CSA Group

Endorsement date


Canadian Standards Association, operating as CSA Group (CSA), is a not-for-profit membership-based organization serving business, industry, government, and consumers in Canada. Since 1919, CSA has grown to become one of the largest Standards Development Organization (SDO) in Canada. With over 10,000 volunteer members, CSA develops and maintains more than 3,000 standards that improve safety, health, the environment, and economic efficiency in Canada and beyond.

The CSA Nuclear Program was established over 45 years ago in response to the needs of the Canadian nuclear industry and its regulator. Today, the program has more than 600 members who serve on over 65 committees and maintain a growing portfolio of standards that cover a wide variety of subjects, including management systems, pressure boundary components and environmental and waste management, and also address the life cycle of nuclear facilities.

The CSA Nuclear Program helps promote a safe, reliable nuclear sector in Canada and strives to be a positive influence within the international nuclear power community. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) represent a promising opportunity for the Canadian nuclear sector and the country, and standards-based solutions will be important enablers for their safe, timely, and sustainable deployment. Standards-based solutions can address technical requirements for the lifecycle of SMR facilities and support the relevant regulatory framework.

Features of the CSA standards development process, Nuclear Program, and standards:

  • Accredited and open process – CSA standards are developed through a Standards Council of Canada (SCC) accredited process, based on key principles including openness and transparency, diversity, and balanced representation by impacted stakeholders. Any interested party can request committee membership, provide input on draft standards during public consultation, or submit inquiries on published standards.
  • Multi-stakeholder balanced matrix approach – For nuclear standards, this includes individuals representing government, regulators, operators, suppliers, researchers, academics, and other general interest groups. To capitalize on their combined strengths, the expertise and perspectives of various stakeholders are brought together to collaborate, define requirements and best practices.
  • Supports regulation – Standards, which are voluntary documents, have the greatest impact when they are incorporated by reference for regulatory use or in other government directives. Over 95% of the 63 published nuclear standards are referenced in the national regulatory framework.
  • Enabling innovation and continuous improvement – Standards support introduction of innovative technologies through performance-based, technology neutral provisions. Standards are also “living documents” that are regularly maintained and updated as needed. This includes consideration of user feedback, technological advances in the sector, and benchmarking to local and international best practices.
  • Timely and responsive – Standards are typically developed within 12 to 24 months, and timelines as short as 7 months have been achieved when needed. CSA also offers other standards-based deliverables, such as express documents, that provide timely solutions to meet urgent stakeholder needs.

CSA Group SMR Activities

  • Proven, adaptable framework - The current nuclear portfolio is flexible to allow for the introduction of new technologies, scope, and stakeholders. In the last decade, most of the CSA nuclear standards have been adapted to incorporate technology neutral requirements and guidance, to proactively allow for new designs and technologies to be applicable. CSA has also engaged new stakeholders beyond those working in nuclear power plants, expanding the program scope to include standards that address requirements for other nuclear facilities such as mines and mills, universities, laboratories, and small reactors. The flexible and adaptable framework results in a modern suite of standards to meet the evolving needs of the Canadian nuclear sector.
  • Proactive engagement with SMR community - Work is ongoing within the Nuclear Program, coordinated by a strategic Small Reactor Task Force, to proactively identify and make recommendations on addressing SMR standards-related needs. This includes collaboration among technical committees, SMR vendors, and proponents to prioritize technical topics that may require new or revised requirements and guidance for SMRs. In addition, CSA is engaging with other organizations and in forums supporting the planning and development of SMRs in Canada, including as an observing member of the CANDU Owners Group (COG) Small and Medium-Sized Reactor Technology Forum, and as Secretariat of the Plenary Organizing Committee for the Canadian Nuclear Society’s 2nd International Conference on Generation IV and Small Reactors. CSA’s involvement in various leadership forums provides direct insights into current issues and supports the program’s ability to address stakeholder needs.
  • Research and thought leadership - The CSA Research program proactively conducts research that facilitates future standards development and provides guidance into new and emerging topics and technologies, particularly as it supports CSA’s vision in promoting a better, safer, and more sustainable world. A CSA Research report is being developed on the topic of SMRs and the role of standardization. The report, which will be publicly available upon publication, will provide recommendations on how standards can support the deployment of SMRs in Canada.
  • Government relations engagement - The CSA Government Relations team regularly meets with government officials to raise awareness of our suite of standards and determine how they may support public policy initiatives. With respect to SMRs, meetings have been facilitated with Federal and Provincial Ministerial staff (including Ontario and New Brunswick) to introduce CSA Group and highlight the role of standards. CSA’s ongoing engagement with government will help increase awareness on the focus standards play to aid the safe deployment of SMRs.


As described in the Statement of Principles, SMRs are an important opportunity for Canada's low-carbon future. Standards will be a key enabler to the safe and effective deployment of SMRs in Canada, and CSA Group is proactively and continuously engaging with all sector stakeholders to address standards-related needs. As a leader in standards development for over 100 years, CSA Group has the experience to facilitate balanced, stakeholder-endorsed solutions to the unique challenges of the emerging Canadian SMR subsector.


CSA Small Reactor Task Force (TF) Activities

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 25, 35*
* recommendations most closely related were chosen since none of the recommendations were assigned to CSA Group


Continue convening CSA Small Reactor TF to bring together industry, regulators, and SMR vendors for practical collaboration.

The purpose of the TF is to proactively identify and make recommendations on addressing SMR standards-related needs.


Determination, prioritization, and plan to determine the most effective and efficient method for incorporating SMRs into the CSA Nuclear Program.

Role of standards in the deployment of SMRs

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 23, 25*
* recommendations most closely related were chosen since none of the recommendations were assigned to CSA Group


Develop a CSA Research report on the topic of SMRs and the role of standardization. The objective of the research is to assess standardization approaches, focusing on harmonization and considerations related to regulatory and standards framework, and how standards can facilitate emerging technologies such as SMRs. The research report will provide recommendations on how standards can support the deployment of SMRs in Canada.


Evidence-based insights into the role of standards in the safe and secure deployment of a new technology.

Recommendations for standardization to support SMR deployment in Canada.

Applicability of CSA Nuclear Standards to SMRs

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 15, 23*
* recommendations most closely related were chosen since none of the recommendations were assigned to CSA Group


Review the applicability of the current suite of nuclear standards to SMR designs and determine standards-based solutions for addressing SMR needs.


Identification of applicability, including potential gaps, within suite of standards for the various SMR designs.

Recommendations for addressing gaps, including priorities and urgency.