Request for Information on Potential Impacts of Draft REGDOC-2.11.1, Volume III: Safety Case for Long-Term Radioactive Waste Management, Version 2

1. Preface

Acknowledging the draft nature of this document, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is seeking a preliminary assessment of the potential impacts of draft REGDOC-2.11.1, Volume III: Safety Case for Long-Term Radioactive Waste Management, Version 2, should it receive Commission approval. The CNSC welcomes comments on this document as well as on the proposed regulatory document itself.

Comments could include additional information on potential impacts should the regulatory document be approved by the Commission and subsequently implemented. Should stakeholders decide to submit impact estimates, the CNSC encourages them to clearly state assumptions and provide enough detail to allow an independent observer to understand how the estimate was derived. Stakeholders could also propose potential alternative approaches that meet the document’s safety objectives.

The CNSC will consider the comments received. Comments will be included in the main regulatory document disposition table and may lead to modifications in draft REGDOC-2.11.1, Volume III.

In fulfilling its mandate as a federal regulator, the CNSC must also consider values and principles that are difficult to quantify with a dollar value. It must also give consideration to fulfilling its responsibility under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to disseminate objective scientific and regulatory information. In all cases, safety is the CNSC’s top priority.

All comments received will become part of the public record.

2. Background

The CNSC regulates the processing, storage and disposal of the waste that results from nuclear activities. Since all nuclear substances associated with licensed activities will eventually decay away or become waste, their safe management must be considered when licensing nuclear activities. The CNSC also regulates facilities that process, store or dispose of radioactive waste. In addition, to ensure safety, the CNSC has regulatory requirements for the remediation and management of legacy sites and lands contaminated by past practices, and that are often left to current public institutions. Radioactive waste in Canada is managed in a safe manner, in accordance with the requirements of the CNSC.

In May 2016, the CNSC posted discussion paper DIS-16-03, Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning, for public consultation to seek feedback on the proposed approach to update the CNSC’s regulatory framework for waste and decommissioning. DIS-16-03 proposed the development of waste and decommissioning regulations, as well as updates and consolidations associated with regulatory documents.

The discussion paper was a significant input into the decision to draft regulatory documents that supersede existing CNSC regulatory documentation, ensure guidance is aligned with all applicable regulations under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, and provide consolidated guidance on radioactive waste management and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Version 2 of REGDOC-2.11.1, Volume III is an outcome of that process.

3. Objectives

REGDOC-2.11.1, Volume III addresses the development of a safety case and supporting safety assessment for a long-term radioactive management facility or site. The emphasis is on the assessment of the long-term waste management facilities’ performance and impact after closure.

4. Regulatory approach

In accordance with Canada’s Radioactive Waste Policy Framework developed by Natural Resources Canada, it is the owners of radioactive waste who are responsible for the funding, organization, management and operation of disposal and other facilities required for their waste.

Licensees are expected to develop, implement and maintain waste management programs. These programs ensure that waste is managed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and with industry best practices. This document provides requirements and guidance to licensees and applicants for developing a safety case and supporting safety assessment for the long-term management of radioactive waste.

Should this regulatory document be approved by the Commission, CNSC staff will develop and apply compliance verification criteria and carry out regular inspections to verify that the licensee is effectively implementing their waste management program in accordance with REGDOC-2.11.1, Volume III.

5. Potential impacts

The CNSC welcomes stakeholder comments on potential impacts, should draft REGDOC-2.11.1, Volume III be approved. Stakeholders may consider impacts in terms of costs, operations or other impacts.

6. Feedback requested

Please submit comments or feedback to the CNSC by July 31, 2019, in one of the following ways:

  • Email: cnsc.consultation.ccsn@canada.ca
  • Mail: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
    P.O. Box 1046, Station B
    280 Slater Street
    Ottawa, ON K1P 5S9
  • Fax: 613-995-5086
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