Safety and control areas

The CNSC evaluates how well licensees meet regulatory requirements and CNSC expectations for the performance of programs in 14 safety and control areas (SCAs) that are grouped according to their functional areas:


Management system

The management system SCA covers the framework that establishes the processes and programs required to ensure an organization achieves its safety objectives, continuously monitors its performance against these objectives, and fosters a healthy safety culture. The specific areas covered include:

  • Management system
  • Organization
  • Performance Assessment, Improvement and Management Review
  • Operating Experience (OPEX)
  • Change Management
  • Safety Culture
  • Configuration Management
  • Records Management
  • Management of Contractors
  • Business Continuity

Human performance management

Control room operator Bruce

Control room operator at the Bruce Power Nuclear Generating station Kincardine, Ontario

The human performance management SCA covers activities that enable effective human performance through the development and implementation of processes that ensure that licensees have sufficient staff in all relevant job areas with the necessary knowledge, skills, procedures and tools in place to safely carry out their duties. Topics reviewed include:

  • Human Performance Program
  • Personnel Training
  • Personnel Certification
  • Initial Certification Examinations and Requalification Tests
  • Work Organization and Job Design
  • Fitness for Duty

Operating performance

The operating performance SCA includes an overall review of the conduct of the licensed activities and the activities that enable effective performance. Specific areas assessed by CNSC staff comprise:

  • Conduct of Licensed Activity
  • Procedures
  • Reporting and Trending
  • Outage Management Performance
  • Safe Operating Envelope
  • Severe Accident Management and Recovery
  • Accident Management and Recovery

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Facility and Equipment

Safety analysis

CNSC's Andrei Blahoianu

CNSC's Andrei Blahoianu, Director of the Engineering Design Assessment Division, presents at a 2010 international workshop on soil structure interaction knowledge and effect on the seismic assessment of nuclear power plant structures and components, Ottawa, Ontario

The safety analysis SCA includes maintenance of the safety analysis that supports the overall safety case for the facility. Safety analysis is a systematic evaluation of the potential hazards associated with the conduct of a proposed activity or facility and considers the effectiveness of preventive measures and strategies in reducing the effects of such hazards. Specific areas covered include:

  • Deterministic Safety Analysis
  • Hazard Analysis
  • Probabilistic Safety Analysis
  • Criticality Safety
  • Severe Accident Analysis
  • Management of Safety Issues (including R&D Programs)

Physical design

The physical design SCA relates to activities that affect the ability of structures, systems and components (SSCs) to meet and maintain their design basis, given new information arising over time and taking changes in the external environment into account.

The annual assessment of physical design examines:

  • Design governance
  • Site characterization
  • Facility design
  • Structure design
  • System design
  • Component design

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Fitness for service

CNSC Site Staff Inspection

CNSC site staff inspect the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station's vacuum building. Other multi-unit stations in Canada are also equipped withsuch buildings. At Darlington, the building is connected to all four reactors and provides additional protection to preserve the integrity of the containment in the unlikely event of an accident. Bowmanville, Ontario

The fitness for service SCA covers activities that affect the physical condition of structures, systems and components (SSCs) to ensure that they remain effective over time. This includes programs that ensure all equipment is available to perform its intended design function when called upon to do so. This SCA comprises:

  • Equipment Fitness for Service/Equipment Performance
  • Maintenance
  • Structural Integrity
  • Aging Management
  • Chemistry Control
  • Periodic Inspection and Testing

Core Controls and Processes

Radiation protection

Workers dressed in Protective Equipment

Workers dressed in protective equipment to enter a potentially contaminated area

The radiation protection SCA covers the implementation of a radiation protection program in accordance with the Radiation Protection Regulations. This program must ensure that contamination and radiation doses received are monitored and controlled. The evaluation includes:

  • Application of ALARA
  • Worker Dose Control
  • Radiation Protection Program Performance
  • Radiological Hazard Control
  • Estimated Dose to Public

Conventional health and safety

The conventional health and safety SCA covers the implementation of a program to manage workplace safety hazards and to protect personnel and equipment. CNSC staff examine the following specific areas:

  • Performance
  • Practices
  • Awareness

Environmental protection

Installed Nets

Installed in the spring every year, nets near water intakes at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station considerably reduce the impact of the plant's activities on surrounding aquatic life. Pickering, Ontario Photo credit: The Ajax Pickering News Advertiser)

The environmental protection SCA covers programs that identify, control and monitor all releases of radioactive and hazardous substances and effects on the environment from facilities or as the result of licensed activities. This SCA looks at:

  • Effluent and Emissions Control (releases)
  • Environmental Management System (EMS)
  • Assessment and Monitoring
  • Protection of the Public
  • Environmental Risk Assessment

Emergency management and fire protection

The emergency management and fire protection SCA covers emergency plans and emergency preparedness programs that exist for emergencies and for non-routine conditions. This also includes any results of exercise participation. Emergency management and fire protection includes:

  • Conventional Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Nuclear Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Fire Emergency Preparedness and Response

Waste management

A Dry Storage Container for Spent Fuel

A dry storage container for spent fuel is being moved at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. The CNSC regulates both the management of nuclear waste and the transportation of nuclear substances. Bowmanville, Ontario

The waste management SCA covers internal waste-related programs that form part of the facility's operations up to the point where the waste is removed from the facility to a separate waste management facility. This also covers the planning for decommissioning. Topics covered in depth consist of:

  • Waste Characterization
  • Waste Minimization
  • Waste Management Practices
  • Decommissioning Plans


The security SCA covers the programs required to implement and support the security requirements stipulated in the regulations, in their licence, in orders, or in expectations for their facility or activity.

  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Response Arrangements
  • Security Practices
  • Drills and Exercises

Safeguards and Non-Proliferation

The safeguards SCA covers the programs and activities required for the successful implementation of the obligations arising from the Canada/IAEA safeguards agreements as well as all other measures arising from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

  • Nuclear Material Accountancy and Control
  • Access and Assistance to the IAEA
  • Operational and Design Information
  • Safeguards Equipment, Containment and Surveillance
  • Import and Export

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Packaging and transport

The packaging and transport SCA covers the safe packaging and transport of nuclear substances and radiation devices to and from the licensed facility.

  • Package Design and Maintenance
  • Packaging and Transport
  • Registration for Use
Emergency Services Team

Bruce Power emergency services team pose for the camera. The CNSC requires nuclear power plant operators to have both a fire response team and a tactical team, in order to respond to different incidents that may occur on site. Kincardine, Ontario