Import and export controls

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is the federal authority that regulates the import and export of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and prescribed information (technology).

The CNSC implements a licensing and compliance process to ensure that imports and exports of these items conform to regulatory requirements, as well as to Canada's nuclear non-proliferation policy and international obligations and commitments.

Within this process, specific licences are required for:

Controlled nuclear substances, equipment and information

Under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations, Canadian importers and exporters must obtain and comply with licences controlling the international transfer of nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use items.

Import

Export

FAQs

Service standards

Licence transfer

Under certain circumstances – as per the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), sections 24(2) and 24(4) – the CNSC may authorize the transfer of a licence from one licensee to another, or to a new licence applicant, provided there has been no significant change in the licensed activity. This process is intended to simplify the regulatory process for licensees, while ensuring that all regulatory requirements are met.

A request for licence transfer can be triggered by the following changes:

  • change to a corporation’s name and number
  • corporate merger
  • corporate restructuring

To request a licence transfer, the existing licensee must complete and submit an application form.

Risk-significant radioactive sources

To export risk-significant radioactive sources (IAEA Category 1 and 2, described in Table I below), Canadian exporters must obtain a transaction-specific export licence.

The issuance of the licence is consistent with the provisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources (the Code) and its supplementary Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources (the Guidance) for import and export controls for risk-significant radioactive sources.

Licence applications to export Category 1 radioactive sources from Canada are subject to prior consent by the importing state authority.

Licence transfer

Under certain circumstances – as per the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), sections 24(2) and 24(4) – the CNSC may authorize the transfer of a licence from one licensee to another, or to a new licence applicant, provided there has been no significant change in the licensed activity. This process is intended to simplify the regulatory process for licensees, while ensuring that all regulatory requirements are met.

A request for licence transfer can be triggered by the following changes:

  • change to a corporation’s name and number
  • corporate merger
  • corporate restructuring

To request a licence transfer, the existing licensee must complete and submit an application form.

Control of the Export and Import of Risk-Significant Radioactive Sources (INFO-0791), provides additional information on the CNSC's regulatory control program for the export and import of risk-significant radioactive sources.

Table I: Threshold activities for Category 1 and Category 2 radioactive sources
Nuclear substance Category 1 (TBq) Category 2 (TBq)
Americium 241 60 0.6
Americium 241/Beryllium 60 0.6
Californium 252 20 0.2
Curium 244 50 0.5
Cobalt 60 30 0.3
Cesium 137 100 1.0
Gadolinium 153 1,000 10.0
Iridium 192 80 0.8
Promethium 147 40,000 400.0
Plutonium 238 60 0.6
Plutonium 239/Beryllium 60 0.6
Radium 226 40 0.4
Selenium 75 200 2.0
Strontium 90 (Yttrium 90) 1,000 10.0
Thulium 170 20,000 200.0
Ytterbium 169 300 3.0

Import controls

A separate, specific licence to import risk-significant radioactive sources is not required, provided that the Canadian licensee has general authorization to import and possess such sources (under a licence to possess and use).

Risk-significant radioactive sources cannot be imported without this general authorization.

All imports of Category 1 radioactive sources into Canada are subject to the CNSC's consent prior to import.

All imports of Category 1 and 2 radioactive sources also require prior shipment notifications (to be issued by the exporting facility or the exporting state authority).

Instructions for completing an application for a licence to export risk-significant radioactive sources

The following instructions are intended to provide guidance to ensure that appropriate information is submitted along with the application to export risk-significant radioactive sources:

Important notes

  1. Complete the application, sign, print and mail or fax it to the CNSC address listed at the bottom of the application form. An advance email copy may be submitted; however, a signed original must be provided.
  2. All mandatory information must be provided. Additional information may be submitted on a separate sheet. Incomplete applications may result in delays. Additional information or documents may be requested.
  3. The period to review an application is typically within three (3) weeks upon receipt of a completed application.
  4. Upon approval of the application, a licence to export risk-significant radioactive sources will be issued and sent by fax and mailed to the applicant.

1. Overview of the application form

Part 1A: Type of application

Indicate if this is an application for a new licence or for an amendment to an existing export licence. If it is an amendment to an existing export licence, provide the licence number.

Part 1B: Applicant/exporter

Provide the legal name of the applicant.

Provide a unique identifier, if applicable. Applicants may input their own reference number for their tracking purposes; otherwise, it can be left blank.

Provide the name and contact information of a person that the CNSC can contact about the application.

Provide the number of the applicant's applicable CNSC possession or facility licence. This information is used by the CNSC in verifying that the applicant is authorized to possess the risk-significant radioactive source for which an export licence is sought.

Part 2A: Final consignee(s)/importer

Note: the final consignee is the one who takes possession for usage of the source

Provide the authorization number and expiry date of the importer's authorization to receive and possess a risk-significant radioactive source. Include a copy of the authorization documentation.

If an import authorization number is unavailable, provide any additional comments or information on the final consignee or the commercial export/import arrangements that may assist the CNSC in assessing whether the source will be managed in a safe and secure manner by the final recipient of the source.

There may be multiple final consignees. Use a separate sheet and include all the information required in part 2A.

Part 2B: Intermediate consignee(s) via importer

Provide the requested information for any foreign intermediate consignee who will be in possession of the source prior to its delivery to the final consignee.

Part 3: Intended date(s) of export

Provide the date on which the export is intended to take place. If the export transaction requires multiple shipments, provide the intended date for each shipment. Where specific shipment dates are uncertain, provide anticipated initial and final dates of the shipments.

Part 4: Description of radioactive source(s)

Provide the name of the nuclear substance.

Provide the maximum activity per source (TBq), the number of sources to be exported and the total activity (TBq) of the nuclear substance to be exported.

Provide the name of any prescribed equipment that will be used with the radioactive source for the intended end use.

Describe the intended end use for each radioactive source to be exported.

Part 5: Transport information

Fill in the appropriate box to indicate what type of package is being used to transport the radioactive source.

Provide the package's design approval certificate number and the date that the package design was approved by the CNSC.

If the prescribed equipment is a Type B(U) package – such as an industrial radiography camera – indicate the serial number of the package.

If using a Type A package, no additional information is required.

Fill in the appropriate box to indicate whether the shipment will require transport through countries other than the importing country. If yes, list the transit countries.

Part 6: Additional information on consignee(s), end use(s) and radioactive source(s)

Provide any additional information on the export transaction pertinent to supporting the application or any other details that may facilitate interactions between the CNSC and the importing authority or facility in support of completing the assessment of the application. Indicate if it is anticipated that the radioactive sources replaced by the exported sources will be returned to Canada as part of pre-existing commercial arrangements.

Part 7: Applicant authority

Provide the signature, title, telephone and fax numbers of an individual who has the authority to sign the application on behalf of the applicant, to certify the authenticity of the information in the application form and appended documents. Include the year, month, and day that the application form was signed.

2. Application form

Download the Application for a Licence to Export Risk‑Significant Radioactive Sources (PDF).

3. Supplemental information

Export licence constraints

Unless otherwise authorized by the CNSC, the following rules apply:

  • A separate application is required for each export transaction or specific set of transactions that are anticipated to occur within a specific period of time
  • Each export licence issued will pertain to one or more importers but only in a single country.
  • Separate export licences will be issued for Category 1 and Category 2 radioactive sources.

Each transaction may involve multiple shipments carried out over a specified period of time.

Need more information on import and export controls? Contact the CNSC.