Tag Archives: NRCan

CNA Responds Messages

Natural Resource Projects will Require More than $500-Billion from Government

This letter from our President, Denise Carpenter, appeared in The Hill Times today in response to this article in the Hill Times Resources Policy Briefing on December 5. Canada’s energy and natural resources infrastructure need government investment and streamlined regulatory frameworks and would benefit greatly from enhanced collaboration between government and industry.

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The Canadian Nuclear Association was among the industry associations that appeared before the House of Commons Environment Committee recently to advocate for changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) (“NRCan anticipates $500 billion in new investments in natural resources projects,” December 5).

In fact, we made a number of suggestions that the nuclear industry believes would make environmental assessments:

  • More efficient – by conducting EAs according to the principle of “one project, one assessment, by the best-placed regulator”;
  • More effective – by strengthening the precedent value of EAs;
  • Proportionate to the environmental risk – avoiding reassessment of risks that have already been addressed;
  • More aligned with permitting and authorization decisions; and
  • More timely.

As vital as improving the regulatory framework may be, an anticipated $500 billion in natural resource projects will require much more than this from Canadian governments.

Your article rightly quoted the petroleum industry on the need for pipeline expansion.  But realizing all of these energy and natural resource developments will depend on a range of goods and services that will not be adequately supplied by business alone, and are fertile ground for public-private collaboration:

  • Education and human resource development:  public schooling and an academic sector that build the skills employers need.
  • Science and technology infrastructure:  laboratory facilities, equipment, instrumentation and expertise that can be invested in, and accessed, by business, government and universities.
  • Transport infrastructure:  the capacity to move supplies, energy, people and products efficiently within Canada and across our borders.

Senators Angus and Mitchell made related points in the same issue (“Energy, Environment:  We Need a National Discussion”).  Government can enable hundreds of billions in development, not just by regulating well, but also by working together with industry to build the human, technological and transport infrastructure required.

Sincerely,

Denise Carpenter
President
Canadian Nuclear Association

Messages Nuclear News Nuclear Pride

Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Important Part of Managing our Legacy (Waste)

This letter appeared in the Toronto Star on June 14. It’s from a resident of Port Hope who understands that low-level radioactive waste doesn’t pose a health threat and that background radiation is as natural as breathing. That doesn’t mean that the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is a “scam,” as he says. The government has a responsibility to clean up its legacy nuclear waste, most of which dates back to the Cold War and is unrelated to current operations in Port Hope.

The PHAI website FAQ describes low-level waste as:

In Port Hope (Ward One), low-level radioactive waste consists of soil mixed with small amounts of historic refinery waste, left over from uranium and radium refining operations in the town during the 1930s to 1970s. This contaminated soil contains slightly elevated levels of natural radioactive materials. The Welcome and Port Granby Waste Management Facilities contain residues generated at the refinery from the 1940s to 1988. Low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope area does not come from nuclear power reactors.

The PHAI clean-up is a process started in the late 1970s, when the issue came to light. It took until 2001 to agree on an acceptable solution. There have been hundreds of consultations with residents, government and Aboriginal groups, plus extensive  environmental and public safety assessments. In fact,

each phase of the project has been, and will continue to be, subject to regulatory review and oversight by the CNSC as well as by Environment Canada, Health Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada and several provincial ministries.

There’s also some confusion about the Property Value Protection (PVP) Program. The Program isn’t about compensating people for having historic low-level waste on their property. The PVP Program is designed to protect the property seller if they realize a loss on the sale of their property as a direct result of the clean-up project. This is part of the 2001 agreement between the federal government and Port Hope (and Clarington).

(FYI – the PVP Program is working well with 29 of 40 claims approved since 2001.)

The bottom line: the clean-up is perfectly legitimate and will have a lasting postive impact on the community. Residents of Port Hope have expressed concern about the low-level waste, the government has responded. As an industry we support the Port Hope Area Initiative because of our commitment to public safety and environmental stewardship which includes the safe, secure and responsible management of nuclear waste — from low-level waste  to used nuclear fuel from power plants. Learn about the different types of waste and how it’s managed here.

You can sign up for email updates about PHAI on their website.

Messages Nuclear News Nuclear Pride

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver Addresses the CNS 2011 Conference

On Sunday evening, at the Opening Reception of the Canadian Nuclear Society 2011 Conference in Niagara Falls, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver addressed the crowd of mostly engineers and scientists who are the “backbone of this industry,” as Mr. Oliver said.

The Minister acknowledged the key role that nuclear has played in Canada’s energy mix for over 40 years, as well as the value the industry brings by way of direct and indirect jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. He said the new Conservative government is committed to managing the nuclear file and addressing key issues such as legacy waste management and the restructuring of AECL; he says AECL must be “repositioned for success,” starting with the CANDU Reactor Division, then turning attention to AECL’s nuclear laboratories. AECL will be more competitive and benefit Canadian taxpayers.

