CNSC response to the MyKawartha and The Peterborough Examiner editorials of December 2 and 27, 2019

Dear Mr. Clysdale:

Your articles in the December 2 and 27 editions of MyKawartha and The Peterborough Examiner compel us to clarify information that is misleading to the public.

First, the statement that the “Nuclear Regulator supports uranium pelleting at former Peterborough GE site” is incomplete. The Commission, an independent quasi-judicial tribunal, will hold a public hearing in March 2020. In fact, the public hearing gives involved parties and members of the public an opportunity to be heard before the Commission. An independent panel will consider all written submissions, then deliberate and render a decision on BWXT’s application.

Second, given that the Commission is an independent administrative tribunal that works at arm's length from the government without any ties to the nuclear industry, its mandate and role is not to support, endorse or recommend any nuclear project, activity or prescribed technology in Canada. Its role is to regulate the use of nuclear energy and materials; it will only issue a licence when it is satisfied that the proposed nuclear facility or activity poses no danger to the health, safety and security of persons and the environment.

Third, we would like to add clarity to your statement that the CNSC released a report in which staff recommend the approval of uranium pelleting at the company’s Peterborough and Toronto facilities. Expert CNSC staff submitted an assessment of BWXT’s licence application in a Commission member document (CMD) to the Commission itself in December 2019. As part of this assessment, CNSC staff conducted their review to determine whether BWXT, in carrying on these activities, will continue to make adequate provisions to protect the environment and the health and safety of persons, maintain national security and take the actions needed to fulfill the international obligations to which Canada has agreed. CNSC employees review licence applications against regulatory requirements, make recommendations to the Commission and enforce compliance with the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, regulations and any licence conditions imposed by the Commission.

Based on their conclusions, CNSC staff recommended that the Commission issue a 10-year nuclear fuel facility licence to BWXT with proposed licence conditions and authorize the conduct of pelleting operations and the delegation of authority, as set out in the CMD.

It will be up to the Commission to decide whether or not to issue the licence during the public hearing in March.

The public was invited to register to take part in a Meet the Nuclear Regulator webinar on January 8, 2020, to learn more about the CNSC’s role in BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc.’s proposed licence renewal. In addition, staff will hold two open house events on this particular matter, one in Toronto and one in Peterborough, during week of January 19, 2020.

Regards,

Media Relations
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

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