CNSC response to the article published in the Globe and Mail on January 5, 2023
Canada’s nuclear regulatory process is stringent and rigorous. Many of our swift regulatory actions were not clearly explained in the article titled “Nuclear reactor pressure tubes are deteriorating faster than expected. Critics warn regulators are ‘breaking their own rules.”
Following the discovery of elevated hydrogen levels in pressure tubes, the CNSC took immediate and decisive action in response to the discovery of this issue, including the issuance of orders to licensees requiring Commission authorization for the restart of units following outages. The orders also specified inspection and maintenance activities to be completed by the licensees prior to requesting authorization to restart. We provided strong oversight to ensure that no operations could continue if there was increased risk to the public or the environment.
To further strengthen the regulatory response to this issue, the Commission established an independent External Advisory Committee to complement the technical expertise of Commission members and provide objective and impartial expert advice in technical matters related to pressure tubes. This committee was established within days of the issue being discovered.
In addition to our robust oversight and regulatory role, we are and continue to be committed to transparency and public engagement. We conducted multiple public Commission proceedings during which updates and information from licensees and CNSC staff were discussed and evaluated using our meticulous and science-based approach. Throughout, members of the public, stakeholders and interested parties were encouraged to provide oral and written interventions which were all considered by the Commission and the External Advisory Committee.
It has been concluded that pressure tubes and reactor operations are safe.
The professional CNSC staff, as well as the independent Commission to which it reports, are entrusted with the protection of health, safety, security and the environment. We are committed to this mandate, and will continue to never compromise safety.
For information about Commission decisions pertaining to this subject, please visit our website http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/resources/fact-sheets/pressure-tubes.cfm
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