Radioactive material has been transported safely nationally and internationally for over 45 years by road, rail, water and air without a single radiological incident. It is a highly regulated activity that must meet the stringent requirements of both Transport Canada and CNSC before being approved.

Canada has decades of experience in transporting radioactive materials, and has an excellent safety record. Thousands of shipments containing radioactive material are transported safely in Canada each year.

CNL has an approved Radioactive Material Transportation program that allows us to ship and meets the requirements of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations and the CNSC Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations. The Program covers the off-site transport of radioactive material activities and practices at CNL. The Program specifies the requirements to fulfill regulatory, company business, environmental, health, safety, and quality assurance responsibilities pertaining to radioactive material transportation.

The main objectives of the Program are to protect persons, property and the environment from the effects of radiation during the transport of radioactive material. This is done by establishing and maintaining requirements, processes and training necessary to facilitate the safe transport of radioactive material to and from CNL sites in accordance with regulatory requirements. In addition, the Program provides oversight to ensure compliance with applicable regulatory and licence requirements.

The Transportation Program is responsible for the development, maintenance and implementation of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) transportation management. CNL transportation plans and processes the transportation of material, including all Dangerous Goods, to and or from CNL sites.

Current Transportation Programs

CNL is involved in radioactive materials transportation through some of the following major programs:

  • The Historic Waste Program responsibility to address historical waste liabilities for which the Government of Canada has accepted responsibilities (e.g., soils and facilities contaminated with radium during the 1930 to 1950 period)
  • CNL’s renewed decommissioning and waste management strategy which includes the Whiteshell Laboratories Closure Project (WLCP) to be completed by 2024.
  • CNL’s proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) project by 2020 to include acceptable Chalk River and WLCP material as well as waste from other Atomic Energy of Canada Limited nuclear liability sites to be decommissioned and remediated in the future.  
  • Repatriation of highly enriched uranium (HEU), including target residue materials (TRM), to the United States. 
  • Ongoing management of small commercial generator and organizational (e.g., Universities, hospitals) radioactive waste. 
  • All other CNL transportation ie: commodities and materials including but not limited to tools, recyclables and scientific equipment. 

Transportation Program Organization

The Transportation Program is structured with three key components to support the safe and secure movement of materials within all regulatory requirements. The program addresses three components Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG), Transportation Specialist, and Transportation Coordinators. All three components of the Transportation Program are housed in a central location to support collaboration.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Program

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Program provides an operational framework for the safe transport of dangerous goods by conforming to all applicable laws, regulations, codes, standards, contracts and company policies and procedures.

Transportation Specialists

Transportation Specialists are subject matter experts on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods. The role of the Transportation Specialist is to provide expertise in the preparation of dangerous goods for transportation, this includes applications to obtain all import/export licenses, export permits, license to transport, and package certificates from the regulators.

Transportation Coordinator

The Transportation Coordinator is responsible for the effective planning, coordination, execution and logistics of transportation movements, including transfers and transportation both on and off of all CNL sites. The Transportation Coordinator is the single point of liaison between the Transportation Program and transportation stakeholders.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Packaging

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Packaging is regulated by Transport Canada and the CNSC. 

CNL’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) program, including radioactive material packaging, ensures regulatory compliance  with control and use of dangerous goods packaging (For more information on packaging of materials see CNSC Packaging and Transport). This includes providing technical specifications or standards for packaging procurement, verification of packaging certification, guidelines for the use of packaging, packaging maintenance, storage of packaging and the securement of packages during transportation.

TDG Program Responsibilities:

  • Providing support for the entire lifecycle of dangerous goods packaging. 
  • Maintain a catalogue of CNL approved dangerous goods packaging. 
  • Review and verification of dangerous goods packaging documents. (including, but not limited to; packaging procedures, packaging certificates, and maintenance procedures). 
  • Providing assistance for the drafting of dangerous goods packaging procedures for the use, maintenance, storage and transportation.