Convention on Nuclear Safety - National Reports

Updated August 16, 2016

The Convention on Nuclear Safety (the Convention) commits signatory states that operate nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety.

Canada was one of the first signatories - known as Contracting Parties - of the Convention, and has been one of the staunchest promoters and supporters of its objectives.

Convention on Nuclear Safety

The Convention on Nuclear Safety (the Convention) was adopted in Vienna in June 1994.

The document was put together through a series of expert-level meetings and work by governments, national nuclear safety authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Fifth Review Meeting of the Convention of Nuclear Safety in Vienna, Austria

Its provisions cover several areas, including siting, design, construction, operation, the availability of adequate financial and human resources, the assessment and verification of safety, quality assurance, and emergency preparedness.

The Convention is not designed for controls and sanctions, but is based on the participating states' common interest to achieve higher levels of safety, as developed and promoted through regular meetings, called review meetings.

The Convention asks each participating state to submit national reports on the implementation of its obligations for peer review, during these review meetings held in Vienna every three years.
The reports presented at the triennial regular meetings and at extraordinary (special) meetings demonstrate our country's firm commitment to nuclear safety through the Convention's three main objectives:

  • to achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear safety through enhancing national measures and technical cooperation
  • to establish and maintain effective defences against radiological hazards in nuclear installations, in order to protect people and the environment
  • to prevent nuclear accidents and limit their consequences

These convention reports describe the systematic monitoring of safety-related programs and their implementation in Canada.

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Canada’s national reports to review meetings of the Convention on Nuclear Safety

Canada's national reports are published together with responses to questions from their peer reviews no later than six months before the review meetings. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), which regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment, submits the reports on behalf of Canada.

The seventh report demonstrates how Canada continues to meet the obligations of the Convention.  It is now available on the IAEA website.

Seventh Report

The Seventh Review Meeting for the Convention on Nuclear Safety will be held in March 2017 in Vienna.

Canada’s seventh report outlines the various measures that are in place to assure the safe operation of nuclear power plants in Canada and the protection of the health and safety of people and the environment. These include a robust nuclear regulatory framework, a mature and effective regulator, and licensee organizations that are fully committed to nuclear safety. The report also emphasizes Canada’s commitment to openness and transparency, research and development, peer review, and continual improvement.

Ramzi Jammal, CNSC Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer, has been elected as President of the Seventh Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety. As President, Mr. Jammal will preside over discussions among participating countries on how to improve nuclear safety worldwide through a constructive exchange of views. For more information on Ramzi Jammal’s presidency, read the feature article.

Highlights from the report

Nuclear power plant (NPP) safety history

  • NPP licensees fulfilled the basic responsibilities for safety as required by the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, regulations, and the NPP operating licences. The licensees addressed any safety issues that arose to keep risks at reasonable levels – and continued to give safety high priority at every level of their organizations.

Fukushima action plan

  • The Fukushima action items (FAIs), as specified in the CNSC Integrated Action Plan on the Lessons Learned From the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, were completed by NPP licensees by December 31, 2015. The FAIs address safety improvements aimed at strengthening defence in depth and enhancing onsite emergency response.

Enhancements to the regulatory framework

  • The CNSC continued to enhance the regulatory framework, which included new and amended regulations and new and revised regulatory documents relevant to both existing and new-build NPPs. CSA Group published new and revised standards that are also used to regulate NPPs. The CNSC introduced periodic safety review into the licensing framework.

Sixth Report

The Sixth Review Meeting for the Convention was held from March 24 to April 4, 2014.

Fifth Report

The Fifth Review Meeting for the Convention was held in April 2011.

Fourth Report

The Fourth Review Meeting for the Convention was held in April 2008.

Third Report

The Third Review Meeting for the Convention was held in April 2005.

The First Anniversary Report comprises a status of actions on Canada and was published one year after the Third Review Meeting.

Second Report

The Second Review Meeting of the Convention was held in April 2002.

First Report

Updated July 10, 2012

Dr. Agnes Bishop, President of the Atomic Energy Control Board (the predecessor of the CNSC), shown with a member of the IAEA, signed the Convention on Canada's behalf in 1994. Canada was one of the first signatories of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, which came into force on October 24, 1996.

As a result of Canada's obligation as a signatory of the Convention, the first report was produced by the Atomic Energy Control Board (the CNSC's predecessor) on behalf of Canada. The first review meeting was held in April 1999.

National Reports to Extraordinary Meetings of the Convention

Besides holding review meetings, the Convention provides for the organization of extraordinary meetings at the request of contracting parties to discuss specific matters related to the conduct of the review meetings or to discuss important issues that may arise, such as lessons learned from the nuclear accident in Japan.

Second Extraordinary Meeting

Besides holding review meetings, the Convention provides for the organization of extraordinary meetings at the request of Contracting Parties to discuss specific matters related to the conduct of the review meetings or to discuss important issues that may arise, such as lessons learned from the nuclear accident in Japan.

First Extraordinary Meeting

The First Extraordinary Meeting was held in September 2009, in conjunction with the Fifth Organizational Meeting of the Convention, to discuss and agree on the changes to Guidelines Regarding National Reports.

No national report was produced for this meeting.

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Contributors to Canada's Convention Reports

As the federal authority legislated to regulate the production of nuclear energy in Canada, the CNSC is responsible for coordinating Canada's participation at the review meetings and for preparing the national report.

However, the national reports represent a collective work, involving the cooperation of various federal departments and provincial emergency management authorities, as well as input from licensees.

The following organizations are among those that contribute to writing and reviewing these documents.

Federal departments and agencies

  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Public Safety Canada

Provincial emergency management authorities

  • Emergency Management Ontario
  • Organisation de sécurité civile du Québec
  • New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization

Industry organizations

  • Bruce Power Inc., a private corporation
  • Hydro-Québec, a Crown corporation of the Province of Québec
  • NB Power, a Crown corporation of the Province of New Brunswick
  • Ontario Power Generation Inc., a private company wholly owned by the Province of Ontario
  • Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd. (CNL)
  • CANDU Energy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of a public corporation