Monthly Archives: November 2011

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.


Nuclear Energy Nuclear News Nuclear Pride

Celebrating Catalysts of Innovation

The CNA is proud to support Pollution Probe by attending their annual dinner this evening!

Pollution Probe is a Canadian charitable environmental organization that:

  • Defines environmental problems through research;
  • Promotes understanding through education; and,
  • Presses for practical solutions through advocacy.

In fact, we have been working with Probe on various energy literacy initiatives over the past year that serve to help Canadians better understand Canada’s energy system. We like to remind our stakeholders that we understand the energy mix required for a large, diverse (and cold!) nation like ours. Because nuclear power plants operate all the time, they play an important role in Canada’s energy portfolio — and with electricity demand projected to increase by 34% by 2025 (due to population growth and new technology developments), meeting this demand will required increased capacity to produce reliable electricity.

Each year, Pollution Probe’s Annual Gala Dinner brings together 400 to 500 leaders and enablers from industry and government for an evening of networking and celebration. The theme of this year’s Gala is innovation, reflecting the premise that significant environmental change needs positive, tangible innovation. A new feature, the Innovator‘s Showroom, will be dedicated to showcasing leading-edge technology and thinking that advances environmental improvement and sustainable development. Proceeds from the Gala support Pollution Probe’s work to advance public policy that results in positive and tangible environmental change.

His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will be at the Gala as the recipient of Pollution Probe’s inaugural Environmental and Sustainable Development Leader Award. This year’s award recognizes His Excellency as a driving force for environmental innovation in Canada. Perhaps we can find some time to talk to the GG about the key role nuclear plays in S&T and innovation over dinner? We’ll let you know!

Nuclear News Nuclear Outreach

Women Working in Skilled Trades – Position Paper Launch

We here at TalkNUclear are proud to support the launch of this position paper about dispelling some of the myths associated with women in the skilled trades and technologies. The Canadian nuclear community is made up of over 70,000 Canadians employed directly or indirectly in exploring and mining uranium, generating electricity, advancing nuclear medicine, and promoting Canada’s worldwide leadership in science and technology innovation. Our industry needs skilled women working in trade and technology careers. This paper offers recommendations to government, educators and industry to help build programs and incentives to entice women into seeing a skilled trades and technologies as a first-choice career option.

Kitchener – On November 9th, 2011, the executive directors of Women in Nuclear Canada and Skills Canada-Ontario will co-host a breakfast event to celebrate the launch of their joint publication, Women Working in the Skilled Trades and Technologies: Myths and Realities.

Cheryl Cottrill of WiN and Gail Smyth of Skills Canada-Ontario will welcome several dozen stakeholders to the breakfast event at The Sutton Place Hotel, including tradespeople, business leaders and government representatives. Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO of Bruce Power, will deliver the keynote address.

The paper is the result of a conference hosted by WiN and Skills Canada-Ontario in 2010, in which industry participants were asked for their feedback regarding misconceptions around women working in skilled trades. Their input was combined with data gleaned from a number of additional sources to create the 28-page report.

“We are pleased to have been able to add our voices to the question of what needs to be done to encourage more women to enter these great careers. This report not only contains information for women considering the skilled trades, but also offers advice on how industry, government and educators can provide them with meaningful support, from high school straight through to the workplace.” – Gail Smyth, Executive Director of Skills Canada-Ontario.

The report also highlights six common myths about women working in the skilled trades, and dispels these with the realities that are found in these careers, including excellent wages, good working conditions and room for advancement. “There is no reason why more talented women shouldn’t be filling the current and projected shortfalls in skilled trades positions,” says Smyth. “The sky is the limit in terms of what is available to them, and this report helps to illustrate that fact.”

An electronic copy of the paper will be available on the WiN-Canada website under News and Resources on the morning of Nov. 9. A copy of the paper will also reside on the Skills Canada-Ontario website.

Read more in Daily Exchange

CNA2012 Update – Program Confirmed!


The agenda for the
2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference
and Trade Show is complete!

View, download and print the detailed agenda HERE (pdf) and see below for highlights of this exciting event, coming to Ottawa, February 22-24, 2012.

Seize this opportunity to hear and learn from some of the nuclear industry’s top representatives and field experts.

Take advantage of early-bird pricing and REGISTER NOW.




  • 08:30 – 16:00 National Education Symposium & Student Chalk River Facility Tour
    The Chalk River Tour is open to students attending the Conference who express interest and meet selection criteria. Inquiries welcome!


  • 08:30 – 13:30 CNA Board of Directors Meeting
  • 08:30 – 16:00 Canadian Association of Nuclear Host Communities Meeting
  • 12:00 – 20:30 Conference and Trade Show Registration
  • 13:00 – 17:00 CNA Regulatory Affairs Workshop
    To provide an update on some of the new Federal and Provincial regulatory developments affecting Canada’s nuclear industry.  The workshop will include presentations by representatives of key Federal and Provincial agencies.
  • 15:00 – 17:00 CNA Communications Workshop
    To focus primarily on Risk Communications on Critical Science Topics and our updated communications strategy through the TalkNuclear brand.
  • 14:00 – 15:00 CEO Student Briefing & Career Assistance Program
    An hour-long panel discussion chaired by the President of the CNA which includes executive representatives some of our members.
  • 15:00 – 20:30 Opening of CNA Trade Show Area and Career Fair
  • 18:00 – 21:00 Welcome Reception
    Featuring opening remarks from the CNA President and the award reception for the 2012 Ian McRae Award. The Welcome Reception operates as a networking opportunity for conference attendees.


  • 07:30 – 08:30 Breakfast and Introductory Remarks, in Confederation I and Provinces Rooms
    Wayne Robbins, Chairman, Canadian Nuclear Association, Chief Nuclear Officer, Ontario Power Generation
  • 08:30 – 09:15 Keynote Presentation – Science in Popular Media, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Jay Ingram, Science broadcaster, writer, and co-host of Discovery Channel’s science show, Daily Planet.
  • 09:30 – 10:00 WANO Update from Fukushima Response Commission, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Tom Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Power Generation, Chair, World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) Fukushima Response Commission
  • 10:00 – 10:30 Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission 2012 Update, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Michael Binder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Refreshment Break
  • 10:45 – 12:15 Panel: Innovative Methods of Communicating Science, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Chair: Jay Ingram; Panellists: Ted Hartwell – Desert Research Institute, Toby Heaps – Corporate Knights Magazine (invited), Up to two more panellists to be determined.
  • 12:15 – 14:15 Lunch – Keynote Address from Natural Resources Canada, Confederation I and Provinces Rooms
    The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister, Natural Resources Canada
  • 14:30 – 15:00 Stimulating Innovation and its Role in the Nuclear Renaissance, Confederation Rooms II and III
    Dr. Kate Jackson, Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Westinghouse
  • 15:00 – 15:20 Refreshment Break, Foyer & Governor General’s Ballroom
  • 15:20 – 17:00 Nuclear Innovation: Bright Ideas to Keep the Lights On, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Chair: TBA; Panellists: Doug Richardson – General Fusion, Mike Lees – Babcock & Wilcox, Dr. Kate Jackson – Westinghouse
  • 17:15 – 19:30 Trade Show Reception, Foyer & Governor General’s Ballroom


  • 07:45 – 08:30 Breakfast
  • 08:30 – 09:30 Why People Believe Strange Things, Dr. Michael Shermer, Confederation I and Provinces Rooms
    Dr. Michael Shermer, founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, and a monthly columnist for Scientific American
  • 09:45 – 10:15 Innovation and the Next 10 Years of Nuclear Medicine, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Steve West, Chief Executive Officer, Nordion
  • 10:15 – 10:45 Changing the Culture in Canadian Research and Innovation, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    John McDougall, President, National Research Council
  • 10:45 – 11:00 Refreshment Break, Foyer & Governor General’s Ballroom
  • 11:00 – 11:30 SNC-Lavalin and the Future of Canadian Nuclear Technology, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Patrick Lamarre, President, SNC-Lavalin Nuclear
  • 11:30 – 12:30 Closing Remarks, in Confederation Rooms II and III
    Denise Carpenter, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Nuclear Association


Early-bird registration is open until December 15. Register now to reserve your spot.


Don’t forget to keep in touch with our weekly Conference updates and Sponsor Spotlights at

For more information, see the links below, or contact Marie-danielle Davis at

See you in February!

2012 Conference Agenda  –  REGISTER  – Sponsors

Sponsor Spotlight on…

Click to learn more about 2012 CNA Conference and
Trade Show sponsor, Black & McDonald

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Bringing “NU Energy” to Parliament Hill

Tuesday October 25, over 40 members of Canada’s nuclear community descended on Parliament Hill to say YES to nuclear.

Members of North American-Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) and Women-in-Nuclear (WiN) Canada from several CNA member companies came to the Nation’s Capital to talk to Parliamentarians about the benefits of the Canadian nuclear industry.

Some "young genners" and "WiNners" in front of the Eternal Flame on Parliament Hill.

The “young genners” and “WiNners” held meetings with twenty Parliamentarians from all sides of the House sharing their stories and experiences about working in the nuclear industry. Before the meetings, the participants got to brush up on their communication skills – both verbal and non-verbal.

The first of two professional development sessions, led by professional media specialist, Judith Boyle, focused on how to effectively communicate your core message, respond to different types of questions and preparation for special situations. The second session, led by the Christopher Leadership Course from Toronto, taught participants the importance of soft-skills and getting rid of nervous energy and word-whiskers (like “um” and “you know”).

What did participants say about the communications training?

“Good content, liked interactive nature and preparation for meetings was essential.”

“It was great to learn & practice on the spot. It was great to hear everyone’s comments. Loved her (Judith) questions & way of teaching.”

“This was an excellent crash course to begin feeling comfortable with peers and the future MP meetings.”

“Great practical information. Great to practice what we learned.”

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour with The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources

Positive Feedback From All

Members of Parliament, Senators, as well as Ministerial staffers and public servants, were happy to speak one-on-one with our groups of 3-4 people. It was a great opportunity for Parliamentarians to talk nuclear from the fresh first-hand perspective of our engineers, environmental officers, emergency management specialists, and those in many other important roles.

At a reception hosted by The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, the Minister encouraged participants to “keep out there and keep talking,” and added:

“When you throw the stereotype out the window and you see that there are women in nuclear and that there are young people choosing to go into the field because it’s a good solid field, it really does turn everything on its head — because we believe in the future of the industry.”

Thank you, Minister Raitt. We agree with you 100%.


What did participants think of NU Energy on the Hill day overall?

“Great initiative and fantastic experience. Thank you!”

“This was a very beneficial professional development opportunity.”

“Overall the meeting with the Parliamentarians was well received and I thought it was a good way to communicate a more genuine message.”

“An amazing experience, one which ignited me not just for one day – but a lasting memory & impression. Such a tremendous opportunity & I consider myself very fortunate.”

“Great opportunity to meet/network with other people in the industry…Overall, it was a great experience, and would recommend it for future years.”

“Great experience, good working teams, nice to have a CNA facilitator.”

A photo-op with the Honourable Lisa Raitt and NA-YGN and WiN members at the NU Energy on Parliament Hill Day reception.

Thank you to all the “young genners” and “WiNners” for participating in NU Energy on Parliament Hill Day and sharing your nuclear passion with Canada’s leaders and policy makers. Thank you to CNA members Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, Candu Energy, Cameco, AMEC and Kinectrics for sending your best and brightest to Ottawa to represent the Canadian nuclear community on the Hill.

Additional Links

Read the WiN-Canada blog post about NU Energy on the Hill day:

View photos from the day on the TalkNUclear Facebook page:

Download the hi-res versions from NU Energy on the Hill day: