CNSC Regulatory Oversight Report on the Use of Nuclear Substances in Canada: 2016 is now published

The report focuses on the results of compliance verification and enforcement activities in 2015 for licensees that use nuclear substances in four sectors: medical, industrial, academic and research, and commercial

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International Conference on Quality, Leadership and Management in the Nuclear Industry: 15th FORATOM-IAEA Management Systems Workshop

Early-bird registration fee ends April 15, 2018.

Learn more

Visit our renewed career page

You will find information on our work environment, competitive compensation and benefits packages, future job opportunities, and much more!

Visit the page

2016–17 CNSC Annual Report – Safety First

The 2016–17 CNSC Annual Report features regulatory information from all steps of the nuclear cycle and highlights the CNSC’s work to ensure that the nuclear industry operates safely.

Read the report

Notice of public hearing to consider OPG’s application

In 2018, the CNSC will hold a two-part public hearing to consider an application from Ontario Power Generation Inc. to renew the operating licence for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

Requests to intervene must be filed by May 7, 2018.

Learn more

Notice of public hearing to consider Bruce Power’s application

In 2018, the CNSC will hold a two-part public hearing to consider an application from Bruce Power to renew the operating licence for the Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear generating stations.

Requests to intervene must be filed by April 16, 2018.

Learn more

Latest News

March 13, 2018
  • Results confirm that the public and the environment around the facility are protected
  • Governor in Council appoints five Commission members to the CNSC
March 12, 2018
  • Read the agenda for Part 1 of the hearing to consider Bruce Power’s licence renewal application
  • Learn about the CANDU reactor components that keep the fuel cool
  • Read the revised agenda for the March 15, 2018 public meeting
March 8, 2018
  • CNSC and CRPA to host Webinar on the scientific basis for the new recommended dose limits to the lens of the eye
  • Licensee to correct non-compliances related to management oversight of radiation protection programs, record keeping, and maintenance
March 6, 2018
  • Open house in advance of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station licence renewal hearing



Hi, I'm Adam.

What do you think of when I say "nuclear" or "radiation"?

Not these?

What if I told you that radiation is all around us?

Don't believe me?

Well, let's have a look around.

Have you ever heard of cosmic radiation?

It comes from the sun and from space but the Earth's atmosphere provides us with a lot of protection from cosmic radiation.

It makes up about one-fifth of the naturally occurring radiation we are all exposed to everyday on Earth.

Of course, the higher up you go, the less protection from the atmosphere there is.

That's why your exposure to natural radiation increases when you work in space, take a flight, or even go mountain climbing.

But don't worry, the extra radiation exposure you'd get from taking a cross-Canada flight is only a tiny fraction of the total radiation dose you can be safely exposed to in one year.

The Earth itself is also naturally radioactive.

Radioactive elements like carbon and hydrogen occur in plants, water, and air.

Rocks and soil also contain small amounts of uranium.

Sixty percent of all the radiation you are exposed to comes from naturally occurring sources like the sun and the Earth.

So, where, then, does the other forty percent come from?

From man-made nuclear activities.

And that's where we come in.

I work at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, or CNSC for short.

We regulate the use of all nuclear substances in Canada,

whether they're being used to power a reactor, to detect cracks in a jet engine, or to detect and treat cancer, just to name a few.

Most of the exposure you'll receive from man-made nuclear activities will actually come from medical procedures.

Nuclear medicine is used to diagnose and treat many different illnesses.

Cancer clinics use nuclear substances or machines like linear accelerators to treat cancers by targeting the cancer cells with high-energy beams.

They can also use tiny radioactive implants to kill the cancer cells.

The CNSC inspects hospitals and clinics to make sure that the nuclear substances and equipment are being used safely.

We also make sure the nuclear substances are disposed of properly.

The CNSC also licenses many other uses for nuclear substances.

They can be found in just about every neighbourhood.

Let's start with your home.

Say you were going through your daily morning routine, and you burn your toast, what would happen? [smoke detector beeping]

This right?

This smoke detector would go off.

Most household smoke detectors contain a radioactive material called Americium-241 to detect smoke in the air.

They are safe and do not pose any health risk to you or your family.

The CNSC licenses the Canadian companies that design and produce smoke detectors.

Did you know that your computer, your alarm clock and all other electric appliances in your home could be powered by nuclear technology?

Fifteen percent of Canada's electricity is generated by nuclear power plants.

Which brings us here...

There are a total of nineteen nuclear reactors in Canada.

The CNSC licenses these facilities to ensure that they operate safely.

One of their license conditions is to regularly test the ground and surface water around the facility to make sure people and the environment are safe.

Now let's move on to your school.

Wondering where you can find the nuclear material?

It's right here... in the exit sign.

Tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, is sealed inside glass tubes that are treated with phosphor.

The tritium makes the phosphor glow, even during a power outage as it doesn't need electricity or batteries to work.

Supermarkets, hospitals, and many other public places use tritium exit signs.

And yes, as you probably guessed, we regulate facilities that process tritium.

So what does your supermarket have to do with nuclear technology?

In Canada, a number of foods such as onions, potatoes, wheat, flour, spices and some seasonings are approved for irradiation.

Irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation in order to kill microorganisms.

This is done to prevent food poisoning from harmful bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella, and to keep food fresh longer.

And no, irradiating food does not make the food radioactive.

Now we all know that summer in Canada is construction season.

Portable gauges are radiation devices often used on constructions sites.

They can measure road thickness and detect moisture in soil without having to dig.

The CNSC licenses all handheld radiation devices and ensures that anyone using them has been properly trained.

Now for the really cool stuff - space exploration also relies on nuclear technology to study and explore our solar system, including Earth, the Moon and Mars.

Although the United States led the charge in the latest Mars space missions, Canada contributed in small but significant ways.

In one of the missions to Mars, Canadians contributed the Alpha

Particle X-Ray Spectrometer, or APXS for short.

It's a sensor that uses alpha particles and

X-rays to determine the chemical composition of the rocks on Mars.

So as you can see, radiation and nuclear technology are all around us... near and far.

The CNSC ensures that all nuclear facilities, activities and man-made substances are safe in Canada and that you and I, and the environment are protected.

Upcoming Commission proceedings

Recent Decisions

  • February 20, 2018
    Decision on Canadian Light Source Inc.’s request for a change to the licensing basis for its Class IB synchrotron facility
    Record of decision
  • February 7, 2018
    CNSC renews Ontario Power Generation's waste facility operating licence for the Pickering Waste Management Facility
    News release
  • November 29, 2017
    Decision on CNL’s application to amend its waste nuclear substance licence for the Port Hope Long-Term Waste Management Facility
    Record of decision
  • November 28, 2017
    CNSC accepts Ontario Power Generation’s consolidated financial guarantee
    News release | Record of decision
  • November 16, 2017
    Decision on Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc.’s revised financial guarantee for the future decommissioning of its fuel manufacturing facility
    Record of decision

    Decision on Cameco Corporation’s revised financial guarantee for the future decommissioning of the Blind River Refinery
    Record of decision
  • October 26, 2017
    Decision on Ontario Power Generation’s request to amend the operating licences for the Darlington and Pickering Nuclear Generating Stations
    Record of decision

Stay connected

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