Country profile: Canada

Summary figures for 2014

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2014
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
OECD America
OECD Total
1 888.0

* Provisional data

Country report


Canadian uranium production totalled 9 090 tU in 2014, about 16% of the total world production. All Canadian production is from mines located in northern Saskatchewan.

McArthur River, the world's largest high-grade uranium mine, and the Key Lake mill, the world's largest uranium mill, are operated by Cameco Corporation. These two facilities maintained their standing as the world's largest uranium production centre by producing 7 356 tU in 2014.

The Rabbit Lake mine and mill, which are wholly owned and operated by Cameco, produced 1 602 tU in 2014. Exploratory drilling during 2010 delineated additional resources and extended the life of the mine until at least 2017.

Cigar Lake is the world's second-largest high-grade uranium deposit. The Cigar Lake mine, operated by Cameco Corporation, began production in March 2014. When in full production, the mine will have an annual production capacity of about 6 900 tU.

Production from the McClean Lake uranium mine and mill, operated by AREVA Resources Canada Inc., was suspended in July 2010, when the ore stockpile from the open-pit phase of mining was depleted. The McClean Lake mill has since been expanded to process all high-grade ore from the Cigar Lake mine. As of October 2014, production from the mill has resumed.

Nuclear energy development within Canada

Nuclear energy represents an important component of Canada's electricity sources. In 2014, nuclear energy provided an estimated 16% of Canada's total electricity needs (over 55% in the province of Ontario) and should continue to play an important role in supplying Canada with power in the future.

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)

In 2013, the Canadian government announced its plan to implement a government-owned, contractor-operated (GoCo) model at AECL's Nuclear Laboratories, similar to that used in the United States and United Kingdom. As part of this restructuring, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) was created and will be an enduring entity that will maintain, through the transition to the GoCo model, the knowledge and expertise, management systems, workforce and regulatory authorisations and obligations currently held by AECL. CNL will focus on three key mandates going forward:


The provincial government of Ontario intends to proceed with the refurbishment of ten reactors: four at the Darlington Generating Station and six at the Bruce Generating Station. These refurbishments will add about 25-30 years to the operational life of each unit. Refurbishment is to start in 2016 with one reactor at each station, and commitments on subsequent refurbishments will take into account the cost and timing of preceding refurbishments, with appropriate off-ramps in place.


On 28 December 2012, the Gentilly-2 generating station ceased operations. The station has been in a defueled core state since 4 September 2013, and the transition to a safe storage state is planned for 2015.

Modernisation of the Nuclear Liability Act

On 30 January 2014, the Minister of Natural Resources introduced in Parliament an omnibus bill entitled the Energy Safety and Security Act (Bill C-22), which would replace the current Nuclear Liability Act with the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act (NLCA). The NLCA provides stronger legislation to better deal with liability for a nuclear accident within Canada, and allows Canada to join the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. The NLCA would increase the operator's liability limit from CAD 75 million under the current Nuclear Liability Act to CAD 1 billion. In January 2015, Bill C-22 was before Canada's Parliament (at the debate stage in the Senate).

Nuclear fuel waste

Long-term management of nuclear fuel waste

Canada is making good progress towards implementing a plan for managing the nation's nuclear fuel waste over the long term. In 2007, the government of Canada selected the adaptive phased management (APM) approach as Canada's plan. The APM approach involves isolating, containing and long-term monitoring of the nuclear fuel waste in a deep geological repository (DGR), which would be constructed, operated and maintained at a suitable site in a willing host community. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) – established by the nuclear energy corporations pursuant to the 2002 Nuclear Fuel Waste Act – is responsible for implementing the APM approach with ongoing government oversight. As of 31 December 2014, 13 communities are currently participating in an NWMO site selection process to determine whether they would like to host a future DGR and centre of expertise.

For information about Canada's plan and the NWMO, see

DGR for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LILW)

Through its crown corporation, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the province of Ontario is proposing to prepare, construct and operate a DGR on the Bruce nuclear site in Kincardine, Ontario. The DGR would manage OPG's LILW waste produced during the operation of the Bruce, Pickering and Darlington power plants in Ontario. On 24 January 2012, the Federal Minister of the Environment and the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced the establishment of a three-member joint review panel (JRP) to review the environmental effects of OPG's proposed project. The JRP held public hearings in Kincardine and Port Elgin between 16 September and 30 October 2013 and again between 9 September and 16 September 2014. On 18 November 2014, the JRP announced that it had closed the public record for the environmental assessment. In that announcement, the JRP indicated that it will submit its report to the Minister of the Environment on or before 6 May 2015. In the meantime, the JRP continues its work to examine the environmental effects of the proposed project pursuant to Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012) under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, to prepare a site and to construct the DGR facility.

For more information about this project and the environmental review, see

International activities

Nuclear liability

Canada signed the IAEA Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage on 3 December 2013, and it was tabled in Parliament on 6 December 2013. As of the end of 2014, legislation to implement the convention – the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act – stands before Canada's Parliament as Part 2 of Bill C-22.

Bilateral agreements and initiatives

In November 2014, Canada and China signed an expanded memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Nuclear Energy Cooperation, which broadens co-operation in a wide range of nuclear energy activities, including nuclear energy policy, research and development, and resource utilisation for civilian purposes. Additionally, the MOU encourages collaboration between Canadian and Chinese industries in third markets.

Canada also hosted the second annual Joint Committee Meeting with India under the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA). The joint committee serves as a way for Canada and India to deepen co-operation on nuclear energy issues, including collaboration on policy issues, research and development and industry co-operation.

Generation IV International Forum (GIF)

In 2014, Canada's national GIF programme focused on finalising the Canadian super-critical water-cooled reactor (SCWR) concept. Part of the Canadian GIF programme applied methodologies developed by the GIF cross-cutting working groups. The Canadian SCWR concept was assessed with respect to goals for GIF technology in areas of safety, economics, proliferation resistance and sustainability. In addition, a large amount of experimental data has been obtained using state-of-the-art facilities in Canadian national laboratories and a network of 20 universities. A review of the Canadian SCWR concept has been scheduled in February 2015 to engage the Canadian nuclear industry. This review will be followed by a GIF SCWR expert review in the autumn of 2015.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2015

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Last reviewed: 21 October 2015