Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for the invitation to appear before you today to discuss certain aspects of Bill S-9, the Nuclear Terrorism Act, and how they relate to the mandate of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
I'm accompanied by Mr. Raoul Awad, director general of the directorate of security and safeguards, and Mr. Jason K. Cameron, director general of the strategic planning directorate.
The CNSC is Canada's sole nuclear regulator and, as such, is responsible for protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment with regard to the use of nuclear energy.
The CNSC is also tasked with ensuring that Canada meets its international obligations as far as the peaceful use of nuclear energy is concerned. We carry out our mandate under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and related regulations.
The CNSC and its predecessor organization have been regulating nuclear activities for more than 65 years. Activities regulated cover the entire nuclear cycle, from uranium mining and milling through to fuel fabrication, to nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants, and ultimately to waste management. Regulatory oversight also extends to nuclear substances and to commercial, medical, academic, and research applications.
I will focus my brief comments today on describing how the CNSC ensures the security of nuclear materials and of nuclear facilities.
The prevention of nuclear terrorism relies on several elements, starting with international treaties and conventions. In Canada, the CNSC oversees the application of physical protection, threat assessment, and security measures. While Bill S-9 deals with Criminal Code offences if terrorist activity is found, the work of the CNSC is largely meant to be preventive, so that nuclear terrorism efforts will be detected and thwarted as early as possible.
The CNSC was involved in helping to develop the amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The CNSC's nuclear security regulations were updated in 2006 to reflect those changes. These regulations set out prescriptive and detailed security measures that licensees must adhere to. Physical protection requirements are based on a graded approach commensurate with the risk level and the resulting consequences.
For example, with respect to category I and II nuclear materials, and the facilities in which they are stored, the requirements range from site access controls to an on-site armed response force capable of intervention in the case of intrusion, theft, or sabotage. Employees and supervisors must fulfill mandatory requirements for awareness and education of security protocols. Those workers with access to nuclear materials must undergo rigorous background checks.
Licensees must develop and maintain contingency plans, as well as practise regular emergency drills. In fact, the North American nuclear industry holds an annual competition in which the tactical and physical skills of nuclear security protection officers are demonstrated. Canadian teams are regularly among the winners.
The transport of category I, II, and III nuclear materials is covered by the packaging and transport of nuclear substances regulations, and requires a licence from the CNSC. In order to obtain such an approval, the licensee must submit a transport security plan that provides detailed information, including a threat assessment, the proposed security measures, the route, and other arrangements along the route, all in accordance with the nuclear security regulations. Security plans are required for all shipments, including those in transit through Canada. Transport Canada's transportation of dangerous goods regulations also apply to any transport of nuclear substances.
Consequently, if Bill S-9 is enacted and Canada ratifies the CPPNM as well as the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, there is no additional work necessary to implement the physical protection measures among Canada's nuclear facility operators. These measures in fact have already been in place for years.
Similarly, Canada's framework and policy for the import, export, control, and safeguarding of nuclear material is transparent and comprehensive, to the extent that the CNSC is routinely consulted by regulators in other countries seeking to replicate various aspects of the Canadian model.
The Nuclear Safety and Control Act does contain regulatory offence provisions and penalties. Indeed, an individual was successfully prosecuted in 2010 for trying to ship nuclear-related dual-use devices to Iran, which could have been used for uranium enrichment. The proposed provisions of Bill S-9 would supplement our Nuclear Safety and Control Act for more serious offences and acts of nuclear terrorism.
In closing, the CNSC has been on the leading edge of implementing safety and security of our nuclear material inventory here in Canada as well as controlling the movement of nuclear materials, both domestically and across our borders. Consequently, the regulatory framework in Canada is already in a position to accommodate the provisions proposed in Bill S-9.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to your questions.