pertain to actions and measures taken outside and beyond the boundary of the licensee site.

These two areas of preparedness and response off-site and on-site require specific roles and responsibilities from different stakeholders yet, closely related as they are, they also require coordination between all levels of government and the CNSC licensee; for example:

  • CNSC licensees are responsible for on-site nuclear emergency response and emergencies related to their activities that may occur off-site.

  • Provincial governments are responsible for off-site nuclear emergency response.

  • If requested by the provincial government, the Federal Government may provide support to the province.

  • During an integrated Government of Canada response to a nuclear emergency under the FERP/FNEP, all levels of government and various agencies and organizations have the responsibility to develop and implement emergency response plans to deal with the consequences and impacts outside the boundaries of the nuclear facility licensed by the CNSC. The licensee is responsible for the response inside the boundaries of its facility.

  • An integrated Government of Canada response is required when:

    • A province/territory requests federal support to deal with an emergency;

    • An emergency affects multiple jurisdictions and/or government institutions and requires a coordinated response;

    • An emergency directly involves federal assets, services, employees, statutory authority or responsibilities, or affects confidence in government;

    • An emergency affects other aspects of the national interest.

In particular, for nuclear emergency preparedness and response:

  • The provincial/territorial governments are responsible for overseeing public health and safety and the protection of property and the environment within their jurisdictions. Accordingly, they assume lead responsibility for the arrangements necessary to respond to the off-site effects of a nuclear emergency by enacting legislation and providing direction to the municipalities where the NPPs are located. Typically, their administrative structures include an emergency measures organization (or the equivalent) to cope with a wide range of potential or actual emergencies in accordance with defined plans and procedures. The provinces maintain emergency operations centres to coordinate protective actions for the public and to provide the media with information. The two provinces with operating NPPs, Ontario and New Brunswick, have dedicated plans for managing nuclear emergencies that could occur within their borders.

  • The CNSC plays a dual role. First, under the mandate established by the Nuclear Safety Control Act, the CNSC maintains regulatory oversight of the on-site nuclear emergency preparedness and response activities of the licensee. Second, as a federal agency, the CNSC participates in the whole-of-government preparedness and response to a nuclear emergency, in accordance with the requirements of both the FERP and the FNEP.

  • Global Affairs Canada is responsible for coordinating the national response to nuclear emergencies that occur abroad. Global Affairs Canada also provides advice and assistance on the handling of offers and requests for assistance from foreign governments and contributes to maintaining official communications between Canada and the IAEA through Canada's Permanent Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna.

  • Health Canada, in conjunction with Public Safety Canada, coordinates with relevant emergency preparedness committees, including the Federal Exercise Working Group, which looks at exercise development for the entire Federal Government. The FNEP identifies the need for an ongoing exercise programme. Health Canada maintains an evergreen five-year nuclear emergency training, drill and exercise programme. This programme includes development and implementation of a long term programme for training, drills and exercises, and participation in federal, provincial/territorial and international drills and exercises, including those organized under the auspices of the IAEA. Targeted drills and exercises are conducted on a routine basis. A large scale multijurisdictional exercise, the new National Exercise Schedule, as agreed upon by CNSC, HC, GOC and the Provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick, will include a Priority Full Scale Exercise (P-FSX) every 7 1 years. The last P-FSX took place during October 2021 with NB Power and NB EMO. Each exercise and drill are followed by an after action report and a management action plan. Relevant lessons learned are then integrated into plans and procedures and are re-exercised as necessary to continuously to increase the level of preparedness.

The Canadian nuclear regulatory framework places the onus on the licensees to perform a detailed assessment of their risk environment to identify potential hazards that could lead to a nuclear emergency. In turn, this licensee risk assessment is overseen by the CNSC. As part of the licensing process, the licensees are required to have measures and plans in place to prevent, mitigate, respond and recover from a nuclear emergency. In the event of a nuclear emergency at a licensed facility and/or involving a CNSC licensed nuclear substance, the main responder is the licensee and the CNSC will monitor and support the licensee in the emergency response, as required.

