Memoranda of Understanding has been entered into between the federal Minister of Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission under which it is agreed that the CNSC’s public hearing and licensing process can be an appropriate substitute for an assessment by a Review Panel under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and its Regulations.

The MOU applies when an application is made to the Commission to issue a licence under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act for a project that the Commission would otherwise recommend the Minister refer to a Review Panel in accordance with provisions of the CEAA. MOU mandates the Commission to conduct the review in a manner that discharges the requirements set out in CEAA, substituting the Commission’s process for that of an assessment by a Review Panel.

The Commission is to coordinate the participation of other Responsible Authorities and Federal Authorities in the environmental assessment as well as undertake early notification and consultations with authorities of provincial jurisdictions which may have an interest in the matter. As well, the MOU specifies elements of the review which the Commission must perform, and that participant funding for the review is to be provided and administered by the Commission.

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