New reactor facility projects
The CNSC makes independent, fair and transparent decisions on licensing new reactor facilities. For further details, see the licensing process for Class IA facilities.
The CNSC offers an optional pre-licensing vendor design review (VDR) for vendors of reactor designs. The VDR, which takes place prior to the licensing process, provides an early opportunity for vendors of a reactor technology to engage with the CNSC and clarify the regulatory requirements and the expectations for their design. A VDR does not result in any decision by the Commission under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) and is costrecovered from the vendor under the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Cost Recovery Fees Regulations (Part 5, Special Project Fees). For further details, see REGDOC3.5.4, PreLicensing Review of a Vendor’s Reactor Design, and the pre-licensing vendor design reviews web page.
On this page:
- Current licensing activities
- Current pre-licensing vendor design reviews
- Licensing process for Class IA facilities
- Regulatory framework
- Applying for a licence under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act
- Environmental reviews
- Indigenous consultation and engagement
- Related links
Current licensing activities
Global First Power
- In June 2023, Global First Power (GFP) submitted additional information to support the programmatic aspects of its application for a licence to prepare site (LTPS) for a micro modular reactor (MMR) at the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) site. Additional information on other aspects of the LTPS is anticipated between January and March 2024.
- On May 6, 2021, the CNSC determined that GFP’s management system documentation and its plan for additional submissions were sufficient to begin the technical review.
- In March and April 2021, GFP submitted management system documentation in support of its application for an LTPS for an MMR at the CRL site.
- On July 16, 2020, a record of decision on the scope of an environmental assessment for the proposed MMR at the CRL site was issued. The Commission determined that the scope of the factors includes paragraphs 19(1)(a) to (h) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, with no additional factors.
- On July 15, 2019, the notice of commencement of an environmental assessment was posted, inviting the public and Indigenous Nations and communities to comment on the project description. The comment period closed on September 14, 2019.
- On March 20, 2019, GFP submitted a partial application for an LTPS for Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation’s MMR technology at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s property at the CRL location.
New Brunswick Power
- In June 2023, NB Power submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) registration with the Government of New Brunswick for the ARC-100. New Brunswick’s Minster of Environment and Climate Change determined that a comprehensive EIA is required for the proposed project, which will occur concurrently with the CNSC’s licensing review for the LTPS. CNSC staff will support the comprehensive provincial EIA as members of the Technical Review Committee.
- In June 2023, NB Power submitted an LTPS application to the CNSC for a single ARC Clean Technology Inc. ARC-100 small modular reactor (SMR) at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station site. The ARC-100 is a sodium-cooled fast reactor. Visit the facility page to learn more and for information on where to view the application.
Ontario Power Generation
- In January 2024, a public hearing was held on the applicability of Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) Darlington New Nuclear Project (DNNP) environmental assessment and plant parameter envelope to selected reactor technology. Read the notice of hearing.
- In October 2022, OPG submitted a licence to construct application for a single General Electric Hitachi BWRX-300 reactor for deployment at the DNNP site. The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR. CNSC staff are currently completing a technical assessment of the application, and hearings for the project are expected to begin in 2024.
- In September 2022, OPG began site preparation activities at the Darlington site.
- In December 2021, OPG announced its selection of the General Electric Hitachi BWRX-300 reactor for deployment at the DNNP site.
- In June 2020, OPG submitted an application to renew its licence to prepare site for the DNNP, issued on August 17, 2012, and expiring on August 17, 2022. Visit the DNNP facility page to learn more and for information on the entire history of the project. A Commission hearing was held in June 2021 and a record of decision was issued, renewing the site preparation licence for a period of 10 years from October 12, 2021, to October 11, 2031.
- In October 2023, Bruce Power sent a notice of intent to submit an application for a licence to prepare site and begin an impact assessment for new nuclear generation on the Bruce site at Tiverton, Ontario.
Current pre-licensing vendor design reviews
- The CNSC is conducting pre-licensing VDRs.
Licensing process for Class IA facilities
All reactor facilities are Class IA facilities under the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations.