In the spirit of continuous improvement and learning, Health Canada, as the lead department for the Federal Nuclear Emergency Plan, requested the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) mission of Canada's nuclear emergency response capability. The mission, the first ever hosted by a G7 country, took place during June 2019. Health Canada and EPREV participating organisations developed an Action Plan to address the recommendations from the EPREV Review Team. The implementation of this Action Plan has already started and will continue for the next 1-2 years. An EPREV follow-up Mission is being planned for 2023.



3.1.1. Regulatory authority(s)

On 31 May 2000, the CNSC was created as the successor to the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB), which had served as the regulator of Canada's nuclear industry for more than 50 years. The CNSC's creation followed the entry into force of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) and its regulations. The NSCA represented the first major overhaul of legislation governing Canada's nuclear regulatory regime since the AECB was established in 1946. It created an independent administrative tribunal (the CNSC's Commission) to regulate the nuclear industry and authorized the hiring of technical and support staff. The CNSC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources.

The CNSC's mission is to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment; to implement Canada's international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public.

Core regulatory operations represent the bulk of the CNSC's everyday work to deliver on its mandate. These include the administration of the regulatory framework, licensing, certification, and compliance activities, with the ultimate goal to make sure that the Canadian nuclear industry is operating safely and securely.

The Canadian regulatory system is designed to protect people and the environment from the risks associated with the development and use of nuclear energy and nuclear substances. Individuals, companies and medical or academic institutions wishing to operate nuclear facilities or use nuclear substances for industrial, medical or academic purposes must first obtain a licence from the CNSC. It is a fundamental tenet of Canada's regulatory regime that licensees are primarily responsible for safety. The CNSC's role is to ensure that the applicants live up to their responsibility. The onus is therefore on the applicant or the holder of the licence to justify the selection of a site, method of construction, and mode of operation of a facility, and the decommissioning plan for the facility or activity, to the satisfaction of the Commission.

The Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and a court of record, with the powers, rights, and privileges necessary to carry out its duties and enforce its orders. It operates at arm's length from the Government and with no ties to the nuclear industry. The Commission has up to seven permanent members who are appointed by the Governor in Council for terms of up to five years. One member is designated as President of the Commission and Chief Executive Officer of the CNSC.

Subject to the Governor in Council's approval, the Commission may make and amend regulations as it deems necessary for attaining the objects of the NSCA. The Commission is also empowered to grant licences to conduct nuclear activities. Commission decisions are science and safety based; they may not be overturned by the Government of Canada. They are reviewable only by the Federal Court of Canada. These measures help ensure the independence of the Commission.

The Governor in Council may issue directives to the CNSC. Any such directive may only be of general application on broad policy matters with respect to the objects of the Commission, and not in respect of a particular case before the Commission.

To maintain its adjudicative distance from CNSC staff, the Commission communicates with staff only through the Commission Secretariat and through formal proceedings. This separation serves to maintain the Commission's independence.

Licensing matters for major facilities are carried out in public hearings by the Commission. When issuing a licence, the Commission must be satisfied that the proponents have taken adequate measures to protect health and safety, the environment, ensure security, and respect Canada's international commitments, and that the companies are qualified to carry out the licensed activities. Licensing matters for major facilities are carried out in public hearings by an independent administrative tribunal the CNSC's Commission. This is one of the most visible functions of the CNSC in the regulation of the nuclear industry.

As part of its implementation of international obligations and commitments, the CNSC regulates the import and export of nuclear substances, nuclear equipment and nuclear technology in order to ensure that Canada's nuclear non-proliferation policy and international obligations are respected, including those arising from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In addition, the CNSC works in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada to fully implement the provisions of Canada's nuclear cooperation agreements. CNSC and Global Affairs Canada staff also provide technical support and policy guidance in support of Canada's participation in international non-proliferation activities and initiatives.

The CNSC has developed a suite of regulatory documents, which are a key part of the CNSC's regulatory framework for nuclear activities in Canada. They provide additional clarity to licensees and applicants about how to meet the requirements set out in the NSCA and the regulations made under the NSCA. They also provide guidance on how the requirements might be met. Regulatory documents generally present both requirements and guidance in a single document and distinguish between both through the use of mandatory (e.g., shall, must) and non-mandatory (e.g., should, may) language.

The Commission has an extensive suite of regulatory enforcement measures available to enforce licensee compliance including increased regulatory scrutiny, orders, licence amendments, monetary penalties and prosecution for regulatory offences set out in the NSCA.

3.1.2. Licensing process

There are many stages in the life cycle of nuclear facilities before any person or company can prepare a site to construct, operate, decommission or abandon a nuclear facility or possess, use, transport or store nuclear substances they must obtain a licence from the CNSC.

There are four major steps in the licensing process for a new nuclear facility (such as an NPP):

  1. Applicant submits a licence application

    The licensing process begins when an application is received by the CNSC. An assessment plan and timeline are then developed for each individual application. The assessment plan identifies the scope and depth of the technical assessment needed to evaluate the application. It takes historical licensing information, licensing experience, performance and compliance reports, and CNSC staff recommendations into account.

  2. Environmental assessment

    Under the NSCA, the CNSC has a legislated mandate to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials in order to protect health, safety, security and the environment. To meet this responsibility, the CNSC staff considers and evaluates the potential environmental effects of all nuclear facilities or activities when making licensing decisions.

  3. Technical assessment

    CNSC staff undertake a variety of technical assessments according to the prescribed assessment plan to ensure that each application complies with all regulatory criteria as defined by the NSCA, relevant regulations, international and domestic standards and international obligations.

  4. CNSC renders its decision

    The final step in the licensing process is the Commission tribunal's decision, which takes into account submissions by the applicant, all CNSC staff recommendations and the views and concerns expressed at public hearings. The public hearings provide interested stakeholders an opportunity to participate in the licensing process by voicing any views or concerns to the Commission members, which constitutes an important part of informing licensing decisions.


3.2.1 Main laws in nuclear power

Regulation of the nuclear industry is a federal responsibility, whereas Canada's provinces have constitutional responsibility for resource and industrial development, including authority for decisions regarding the development of uranium resources and the commercial development and use of nuclear power. While the CNSC has sole responsibility for licensing nuclear facilities and nuclear activities, a number of other federal agencies are involved in the regulation of the industry. Provinces may also have regulations that deal with off-site activities of licensees, such as provisions for off-site emergency preparedness.

The main national laws relevant to Canada's nuclear programme are the Nuclear Energy Act of 1985; the Nuclear Safety and Control Act which repealed the Atomic Energy Control Act of 1946 and entered into force in 2000; the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act (NLCA) which repealed the former Nuclear Liability Act and entered into force on 1 January 2017; and the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) of 2002; and the Nuclear Terrorism Act (NTA) that entered into force in 2013.

  • Nuclear Energy Act: outlines activities, including research and investigations that may be undertaken in the development and utilization of nuclear energy by the Minister responsible. The Act declares nuclear energy as an area of federal jurisdiction.

  • Nuclear Safety and Control Act: established the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and set out the CNSC's mandate, responsibilities and powers. This Act provided the CNSC with the authority to regulate the development, production and use of nuclear energy and the production, possession and use of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and prescribed information in Canada.

  • Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act: The Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act (NLCA) replaced the Nuclear Liability Act and entered into force on 1 January 2017. The NLCA established the absolute and exclusive liability limit of nuclear operators to be $1 billion, and permitted Canada to become a signatory to, and implement the International Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). The NLCA provides a provision for a review of the liability limit for power reactors every five years so that the limit can remain current and relevant, and the first such review is expected to be concluded by the end of the calendar year in 2021. The NLCA broadens definitions of compensable damage to include economic loss, preventive measures and environmental damage, improves the procedures for delivery of compensation and extends the limitation period for submitting compensation claims for bodily injury to 30 years. During June 2019, the Government of Canada hosted the Inaugural meeting of the Parties and Signatories to CSC, and has agreed to act as the Chair to the Second Meeting of the Parties and Signatories to CSC, anticipated to take place in 2022. The CSC is an international treaty that sets out obligations for civil liability and compensation arising from nuclear incidents occurring within member countries and during nuclear material transport.

