Particle accelerator facilities

A particle accelerator is a machine that propels charged particles, such as electrons or protons, at high speeds, close to the speed of light. When these charged particles collide, radiation is produced. Particle accelerator facilities can be categorized as either Class IB or Class II facilities, depending on their energy potential.

Class IB particle accelerators are used primarily for research purposes; many scientific disciplines benefit from the study of the resulting particle collisions, including particle and nuclear physics, engineering and life sciences. Two Class IB research particle accelerator facilities operate in Canada and are licensed by the CNSC: 

  • Canadian Light Source Inc.

Class II particle accelerators are used for various purposes. Read more about Class II nuclear facilities and prescribed equipment.

The CNSC regulates all stages of the lifecycle of every particle accelerator facility in Canada, from performing the environmental assessment required before construction, to decommissioning the facility once operations have ended. At each stage, the CNSC determines whether the licence applicant is qualified and has taken the measures needed to protect the environment, safeguard human health and ensure that national security is maintained. The CNSC's licensing process for particle accelerator facilities follows the stages set out in the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations.

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