The concerns and fears that communities have in regards to transporting hazardous materials are valid; however transporting nuclear substances must be done safely or it would not be licensed by the CNSC. Shipments of repatriated Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) have been underway since 2010, and the CNSC has ensured that they are carried out safely, protecting the security of Canadians and the environment.
Transport of liquid radioactive material is nothing new to the CNSC, our regulations and record speak for themselves. Liquid nuclear substances such as medical isotopes are safely transported daily in certified packages in Canada and around the world. In fact, according to the World Nuclear Transport Institute in London England, approximately 20 million shipments of radioactive substances take place around the world each year.
On occasion, these packages have been involved in transportation accidents; there has never been a significant spill as a result. This is because the packages we licence are unique, and designed with worse case scenarios in mind to make sure they will always maintain their containment. The containers used for the transportation of nuclear substances are in no way comparable to those used for other dangerous goods.
The containers for liquid HEU must comply with the CNSC Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations. To be certified, the containers undergo stringent testing, which simulate both normal and hypothetical accident conditions of transport. This includes a nine metre free-drop test, puncture testing and an 800°C thermal test, all without loss of containment. Information is available on our Web site, including dramatic and informative videos of the testing of containers certified for nuclear materials, at nuclearsafety.gc.ca."