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.

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 provide guidance on submitting appropriate information to accompany an application to export risk-significant radioactive sources:

Important notes

  1. Complete, sign and print the application form. Email, fax or mail the document to the CNSC address listed at the bottom of the form.
  2. All mandatory information must be provided. Additional information may be submitted on a separate sheet. Incomplete applications cannot be processed and may result in delays. The CNSC may request additional information or documents.
  3. The period to review an application is typically 30 business days upon receipt. For more details refer to “Processing time” below.
  4. Upon approval of the application, a licence to export risk-significant radioactive sources will be issued and sent by email to the applicant.

Processing time

A CNSC decision on an export licence application will generally depend, in part, on the scope of international communications and consultations required. The length of time for completing these will depend on a variety of factors, such as the state of the importing country’s regulatory import/export control program, the availability of information about the importer, and whether the export item is a Category 1 or Category 2 source. In some cases, additional time may be required to process an export licence application. Applicants are encouraged to apply for an export licence at the earliest opportunity.

1. Overview of the application form

Part 1A: Type of Application

Select the appropriate box to indicate the type of application.

  • Select “New application” if this is an application for a new licence.
  • Select “Amend application” if this is an amendment to an application that was previously submitted:
    1. Enter the 5-digit application number that was provided at the time of acknowledgement under “Application / Export Licence No.”
    2. Complete information under “Description of amendment request.”
  • Select “Amend export licence” if this is an amendment to an existing, active licence:
    1. Enter the 5-digit core licence number under “Application/Export Licence No.”
    2. Complete information under “description of amendment request.”

Part 1B: Applicant/Exporter

  • Provide the legal name of the applicant in the “Company name” field.
  • Provide a unique identifier, if applicable. Applicants may input their own reference number for their tracking purposes; otherwise, this field 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. The CNSC will use this information when verifying if 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(s).

  • Provide the requested information of the consignee/importer.
  • 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 help the CNSC assess if the source will be managed safely and securely by the final recipient of the source.
  • Note: In the “Telephone no.” field, enter the area code and telephone number only (the country code will be listed along with the country selected in the “Country” drop-down menu).

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.

  • Note: In the “Telephone no.” field, enter the area code and telephone number only (the country code will be listed along with the country selected in the “Country” drop-down menu).

Part 3: Description of Radioactive Source(s)

  • Select the name of the nuclear substance from the drop-down menu
  • 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 sealed source model number.
  • Provide the name of any prescribed equipment, if applicable, that will be exported and used with the radioactive source for the intended end use, otherwise, indicate “n/a”.
  • Select the intended end use for each radioactive source to be exported from the drop-down menu
  • Note: If end use is for industrial irradiation, indicate the type of irradiation under Part 6 of the form.

Part 4: Intended Date(s) of Export

  • Provide the date of intended export. Where specific shipment dates are uncertain, provide anticipated initial and final dates of the shipments.

Part 5: Transport Information

  • Select the appropriate item from the drop-down menu to indicate the type of package being used to transport the radioactive source.
  • Provide the package's design approval certificate number and the expiry date of the package design certificate.
  • If the prescribed equipment is a Type B(U) package – for example, an industrial radiography camera – indicate the serial number of the package.
  • Check the appropriate box to indicate if the shipment will require transport through countries other than the importing country, if yes, enter transit county/countries under the drop down field.

Part 6: Sealed Source Returning Yes/No?

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

Part 7: Applicant authority

  • Provide the signature, title, and telephone and fax numbers of an individual with 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 anticipated to occur within a specific period of time.
  • Each export licence issued will pertain only to 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.

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