Speech delivered by Terry Jamieson, Vice-President of the Technical Support Branch, before the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism - June 4, 2012
Thank you, Mr. Chair and Senators, for the invitation to appear before your Committee today to discuss certain aspects of Bill S-9 The Nuclear Terrorism Act and how they relate to the mandate of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
I am accompanied by Mr. Raoul Awad, Director-General of the Directorate of Security and Safeguards and Mr. Jason Cameron, Director-General of the Strategic Planning Directorate.
As Canada’s sole nuclear regulator, the CNSC is responsible for maintaining the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment as it relates to our nuclear industry, as well as to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. We regulate pursuant to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and associated regulations.
The CNSC (and its predecessor organization) have been regulating nuclear activities for more than 65 years. Activities regulated cover the entire nuclear cycle from uranium mining and milling through to fuel fabrication, to nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants and ultimately to waste management.
Regulatory oversight also extends to nuclear substances and to commercial, medical, academic and research applications.
I will focus my brief comments today on describing how the CNSC ensures the security of nuclear materials and of nuclear facilities.
The prevention of nuclear terrorism relies on several elements which start with international treaties and conventions. In Canada, the CNSC oversees the application of physical protection, threat assessment and security measures.
While Bill S-9 deals with Criminal Code offences if terrorist activity is found, the work of the CNSC is meant to be preventive so that nuclear terrorism efforts will be detected and thwarted as early as possible.
The CNSC was involved in helping to develop the amendments to the Convention on thePhysical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). The CNSC’s Nuclear Security Regulations were updated in 2006 to reflect those changes.
These regulations set out prescriptive and detailed security measures which licensees must adhere to. Physical protection requirements are based on a graded approach commensurate with the risk level and the resulting consequences. For example, with respect to Category I and II nuclear materials, and the facilities in which they are stored, the requirements range from site access controls to an on-site armed response force capable of intervention in the case of intrusion, theft, or sabotage. Employees and supervisors must fulfill mandatory requirements for awareness and education of security protocols and those workers with access to nuclear materials must undergo background checks.
Licensees must develop and maintain contingency plans as well as practice regular emergency drills. In fact, the North American nuclear industry holds an annual competition in which tactical and physical skills of nuclear security protection officers are demonstrated, and Canadian teams are regularly among the winners.
The transport of Category I, II, and III nuclear materials is covered by the Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substance Regulations and requires a licence from the CNSC. In order to obtain such an approval, the licensee must submit a transport security plan which provides detailed information including a threat assessment, the proposed security measures, the route and other arrangements along the route in accordance with the Nuclear Security Regulations. Security plans are required for all shipments including those in transit through Canada.
Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations also apply to any transport of nuclear substances.
Consequently, if Bill S-9 is enacted and Canada ratifies the CPPNM as well as the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), there is no additional work necessary to implement the physical protection measures among Canada’s nuclear facility operators - these measures have already been in place for years.
Similarly, Canada’s framework and policy for the import, export, control and safeguarding of nuclear material is transparent and comprehensive – to the extent that the CNSC is routinely consulted by regulators in other countries seeking to replicate aspects of the Canadian model.
The Nuclear Safety and Control Act does contain regulatory offence provisions and penalties, and indeed an individual was successfully prosecuted in 2010 for trying to ship nuclear-related dual-use devices to Iran which could have been used for uranium enrichment. The proposed provisions of Bill S-9 will supplement the NSCA for more serious offences and acts of nuclear terrorism.
In closing, the CNSC has been on the leading edge of implementing safety and security of our nuclear material inventory here in Canada as well as controlling the movement of nuclear materials, both domestically and across our border. Consequently, the regulatory framework in Canada is already in a position to accommodate the provisions proposed in Bill S-9.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to your questions.