- small modular reactors
- research reactors
- prototype new reactor (fission or fusion) designs for the purpose of gathering scientific knowledge
- reactor (fission or fusion) facilities of all sizes used for commercial purposes
For information about the licensing process for new nuclear facilities, please see REGDOC3.5.1, Licensing Process for Class I Nuclear Facilities and Uranium Mines and Mills.
The Commission is the CNSC’s decision-making body, and it makes licensing decisions covering the entire lifecycle of a facility, from initial application to abandonment.
Decisions made by the Commission take into consideration:
- regulatory requirements
- analyses and recommendations from CNSC staff based on their assessment of both licensee and stakeholder submissions to the Commission
- best available information arising from regulatory research or credible research by third parties
- public input
- environmental assessments
- Indigenous engagement
The CNSC’s regulatory framework includes guidance for applicants or licensees on how to meet requirements, elaborate further on requirements or provide information on best practices.
While the CNSC sets requirements and provides guidance on how to meet them, an applicant or licensee may put forward a case to demonstrate that the intent of a requirement is addressed by other means. Such a case must be backed by supporting evidence. CNSC staff consider the guidance when evaluating the adequacy of any case submitted. This does not mean that the requirement is waived; rather, it is an indication that the regulatory framework provides the flexibility for licensees to propose alternative means of achieving the intent of the requirement. The Commission is always the final authority that determines whether the requirement has been met.
Applying for a licence under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act
The CNSC has developed licence application guides that set out requirements and guidance for submitting a formal application to the CNSC to obtain a licence for reactor facilities, including SMRs, in Canada. The licence application guides also identify the information that should be included in an application.
Applicants who wish to carry out licensed activities are expected to use the following licence application guides. These guides point to key regulatory documents by relevant activity.
- REGDOC-1.1.1, Site Evaluation and Site Preparation for New Reactor Facilities
- REGDOC-1.1.2, Licence Application Guide: Licence to Construct a Reactor Facility
- REGDOC-1.1.3, Licence Application Guide: Licence to Operate a Nuclear Power Plant
REGDOC-1.1.5, Supplemental Information for Small Modular Reactor Proponents, is a new regulatory document that is meant to be used in conjunction with the 3 documents above, which set out requirements and guidance for an applicant to consider prior to submitting a licence application to the CNSC for a small modular reactor. REGDOC-1.1.5 also identifies the CNSC’s considerations in assessing the adequacy of a licence application.
|Applicant must demonstrate
|REGDOC-1.1.1, Site Evaluation and Site Preparation for New Reactor Facilities
|REGDOC-1.1.2, Licence Application Guide: Licence to Construct a Reactor Facility
When applying for a licence to construct, a preliminary safety analysis report (PSAR) is required under paragraph 5(f) of the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations.
The PSAR must include:
Before CNSC staff can begin assessing the PSAR, design information as specified in paragraphs 5(a), (b), (d), (e) and (g) of the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations must also be submitted.
|REGDOC-1.1.3, Licence Application Guide: Licence to Operate a Nuclear Power Plant
Under the NSCA, the CNSC has a legislated mandate to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials in order to protect health, safety, security and the environment. To meet this responsibility, the CNSC considers and evaluates the potential environmental effects of all nuclear facilities or activities when making licensing decisions.
In accordance with the CNSC’s current regulatory framework, new reactor facilities would be subject to environmental protection provisions under the NSCA, as well as all other applicable federal, provincial and/or territorial legislation, such as the Impact Assessment Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and northern environmental assessment regimes. This means that a science-based environmental technical assessment is performed on every project under the NSCA, including new reactor facilities.
Visit the environmental protection page for more information.
Indigenous consultation and engagement
The CNSC ensures that all of its licensing decisions and environmental reviews under the NSCA, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, the Impact Assessment Act, or other relevant legislation uphold the honour of the Crown and consider Indigenous Peoples’ potential or established Indigenous or treaty rights pursuant to section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
Visit the Indigenous engagement page for more information.
- Date modified: