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Commission renews Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ waste nuclear substance licence for the Port Hope Project for a 10-year period

Press Release

December 20, 2022

Today, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced the Commission’s decision to renew the waste nuclear substance licence held by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for its Port Hope Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Project (Port Hope Project) located in Port Hope, Ontario. The Commission renewed the licence for a period of 10 years.

The Port Hope Project is part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) to manage the clean-up of historic low-level radioactive waste contamination in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington, Ontario. CNL is responsible for implementing the PHAI on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. The PHAI is being carried out in the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe people. These lands are covered by the Williams Treaty between Canada and the Mississauga and Chippewa Nations.

This decision follows a public hearing held on November 22, 2022, in Cobourg, Ontario. As part of the licence renewal, the Commission is issuing a single licence, which consolidates licensed activities currently authorized under CNL’s 4 waste nuclear substance licences associated with the PHAI. The renewed consolidated licence will be valid from January 1, 2023 until December 31, 2032, and it will allow CNL, under the PHAI, to continue the clean-up and management of historic low-level radioactive waste in the Municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington.

In making its decision, the Commission considered submissions from CNL, CNSC staff, and 28 intervenors. The CNSC made participant funding available through its Participant Funding Program, and invited interventions from Indigenous Nations and communities, members of the public and stakeholders. A funding review committee, independent of the CNSC, reviewed the funding applications received and made recommendations on the allocation of funds. Based on the committee’s recommendations, the CNSC awarded up to $36,320 to 4 applicants.

After reviewing all submissions, the Commission concluded that CNL is qualified to carry on the activities that the renewed licence will authorize. It also concluded that CNL will continue to make adequate provision for the protection of the environment, and the health and safety of persons.

A summary record of decision is being issued at this time in light of the pending expiry of current PHAI licences. The summary reflects the substance of the Commission’s decision with respect to this licence renewal and the applicable licence conditions. The detailed reasons for the Commission’s decision and its assessment of all the submissions made in relation to the application will be provided in a detailed record of decision, to be published at a later date.

The summary record of decision is posted in both official languages at nuclearsafety.gc.ca or is available upon request to the Commission Registry at [email protected] All submissions, hearing transcripts and the hearing webcast are also available on the CNSC website or on request.

The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment; to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public. The Commission is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal set up at arm’s length from government, independent from any political, government or private sector influence.

Timeline

  • CNL applied for a licence renewal on September 10, 2021.
  • CNL submitted an addendum to its application on March 4, 2022, withdrawing its request to change the levels of uranium and arsenic in the PHAI cleanup criteria.
  • In March 2022, the CNSC made funding available through its Participant Funding Program to support Indigenous Nations and communities, members of the public and stakeholders in presenting their views to the Commission.
  • The Commission held a public hearing on November 22, 2022, in Cobourg, Ontario.

Quick facts

  • Implemented by CNL on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the PHAI manages the clean-up of historic low-level radioactive waste contamination in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington, Ontario
  • This licence renewal authorizes CNL to possess, transfer, manage, and store nuclear substances associated with historic waste remediation operations in the Municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington, Ontario
  • The Commission also accepts the liquid effluent release limits established for the Port Hope Project wastewater treatment plant.
  • The renewed licence is valid from January 1, 2023, until December 31, 2032.

Associated links

Contact

Kim Cunningham
Media Relations
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Tel: 613-996-6860 or 1-800-668-5284

Email: [email protected]

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