The AECL labs are huge in Canada’s nuclear history – and really where it all began. Mr. Oliver reminded the CNS conference audience that the labs are where Nobel Prize-winning neutron scattering technology was pioneered, where Canada advanced medical isotope technology and where CANDU technology was created. Mr. Oliver said the Government of Canada recognizes nuclear technology’s contributions in meeting our energy, environmental, and health care needs. He said the Government supports AECL’s work to re-license the NRU at Chalk River to 2016 to ensure the supply of medical isotopes. In fact, you’ll recall the government committed $35 million over two years towards research and development of non-reactor based technologies for isotope production, specifically technetium-99m.

In addressing nuclear safety, the Minister offered words to those affected by the events of March 11 in Japan. He said the effects of the earthquakes and tsunami on the Fukushima nuclear plant are a reminder of the importance of maintaining and constantly improving the industry’s safety culture. The events certainly have strengthened our commitment to the health, safety and security of Canadians and our environment, the Minister said.

The Honourable Joe Oliver Minister of Natural Resources

Canadian nuclear safety is paramount. From the independent regulator (the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission), to Canada’s highly-trained skilled operators, to the robust design of Canada’s reactors, proven to be among the safest in the world – Canadian nuclear means safety!

The Minister of Natural Resources is also tasked with overseeing the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), which is currently in the process of selecting a site for a long-term management facility. Responsible waste management is part of the Government’s commitment to a strong nuclear industry, which is why the government supports the Nuclear Legacy Liabilities Program which addresses accumulated waste from the early years of research and development conducted on behalf of the Canadian Government, as well as the Port Hope Initiative to secure the low-level waste in that community.

In closing Minister Oliver reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to ensuring an industry that is competitive, strong and safe, as a foundation for high-paying jobs and growth. We’re with you, Mr. Oliver!

Messages

Federal Cabinet Announcement

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced the new Cabinet of his majority government in the 41st Parliament. The Cabinet is now composed of 39 members including the Prime Minister. A total of 31 Ministers were re-appointed.

Ministers who will keep their existing portfolios include Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment; Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance; Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation; and Jason Kenny, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Three newly-elected Members of Parliament were promoted directly into Cabinet including Joe Oliver from Toronto (Eglinton–Lawrence), as the new Minister of Natural Resources. His bio is copied below.

Ministers who were assigned new duties include Tony Clement as the President of Treasury Board, and Christian Paradis as Industry Minister and Minister of State for Agriculture.

The Cabinet’s regional composition is as follows:

  • 15 from Ontario
  • 14 from western Canada – including the Prime Minister.
  • 4 from Quebec
  • 5 from Atlantic Canada
  • 1 from Nunavut

Given the Government’s majority status, the role of caucuses and regional Ministers should increase in importance in policy and legislative development.

Prime Minister Harper also announced the membership of the Cabinet Committees (PDF). There are eight Cabinet Committees in total including the Treasury Board Sub-Committee on Strategic and Operating Review. These Committees provide the necessary planning and support for Cabinet decision-making.  The Committees which are the most relevant are: Priorities and Planning, Operations Treasury Board, and Economic Prosperity and Sustainable Growth.

The Prime Minister will continue to chair the Cabinet Committee on Priorities and Planning which provides the strategic direction on Government priorities and expenditure management. Mr. Clement will preside over the Treasury Board Committee and Christian Paradis will Chair the Cabinet committee on Economic Prosperity and Sustainable Growth.

Minister Jason Kenny has been promoted within the Cabinet Committee process as Chair of the influential Cabinet Committee on Operations. This committee was previously chaired by Jim Prentice, and provides the day-to-day coordination of the Government’s agenda, including issues management, house-planning and communications.  It should be noted that Minister Kenny now sits on four Cabinet Committees which increases his influence in the Government’s decision-making processes.

The Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, is a member of the Treasury Board Sub- Committee on Strategic and Operational Review, and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Prosperity and Sustainable Growth.

The full listing of the Cabinet Ministers and their biographies.

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Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources
Eglinton–Lawrence (Ontario)

Joe Oliver was elected to the House of Commons for the first time in May 2011.

Mr. Oliver began his investment banking career at Merrill Lynch, and served in senior positions at other investment dealers and as Executive Director of the Ontario Securities Commission. He was then appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada. He also played a prominent role as Chair of the Advisory Committee of the International Council of Securities Associations and as Chair of the Consultative Committee of the International Association of Securities Commissions. A graduate of the Directors Education Program at the Rotman School of Management, he was also a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators and sat on the board of the Canadian Securities Institute Research Foundation.

Mr. Oliver is an active member of his community and volunteers for various charities in Canada and abroad. He served as Chair of the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada for four years and continues to be an active volunteer at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Mr. Oliver obtained both his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Civil Law at McGill University. He was called to the Quebec Bar and later graduated with an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.