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Nuclear Law Bulletin

Nuclear Energy Agency

Published twice a year, the Nuclear Law Bulletin covers legislative developments in almost 60 countries around the world as well as reporting on relevant jurisprudence and administrative decisions, bilateral and international agreements and regulatory activities of international organisations.

Each issue typically includes the following sections: Articles, Case Law, National Legislative and Regulatory Activities, International Regulatory Activities, Agreements, News Briefs, and a Supplement.

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The Independence of the Nuclear Regulator

Notes from the Canadian Experience

Nuclear Energy Agency

The firing of Linda Keen as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission provoked considerable debate within Canada and internationally about the independence of the Canadian nuclear regulator. Ms. Keen was dismissed from her position at the height of the crisis over a world-wide shortage of medical isotopes caused by the shut-down of the research reactor in Chalk River, Ontario. Under the terms of its licence, the reactor was required to have two cooling pumps connected to an emergency power supply as a backup in case of a power outage caused by an event such as an earthquake. In November 2007, after it was discovered that the pumps were not connected, the reactor was shut down. As panic over the shortage of medical isotopes grew, the government took three extraordinary measures: first, it issued a directive; second, it introduced emergency legislation in Parliament; and finally, it fired Linda Keen as President of the Commission. This paper examines those three measures and whether they constituted an unwarranted interference with the independence of the Canadian nuclear regulator.

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