CNSC response to the Postmedia article “Most Nuclear Reviews Don’t Meet Harper’s Two-year Limit”
June 4, 2012
On June 2, 2012, an article by Mike De Souza of Postmedia entitled “Most Nuclear Reviews Don't Meet Harper's Two-year Limit” reported misleading and inaccurate information on the Government of Canada's proposed two-year timeline for project reviews. The letter below was sent to the reporter, the Ottawa Citizen, The Province and the Edmonton Journal to correct the record.
Mike De Souza’s inaccurate and misleading article in the Ottawa Citizen on June 2 on environmental assessments of nuclear projects compels me to respond and correct false impressions that may have been left with readers.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), as Canada’s sole nuclear regulator, has a strong record in completing environmental assessments to protect the health and safety of Canadians and their environment.
The article is misleading in that it quotes total time taken by both government and industry to complete the projects. The Government's proposed two-year timeline for reviews applies only to Government time. When you account for non-government time, in what we call “clock stoppages,” CNSC has been able to complete its reviews within 2 years for 80% of the nuclear projects. Had the CNSC been contacted by the author of the article it would have been able to clarify this important difference.
The Government’s Responsible Resource Development initiative does provide for certain changes to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and will establish the CNSC as one of the three federal agencies (along with the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) responsible for conducting environmental assessments. The initiative does not, however, legislate timelines for nuclear projects, which is another misleading impression that could have been left by your article. That said, I have committed publicly that the CNSC will abide by the same principle and will move quickly to establish two-year timelines through regulation for environmental assessments and licensing for major nuclear projects. Based on our past performance, we can meet these commitments without any impact on our ability to conduct the scientific and technical reviews necessary.
The CNSC has worked hard in recent years to streamline our environmental assessment projects. We are committed to ensuring efficient, effective and thorough reviews of nuclear projects that are predictable while ensuring the highest environmental protection standards. In the future, I encourage you to contact us, or visit our Web site for facts which could support your articles.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission