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South Bruce residents attend virtual information session with CNSC experts

September 26, 2020

South Bruce residents were invited to a “Meet the Regulator” virtual information session, Wednesday, Sept. 16, with expert staff of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

This was a follow-up to an educational presentation by CNSC representatives, Aug. 6, at the Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meeting, where they gave an overview of their role as Canada’s nuclear regulator and licensor.

Following the initial presentation, South Bruce community members were invited to submit further questions to CNSC experts, related to their role in the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO)’s Adaptive Phased Management program for a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

Shortly after 7 p.m., CLC vice-chairman Doug Culbert welcomed the CNSC experts to South Bruce, and thanked them for hosting the session which focused on providing detailed responses to the inquiries brought forth.

Community members tuned into the virtual event, which featured seven CNSC employees from various departments who addressed the 37 questions submitted in advance.

The CNSC grouped the questions into themes and prepared a slide-show presentation to accompany the responses.

At the outset of the presentation, the experts defined what the CNSC does and does not do as an organization. Later, the timeline of the Adaptive Phased Management program was also highlighted, which explains the ongoing CNSC regulatory involvement for these proposed sites.

Question themes included public engagement, waste management, geoscience and DGRs, environmental assessment, licensing service arrangement, emergency preparedness, health and safety, and other matters of regulatory interest. When addressing a number of submitted questions related to emergency preparedness and response, it was emphasized that a licence will be granted by the CNSC only after all requirements for safety have been met.

After answering the pre-submitted questions by each theme, the CNSC representatives allowed additional follow-up questions using a virtual chat function.

In responding to a concern which was raised by a viewer in the virtual chat, Adam Levine, team leader – indigenous relations and participant funding program, spoke to the perception that the CNSC is influenced by the nuclear industry.

Levine explained that the CNSC is completely independent from the nuclear industry, and focuses on safety as mandated by the Act of Parliament which governs it.

Similarly, one pre-submitted question asked what the CNSC does to promote nuclear power. Project officer Julia Smith confirmed that the CNSC does not promote nuclear power whatsoever; this was alluded to at the beginning of the presentation when outlining the do’s and don’ts of the organization.

The final pre-submitted question which was addressed, simply asked what the CNSC sees its role being at this point with the DGR project in South Bruce. Project officer Jocelyn Truong explained that the CNSC will continue to engage with the community and answer questions relating to the licensing process. She added that any other questions are welcome to be submitted to

Truong reminded viewers that the questions and answers from this information session, will be shared in a written document which will be made available to the community through the CLC, once finalized.

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