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Heather Kleb New CNA Vice President

Heather Kleb, CNA Vice President

If you know the Canadian Nuclear Association’s work in regulatory affairs then you’re probably familiar with Heather Kleb, our Director of Regulatory Affairs.

Today we have a very important announcement which reflects the ongoing evolution of the CNA.

As of October 1st, Heather Kleb has been promoted to the role of Vice President!

Throughout her time as the CNA Director of Regulatory Affairs, Heather’s high caliber work, leadership, and commitment to advocating on behalf of CNA member interests has established her suitability for this senior role.

She consistently demonstrates a high level of professionalism and commitment to the CNA and our members.

Please join us in congratulating Heather on her promotion to Vice President.

CNA2012

CNA2012 Update – Exclusive Workshops

Wednesday Workshops at the
2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show

Kick off your Conference experience with a Wednesday Workshop! Choose an invaluable update on the most relevant regulatory and legislative changes on the horizon, or equip yourself with the tools you need to have a meaningful dialogue with stakeholders about real and perceived risks about Radiation.

Space is limited. Register for either workshop today.

 Come for the Workshop, Stay for the Conference

REGISTER NOW

 CNA Regulatory Affairs Workshop – 2012
Feb 22, 13:00 – 17:00
Westin Hotel (Oak Room)
#CNARegsWksp

The purpose of this year’s Regulatory Affairs Workshop will be to share information on new regulatory developments pertaining to the protection of the environment and, in particular, the protection of water.

Guest speakers will include federal and provincial regulatory officials whose mandate includes the protection of water.  Dr. Patsy Thompson will be discussing proposed improvements to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s regulatory framework for environmental protection under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.  Beverley Thorpe, of the Credit Valley, Toronto and Region and Central Lake Ontario Source Protection Committee, will be discussing new policy direction for source water protection under Ontario’s Clean Water Act.  Heather McCready will be discussing how Environment Canada’s Environmental Enforcement Directorate is working to minimize threats to the natural environment under the Fisheries Act.

Workshop participants will be provided with an overview of the mandate and legislation that govern these activities and the opportunity to ask questions about the new, and existing, regulatory requirements.

Max. 40 participants

Register Now

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Talking about Radiation: “Are We Safe? Can We Trust You?”     
Feb 22, 12:00 – 17:00
Westin Hotel (Quebec Room)
#CNACommsWksp

This workshop, facilitated by Decision Partners, will provide participants with an understanding of radiation science at a lay level, and the principles of strategic risk communications for communicating about this complex topic.  Understanding Risk Communications and explaining health risks associated Radiation was identified as a key learning following events at Fukushima. The workshop will enhance the preparedness of the participants – including industry workers, stakeholders and governments – in explaining types of radiation to people from outside the nuclear industry.

Workshop participants will also hear from Mr. John Roberts and Ms. Andrea Marshall from Aurora Energy Ltd., who will share a case study based on their company’s experience communicating with people in Labrador about radiation and uranium mining.  Participants will leave the workshop with a toolkit of tested communications messages and a better understanding of best practices for engaging stakeholders in a community dialogue.

Max. 40 participants

Working lunch provided

Register Now

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Download the entire Conference Agenda HERE (now includes #hashtags!)

What the #hashtag?
The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

Join the conversation on Twitter. Tweet using #cnagm2012 or the session #hashtag found on the Agenda.

Meet the Speakers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our SPONSORS

See you in February!

 

Sponsor Spotlight

Checkout the Sponsor Spotlight on Ontario Power Generation. Click here!

CNA Responds

Assessing the Assessments: Recommendations to Improve the EA Process

On Thursday November 24, Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association, addressed the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to deliver five recommendations to improve the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The Canadian Nuclear Association has about 100 members working in uranium mining and exploration, fuel processing and electricity generation, and the production and advancement of nuclear medicine.  As may be expected, many of our projects and activities are subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.  In fact our Members have completed many Environmental Assessments in the ~15 year period that the Act has been in effect.

Environmental Assessments have become an integral part of how we conduct our business and we have gained considerable insights from carrying them out.  While we believe that Environmental Assessment is a valuable planning tool that leads to improved decision-making, we also believe that there are areas for improvement, particularly regarding process efficiency and predictability.

