An Overview – Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Plants: 2016

Summary

Every year, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission publishes an annual report of its assessments of the safety performance at Canada’s operating nuclear power plants (NPPs): Bruce A and B, Darlington, Pickering and Point Lepreau. All operational reactor units – 19 among the four NPPs – were reviewed as part of this report.

The following observations were made at each NPP, supporting the conclusion of safe operation:

  • There were no serious process failures at the NPPs
  • Radiation doses to members of the public were well below the regulatory limit
  • Radiation doses to workers at the NPPs were below the regulatory limits
  • The frequency and severity of non-radiological injuries to workers were very low
  • No radiological releases to the environment from the NPPs exceeded the regulatory limits
  • Licensees met applicable requirements related to Canada’s international obligations
  • No NPP events above Level 0 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale were reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency

What is a regulatory oversight report?

To ensure the ongoing safe maintenance of Canada’s nuclear power industry, CNSC staff continuously monitors and assesses the performance of licensed facilities to ensure that they are in compliance with regulations and licence conditions. The cumulative results of these findings are recorded in a regulatory oversight report. The CNSC encourages the general public and Indigenous groups to comment on these reports, particularly by offering funding opportunities through its Participant Funding Program for individuals or groups to review the report and participate in Commission meetings.

2016 report

The Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Plants: 2016 provides CNSC staff’s assessment of Canadian NPP safety performance during 2016 and details the progress of regulatory issues and initiatives up to April 30, 2017. During this period, CNSC staff evaluated how well NPP licensees met regulatory requirements and expectations for 14 safety and control areas (SCAs), including human performance, radiation protection and security. The assessment is performed against the licensing requirements specific to each NPP, and is supported by information obtained through inspections, site surveillance activities, field rounds, document assessments, desktop reviews and safety performance indicator data. The report describes CNSC-recommended actions and improvement plans to maintain or improve current practices at individual NPPs and highlights industry trends.

Highlights

All safety and control ratings ranged between “satisfactory” and “fully satisfactory” for all NPPs, “satisfactory” meaning that all compliance expectations have been met, and “fully satisfactory” meaning that the licensee is exceeding all expectations.

Each station maintained the same high standard in its ratings as in 2015. The ratings in 2015 were the highest on record since the SCA framework was introduced in 2010, with 19 SCAs rated as “fully satisfactory” across all NPPs. While individual SCA ratings fluctuated in 2016, NPPs again had 19 “fully satisfactory” ratings. Appropriate actions were also taken to improve the safety performance of the few SCAs that had dropped from “fully satisfactory” to “satisfactory”, as well as of many SCAs which remained at “satisfactory”, demonstrating the licensees’ determination to consistently improve and excel their safety performance.

Conclusions

CNSC staff concluded that NPPs in Canada operated safely during 2016, and that licensees made adequate provisions to protect health, safety, security and the environment, while ensuring that Canada continued to meet its international obligations on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

For more information, read the executive summary of the Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Plants: 2016.