GFP-CNSC Administrative Protocol for the Micro Modular Reactor Project at Chalk River Environmental Assessment (EA) & Power Reactor Site Licence (PRSL) Application
Table of contents
On March 20, 2019, Global First Power (GFP) has submitted a partial licence application for a licence to prepare site for a Micro Modular Reactor™ (MMR™) on Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s property at the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) location.
If approved, the proposed MMR™ Project at Chalk River; hereafter referred to as the “Project” or abbreviated to MMRP, would be a new Class 1A nuclear facilityFootnote 1 and the current proposal will involve the site preparation for an MMR™ and supporting infrastructure on a site within the CRL property. Further activities such as construction, operation, and decommissioning would be proposed and assessed under separate licence applicationsFootnote 2.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) staff have determined that, in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and their associated regulations, an environmental assessment (EA) and licence are required in order to conduct the proposed site preparation activities.
The EA and the licence application will be subject to decisions made by the Commission.
To facilitate the preparation and review of documents required for these two decisions, the CNSC and GFP have mutually decided to formally document the various steps in this administrative protocol and an associated evergreen timeline document.
Nothing in this protocol fetters the powers, duties or discretion of CNSC designated officers, CNSC inspectors or the Commission respecting regulatory decisions or taking regulatory action. Also, this protocol does not change in any way any applicable laws or regulations, application requirements or hearing process as set by the CNSC Rules of ProcedureFootnote 3.
The purpose of this protocol is to outline the administrative framework for the EA and licensing activities for the proposed project and GFP’s submissions of the technical information in support of a licence application for site preparation and the CNSC review of this technical information. This protocol aims to provide efficient project management for the regulatory review of information submitted by GFP in support of the project.
The remainder of this protocol is divided into three parts:
- Part I – Framework
- Part II – Requirements for site preparation for the MMRP
- Part III – Approval by signatories
Part I – Framework
The signatories to this protocol have the following roles and responsibilities:
- The CNSC is the Responsible Authority under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 for this project and is responsible for making recommendations to the Commission for the EA under this Act.
- The CNSC has regulatory and statutory responsibilities under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and its regulations. The CNSC is responsible for assessing the application from GFP to prepare a site and making recommendations to the Commission.
- GFP is the applicant for the project on the CRL site. GFP is responsible for submitting adequate and complete information to support the EA and licence application as per regulatory requirements.
Project Management Team
The following staff are responsible for managing the project on behalf of their respective organizations:
- Lead Project Officer and single point of contact (SPOC), New Major Facilities Licensing Division, CNSC
- Lead Environmental Assessment Officer, Environmental Assessment Division, CNSC
- Lead Technical Advisor, Directorate of Regulatory Improvement and Major Projects Management, CNSC
- SPOC, GFP
The CNSC and GFP will identify an alternate if a primary team member is unavailable.
For this protocol, the following managers represent each party:
- Director, New Major Facilities Licensing Division, CNSC
- Director, Environmental Assessment Division, CNSC
- Licensing Director, GFP
The CNSC and GFP will identify an alternate if a primary manager is unavailable.
Executive Management Committee
The CNSC and GFP will form an Executive Management Committee, comprised of senior management representatives who will receive and review progress reports and resolve issues.
The members of the Executive Management Committee are as follows:
- Executive Vice President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer, CNSC
- Director General, Directorate of Regulatory Improvement and Major Projects Management, CNSC
- Director General, Directorate of Environmental and Radiation Protection and Assessment, CNSC
- Licensing Director, GFP
- Project Director or Chief Executive Officer, GFP
The CNSC and GFP will identify an alternate if a primary Executive Management Committee member is unavailable.
This protocol will come into effect on the date of the last signature to this protocol. It will terminate on the latter date that the Commission announces its EA and licensing decisions for the site preparation for the MMR™ project.
GFP will need to submit an EIS and the licensing documentation required by REGDOC-1.1.1, Site Evaluation and Site Preparation for New Reactor Facilities. GFP will also need to respond to information requests and submit a final EIS that integrates the comments and feedback received.
The CNSC will be producing formal information requests that will be submitted to GFP on both the EIS and the licence application.
Upon receiving technical information submitted by GFP under this protocol, CNSC staff will perform a conformity review to identify any obvious omissions or deficiencies and communicate them to GFP. Information Requests (IRs) trigger a clock stop; the clock resumes when GFP has submitted adequate information to address all outstanding IRs. Regulatory reviews in technical areas not impacted by IRs may continue during this time.
Tentative timelines for deliverables and milestones will be maintained in a separate working level document. This document, Global First Power (GFP) Micro Modular Reactor™ Project at Chalk River Environmental Assessment (EA) & Power Reactor Site Licence (PRSL) Assessment Timeline (Evergreen), will be updated as neededFootnote 4 to reflect completions, changes to assumptions or any other meaningful variations. Each party is required to notify the other as soon as practicable of any advances or delays to the schedule of 30 days or greater.