Our recommended improvements include:

  • the goal of “one-project, one-assessment, by the best-placed regulator”;
  • Environmental Assessments, or EAs, should be effective;
  • EA requirements should be proportional to the risks;
  • EA decisions should be consistent with permitting and authorization decisions; and
  • EA processes and decision-making should be timely.

Regarding the principle of “One-project, One-assessment, by the Best-Placed Regulator,” it is our view that to be truly effective, a project should be subject to only one EA and that that EA should be conducted by the jurisdiction, or regulator with the most comprehensive knowledge of the project or industry – the best-placed regulator.

For most of our industry that would mean the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.  The only exception would be within the province of Saskatchewan, where Canada’s uranium mining industry resides.  While the CNSC is a knowledgeable regulator, one can never underestimate the value of local knowledge, whether it be local community, Aboriginal, or regulatory knowledge.  In either case, our Members would recommend that the agency with the most appropriate authority over a project assume responsibility for the EA, and decision, and that the one assessment satisfy both federal and provincial requirements.

There is also an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of EAs so that Canadians can have confidence that they are fostering environmentally and socially responsible economic activity.  The intent of the Act is to “promote sustainable development and thereby achieve or maintain a healthy environment and healthy economy.”  However, the focus is often on environmental, rather than economic aspects of projects.  Improvements could be achieved through better integration of environmental, social and economic considerations and by increasing the precedent value of EAs.  These steps would help ensure that EAs are fostering the environmentally responsible economic activity that underlies Canadian prosperity.

The scope of EAs should also be proportionate to the environmental risk.  The Act allows for three types of EAs — Screenings, Comprehensive Studies and Review Panels – so that the more likely a project is to cause “significant adverse environmental effects,” the more substantive the process.  But, because of overly-inclusive Law List Regulations, and under-developed Exclusion List Regulations, routine administrative activities, such as approvals made pursuant to a licence – can trigger an EA.

That is because the EA process is triggered for projects involving the listed legal provision without consideration for the extent, or scope of the activity in question.  Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the process is triggered whenever a licence is issued, amended or an approval is issued pursuant to a licence.  Such approvals should not trigger an EA when there are no new risks.  The EA scope should instead focus on risks that were not previously addressed.
Known and manageable risks that were previously addressed through EAs and other regulatory processes should not be re-evaluated.  It undermines the earlier process and leads to unnecessary duplication.  This could be prevented by amending the Exclusion List Regulations to exempt minor approvals for existing facilities from another EA and modifying the Act to exempt activities that improve environmental performance.

Re-evaluation should also be avoided in subsequent authorization and permitting processes.  Currently, the Act has no application to permitting, licensing or any of the other authorizations that are required following the EA; that in fact triggered the EA.  As a result, these authorizations are not always consistent with the EA conclusions.  The absence of coordination is particularly apparent at the federal level where an authorization under the Fisheries Act may not be acceptable under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act licensing process.

Ideally, if an EA concludes that a project is unlikely to result in significant adverse environmental effects and the risks addressed by subsequent authorizations were previously addressed, then authorizations should be certain and timely.  To increase certainty, CNA members recommend that proponents be able to opt for the review of permits and other authorizations as early in the EA process as they chose.  Also, Fisheries Act and other authorizations should be maintained as discrete processes, separate from the EA and not delay the EA decision.

Together these recommendations would improve the certainty and timeliness of EA processes.  The duration of EA processes can be long and unpredictable.  According to the Major Projects Management Office, the typical timeframe for approval of major projects in Canada is four years, not counting the studies carried out by the proponent.  In some cases, even minor projects, subject to screenings, can take years.

The Act should be amended to ensure that EAs are conducted according to mandatory timelines, particularly for key steps.  Service agreements outlining timelines for key steps would help ensure that they are undertaken within a reasonable timeframe.  Agreed timelines should also reflect the project complexity and be developed with input from the proponent.

In conclusion, the important points to remember are:

  • once the best-placed regulator is identified, federal and provincial agencies should accept each other’s processes and decisions as equivalent to their own,
  • EA decisions should focus on socio-economic as well as environmental factors as a means of fostering socially responsible economic activity,
  • previously assessed projects and activities should not be re-evaluated
  • authorizations and permits should be consistent with previous assessments
  • a formalized agreement should be established to improve the timeliness of the EA process.