Mr. Speaker, let me say a few words about how the AECB operates.
The AECB is an independent regulatory agency reporting to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources. It is directed by a five member board, one of whom is the president of the board.
The president of the board supervises approximately 400 officers and staff. Most of these employees are based at AECB headquarters in Ottawa, with resident inspectors stationed at all nuclear generating stations, at four regional offices and at a uranium mining division in Saskatoon.
Hon. members may be interested to know that the large part of AECB's operating costs are recovered from operators through licensing fees. During 1994-95 licensing fees generated $28 million in revenues, reducing the net cost to the federal government of delivering AECB services to $15 million. This annual expenditure will be further reduced as the board's cost recovery program matures over the next five years.
Canada's approach to nuclear regulation is based on the internationally accepted principle that the operator of nuclear technology is responsible for safety and must justify the proposed use.
The role of the AECB is to set safety standards and to ensure, through a variety of compliance mechanisms, that these standards are met. Like other national nuclear regulatory bodies, the AECB licenses facilities that use nuclear energy or nuclear material.
One way to illustrate the scope of the AECB's regulatory activities is to note that about 4,000 licences or other permits are currently in effect across Canada. These include licences for nuclear reactors, particle accelerators used in industrial and medical applications, uranium mines and refiners, reactor fuel fabrication plants, heavy water plants, radio active waste management facilities and radioisotopes. Radioisotopes are used for everything from medical and research applications to oil and gas well investigations and in consumer products like household smoke detectors. In fact, radioisotopes account for about 90 per cent of AECB licences.
AECB licencees are found throughout Canada. They range from corporate giants like Ontario Hydro to small companies providing inspection services to the industry, to private individuals operating out of-