  • Nuclear Fuel Waste Act: The NFWA requires nuclear energy corporations to form a waste management organization, the NWMO, whose mandate is to propose to the Government of Canada approaches for the long term management of spent fuel, and to implement the approach that is selected by the Government. The NFWA also requires the nuclear energy corporations and AECL to establish trust funds to finance the implementation of the selected long term spent fuel management approach. The NFWA entered into force on 15 November 2002.

  • Nuclear Terrorism Act: The NTA helps to strengthen the security of nuclear materials and facilities in Canada, and to combat nuclear terrorism by including new offences related to nuclear terrorism in the Canadian Criminal Code and thereby enhancing the domestic legal framework available to respond to the threat posed by acts of nuclear terrorism. The NTA also fulfills Canada's key international nuclear security obligations, including the criminalization provisions under the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

3.2.2 Main regulations in nuclear power:

Regulations under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act include the:

  1. Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) (SOR/2013-139)

  2. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission By-laws (SOR/2000-212)

  3. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Cost Recovery Fees Regulations (SOR/2003-212)

  4. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Rules of Procedure (SOR/2000-211)

  5. Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations (SOR/2000-204)

  6. Class II Nuclear Facilities and Prescribed Equipment Regulations (SOR/2000-205)

  7. General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations (SOR/2000-202)

  8. Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations (SOR/2000-210)

  9. Nuclear Security Regulations (SOR/2000-209)

  10. Nuclear Substances and Radiation Devices Regulations (SOR/2000-207)

  11. Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations, 2015 (SOR/2015-145)

  12. Radiation Protection Regulations (SOR/2000-203)

  13. Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations (SOR/2000-206)

The CNSC uses a risk-informed approach to regulation that is focused on protecting the health, safety, and security of Canadians and the environment, as well as ensuring that Canada meets its international nuclear commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Regulations under the Nuclear Energy Act include the:

  1. Uranium Mines (Ontario) Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/84-435)

Regulations under the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act include the:

  1. Nuclear Liability and Compensation Regulations (SOR/2016-88)

  2. Order Designating Ministers under Certain Federal Acts (SI/2015-112)


Natural Resources Canada,

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission,

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited,

Global Affairs Canada,


Provide a table (with dates and references) of international agreements in the following categories:

? International treaties, conventions, and agreements signed/ratified by the country (see the following web site for additional details:;

? Cooperation agreements with the IAEA in the area of nuclear power;

? Bilateral agreements with other countries or organizations signed/ratified by the country in the field of nuclear power.

Amendments to Articles VI and XIV of the IAEA Statute Ratified 15 September 2000
Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA Entry into force: 15 June 1966
Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/164) Entry into force: 21 February 1972
Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/164/Add.1) Entry into force: 8 September 2000

Main international treaties

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Entry into force: 5 March 1970
Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the
Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
Entry into force: 8 February 1987
8 May 2016
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism Entry into force: 21 December 2013
Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident Entry into force: 8 February 1990
Convention on Nuclear Safety Entry into force: 24 October 1996
Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management Entry into force: 18 June 2001
Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency Entry into force: 12 September 2002
Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage
Entry into force:
6 June 2017
4 September 2017

Other relevant agreements

Improved procedures for designation of safeguards inspectors Accepted: 8 June 1989
Zangger Committee Member 1974
Nuclear Suppliers Group Member 1978
Nuclear Export Guidelines Adopted 1978; 1992
Agenda 21 of the UN Conference on Environment and Development Agreed 1992
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Ratified December 1998

Bilateral agreements

Canada has bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements (NCA) with the following partners:

Argentina Australia Brazil
China Colombia Czech Republic
Egypt Euratom* Finland
Germany Hungary India
Indonesia Japan Jordan
Kazakhstan Korea, Republic of Mexico
Philippines Romania Russian Federation
Slovakia Slovenia Spain
Sweden Switzerland Turkey
Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom**
United States of America ITER Organization

*Euratom encompasses 27 European Union countries: Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; and Sweden. Some countries are currently covered by both the Canada Euratom agreement and separate bilateral agreements with Canada.


Nuclear Energy Division
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E4
Tel.: (+1-343) 292-6199
Fax: (+1-613) 995-0087
Uranium and Radioactive Waste Division
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street
Ottawa, Ontario KIA 0E4
Tel.: (+1-343) 292-6049
Fax: (+1-613) 947-4205
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
280 Slater Street
P.O. Box 1046, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5S9
Tel.: (+1-613) 995-5894
Fax: (+1-613) 995-5086
Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
Tel.: (+1-343) 203-3166
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
286 Plant Rd, Stn 508A
Chalk River, Ontario K0J 1J0
Tel.: (+1-613) 589-2085
Health Canada
960 Carling Ave
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Tel.: (+1-613) 957-2991
Cameco Corporation
2121 11th Street West
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7M 1J3
Tel.: (+1-306) 956-6200
Fax: (+1-306) 956-6201
Orano Canada Inc.
817 45th Street West, Box 9204
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 3X5
Tel.: (+1-306) 343-4500
Fax: (+1-306) 653-3883
Canadian Nuclear Association
130 Albert Street, Suite 1610
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4
Tel.: (+1-613) 237-4262
Fax: (+1-613) 237-0989
Canadian Nuclear Society
700 University Avenue, 4th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X6
Tel.: (+1-416) 977-7620
Fax: (+1-416) 977-8131
CANDU Owners Group
655 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2K4
Tel.: (+1-416) 595-1888
Fax: (+1-416) 595-1022
Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries
1550 Kingston Road, Suite 219
Pickering, Ontario L1V 1C3
Tel.: (+1-905) 839-0073
Fax: (+1-905) 839-7085
Canadian Standards Association
178 Rexdale Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario, M9W 1R3
Tel: (+1-416) 747-4124
Fax: (+1-416) 747-2510
Canadian Electricity Association
275 Slater Street, Suite 1500
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H9
Tel.: (+1-613) 230-9263
Fax: (+1-613) 230-9326
Ontario Power Generation
700 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X6
Tel.: (+1-416) 592-2555
Bruce Power
P.O. Box 1540
177 Tie Road
Tiverton, Ontario N0G 2T0
Tel.: (+1-519) 361-2673
NB Power
515 King Street, P.O. Box 2000, Stn A
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 4X1
Tel.: (+1-506) 458-4444
75, boul. Ren -L vesque ouest
Montr al, Quebec H2Z 1A4
Tel.: (+1-888) 385-7252

2025 Victoria Ave
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 0S1
Tel.: (+1-888) 757-6937
Nuclear Waste Management Organization
22 St. Clair Avenue East, Sixth Floor
Toronto, Ontario M4T 2S3
Tel.: (+1-416) 934-9814
Fax: (+1-416) 934-9526
Candu Energy Inc.
2285 Speakman Drive
Mississauga, Ontario L5K 1B1
Tel.: (+1-905) 823-9040
BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc.
1160 Monaghan Road
Peterborough, ON K9J 0A8
Tel.: (+1-855) 696-9588

Nordion (Canada) Inc.
447 March Road
Kanata, Ontario K2K 1X8
Tel.: (+1-800) 465-3666 x1090
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
286 Plant Rd
Chalk River, Ontario K0J 1J0
Tel.: (+1-613) 584-3311
BWXT Medical Ltd.
447 March Rd,
Kanata, ON
K2K 1X8
Tel.: 1 800-267-6211
4004 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, BC
V6T 2A3
Tel.: 604.222.1047

McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
NRB A333
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada L8S 4M1
Tel.: 905-525-9140 x24279
Canadian Light Source
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Saskatchewan Research Council
Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation
University Network of Excellence in Nuclear
Engineering (UNENE)
Carleton University
Dalhousie University
cole polytechnique de Montr al
McMaster University
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Mount Allison University
Queen's University
Royal Military College
Ryerson University
Simon Fraser University
Trent University
University of Alberta
University of British Columbia
University of Guelph
Universit Laval
University of Manitoba
University of New Brunswick
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
University of Ottawa
University of Saskatchewan
Universit de Sherbrooke
University of Toronto
University of Victoria
University of Waterloo
University of Western Ontario
York University
University of Calgary

Coordinator information

Justin Hannah

Natural Resources Canada