Celebrating 70 years of nuclear safety in Canada
Welcome to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's (CNSC) 70th anniversary page! Since 1946, the CNSC and its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB), have regulated Canada's nuclear sector, continuously strengthening Canada's laws, regulations and licensing requirements, and enforcing compliance by licensees. Scroll down to find interesting facts and interactive tools highlighting the AECB/CNSC history and how the CNSC is celebrating 70 years of nuclear safety in Canada.
- Message from the President
- AECB and CNSC history
- Historical timeline
- Fact or fiction
- A look ahead at 2016
- Follow the CNSC
Message from the President
2016 marks the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's 70th anniversary as Canada's independent nuclear regulator.
It all started in 1946, when the Atomic Energy Control Act, Canada's first nuclear legislation, created the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB). At that time, the AECB's only mandate was to regulate the nuclear industry's research activities.
Since this humble beginning, Canada's nuclear activities have grown significantly. The introduction of radioisotopes in medical research and cancer treatment, the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity, and the development of uranium mines shifted the AECB's focus to developing regulations that would address health and safety and the environment.
This change required a new, wide-reaching law that would reflect the latest scientific knowledge in the nuclear field. That is why, in the year 2000, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act came into force and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission replaced the AECB.
Today, our mission is clear: to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment; to implement Canada's international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public.
Our team of dedicated employees ensure the safe operation of all nuclear-related facilities and activities in Canada.
As we reflect on our history and our achievements, we are determined to be ready to meet the regulatory challenges of the future.
In a world committed to finding cleaner sources of energy, I believe that nuclear energy will continue to be part of the mix. And, therefore, a strong and effective nuclear regulator is a must!
As Canada's nuclear industry evolves, so will we. Above all else, our core commitment will not change: we will never compromise safety.
AECB and CNSC history
On October 12, 1946, the Atomic Energy Control Act was proclaimed. Under the act, the Government of Canada established the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) as a regulatory agency to provide for "control and supervision of the development, application and use of atomic energy and to enable Canada to participate effectively in measures of international control of atomic energy."
On May 31, 2000, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) was formed under the new Nuclear Safety and Control Act. The CNSC replaced the AECB, which had been Canada's nuclear regulator for more than 50 years. The new legislation provided the CNSC with a stronger, more modern legislative basis to carry out its various responsibilities. The act sets out the CNSC's mandate, responsibilities and powers. It provides the CNSC with the authority to regulate the development, production and use of nuclear energy and the production, possession and use of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and prescribed information in Canada.
Canada has a rich history of nuclear safety. Nuclear safety means protecting Canadians at every stage in the nuclear fuel cycle – not just monitoring nuclear power stations. The CNSC regulates the entire process, from uranium mining, the collection of nuclear by-products for use in nuclear medicine and research, to the management and disposal of nuclear waste. We also monitor for environmental impacts from nuclear activities, and our nation's nuclear security and international commitments.
Check out Nuclear Regulation: By the Decade for a closer look at regulation history. Each article explores a decade in the evolution of Canada’s nuclear regulating body and highlights the important events of the time. Articles will be posted monthly until October 2016.
- 1945–1955: Creation of a Canadian nuclear regulator
- 1956–1965: AECB adopts regulatory role over nuclear research at Chalk River Laboratories
For highlights that have shaped Canada's nuclear history and the AECB/CNSC's path from 1946 to 2016, have a look at our interactive historical timeline. The timeline features interesting facts, photos, videos and documents that will provide you with an overview of the CNSC's achievements and the evolution of nuclear safety in Canada.
Fact or Fiction?
How much do you know about the CNSC and Canada's nuclear history? Test your knowledge with our interactive module: Fact or Fiction: History and Regulations.
A look ahead at 2016
While 2016 marks 70 years of nuclear safety in Canada, it will also be another busy year for Canada's nuclear regulator. Have a look at what's ahead for nuclear safety and the CNSC this year.
Follow the CNSC
To mark its anniversary, the CNSC will be posting interesting facts and images of noteworthy moments and people from Canada's nuclear history on its Facebook and Twitter pages. Follow us and join the conversation!
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