CNSC staff will be producing a CMD in support of the Commission hearing process for making the decision on the EA and licensing according to the timeline in Global First Power (GFP) Micro Modular Reactor™ Project at Chalk River Environmental Assessment (EA) & Power Reactor Site Licence (PRSL) Assessment Timeline (Evergreen), on the basis that GFP has been proactive in submitting the information outlined in this protocol and that CNSC staff have deemed this information complete and sufficient, such that by the time CNSC staff prepare their CMD:
- CNSC staff have had sufficient time to perform their review, and
- All technical issues have been resolved.
GFP will be producing a CMD, in both Official Languages, in support of the Commission hearing process for making the decision on the EA and licensing according to the timeline in Global First Power (GFP) Micro Modular Reactor™ Project at Chalk River Environmental Assessment (EA) & Power Reactor Site Licence (PRSL) Assessment Timeline (Evergreen).
4. Issue resolution
The parties to this protocol will use their best efforts to resolve any differences of opinion in the interpretation or application of this protocol in an effective and timely manner.
The following review and dispute resolution mechanism will be used during the review to assist timely completion.
Step 1: Issue identification
It is the intention of both parties to resolve issues related to the submission of the technical information and the regulatory review through direct discussions between the project management team and where required, the managers.
Following the submission of the first package of technical information, the project management team will hold monthly meetings and the managers on an as-needed basis, to review progress and highlight any potential major issues or disputes. Additional meetings may be called for urgent matters, as required.
If an issue cannot be resolved through escalation to a meeting of the managers, the managers will document the situation (typically with a brief factual summary of the issue and a paragraph representing each organization’s view), and forward it to the Executive Management Committee within 3 working days following the impasse.
Step 2: Meeting of Executive Management Committee
Where the project management team and managers cannot resolve an issue, the Executive Management Committee agrees to meet within three working days of notification of the dispute, with the intention of expeditiously resolving the impasse. Issue resolution is to be documented by the Committee.
If an issue cannot be resolved at this level, it will be referred to the protocol signatories within five working days of the Executive Management Committee’s meeting, supported by the original or revised documentation from step 1.
Step 3: Meeting of signatories to this protocol
If an issue remains unresolved after step 2, it will be referred with documentation to the signatories to this protocol for resolution. A meeting will be called, typically within five working days, to resolve the issue and document its resolution.
The Project Management Team will produce a brief dashboard-style report on a monthly basis, demonstrating progress, status of activities, and items of concern or at risk of incompletion. The reporting will commence approximately one month following the first submission package. The report will be submitted by e-mail to the protocol’s Management and Executive Management Committee members as agreed to by both parties while this protocol remains in effect.
6. External communications
Throughout this protocol’s duration, all parties agree to open, transparent communications and that information destined for public release will be coordinated through the SPOCs (or alternates, where designated), with support from each party’s communications division. As the applicant, GFP is responsible for the necessary communications coordination between the organizations with whom it has established relationships. CNSC and GFP communications will be done in coordination with, and in consideration of, each party’s current communication guidelines.
Although CNSC will be conducting and documenting the review in the language of the proponent, recent experience with proposed projects at the Chalk River site suggests there may be requests from the public for information in French. CNSC’s written conclusions to the Commission will be provided in both Official Languages. GFP has informed the CNSC that it will make the EIS and associated public outreach documentation and CMD available in both Official Languages.
7. Future revisions
Significant material revisions of this protocol shall be coordinated by the managers and approved by the signatories of this protocol. Managers can approve minor revisionsFootnote 5 to this protocol.
8. Details added as project progresses
For clarity, and as additional details related to this project and relevant to this protocol are developed and agreed to, the CNSC and GFP agree to document them in this section and make them part of the protocol.
Part II – Requirements for site preparation for the MMRP
GFP is to submit information so CNSC staff can prepare a recommendation to the Commission on the environmental assessment and the licensing actions required to prepare the site.
GFP is required to prepare an environmental impact statement and licensing documentation that satisfactorily addresses all of CNSC’s regulatory requirements. Key documents include:
- Generic Guidelines for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012,
- REGDOC-2.9.1: Environmental Protection: Environmental Principles, Assessments and Protection Measures,
- REGDOC 1.1.1, Site Evaluation and Site Preparation for New Reactor Facilities,
GFP’s submissions may utilize or make reference to other documents such as CSA standards and IAEA documents.
Part III – Approval by signatories
The protocol has been approved on the dates indicated below.
Digitally signed in pdf
Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer,
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
President and Chief Executive Officer
Global First Power Ltd.
- Footnote 1
As defined in section 1 of the CNSC Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations, SOR/2000-204.
- Footnote 2
As defined in the GFP document, Project Description for the Micro Modular Reactor™ Project at Chalk River.
- Footnote 3
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Rules of Procedure, SOR/2000-211.
- Footnote 4
While the initial release of the evergreen timeline will be endorsed as part of the signing of this Administrative Protocol, subsequent updates and corrections to that evergreen timeline will be recorded in the document’s Summary of Changes table with version numbers and not require approval by management
- Footnote 5
Such as editorial corrections, clarification of text or an update to an organization’s structure
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