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Commission seeks additional information regarding Indigenous consultation, for Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ application to authorize construction of a near surface disposal facility

Press Release

From: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

July 5, 2022 – Ottawa

Today, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced the Commission’s issuance of a procedural direction in the matter of an application from Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). CNL’s application was for an amendment to its nuclear research and test establishment operating licence for Chalk River Laboratories (CRL), to authorize the construction of a near surface disposal facility for solid low-level radioactive waste at the CRL site. The CRL site is located in Deep River, Ontario, on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg peoples. In issuing its direction, the Commission considered oral and written submissions from CNL, CNSC staff and 165 intervenors, including Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the owner of the CRL site, and 8 Indigenous Nations and communities.

The Commission is leaving the record open to allow more time for engagement and consultation with Kebaowek First Nation and the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and for the filing of additional information about these consultative efforts. The Commission will allow Kebaowek First Nation, the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, AECL, CNL and CNSC staff to file additional information, with a deadline of January 31, 2023.

The Commission’s procedural direction constitutes no ruling with respect to the environmental assessment or the licence amendment application. The Commission will await further information before making decisions in respect of the duty to consult, the environmental assessment, and the licence amendment application. As a result of leaving the record open, the time period for the written final submissions that are contemplated in the revised notice of public hearing including procedural guidance for questions and written final submissions will not commence until the Commission receives and reviews the new information on engagement and consultation.

The procedural direction is available on request to the Commission Registry at [email protected]. The direction will also be posted in both official languages at nuclearsafety.gc.ca at a later date. All submissions, hearing transcript, and the hearing webcast are available on the CNSC website.

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

  • The regulatory review process for the near surface disposal facility project began in 2016. A timeline is available on the CNSC website.
  • The Commission conducted a 2-part public hearing, held virtually on February 22, 2022 and from May 30 to June 3, 2022 in Pembroke, Ontario. Hearing transcripts and webcast are available online or by request.
  • In advance of the public hearing, several Indigenous Nations and communities requested that the Commission adjourn the proceedings for a minimum of 12 months, or until additional consultation work was completed. The Commission did not adjourn the hearing, on the grounds that the public hearing forum could provide it with an opportunity to publicly assess all evidence and to hear from participants directly.

Quick facts

  • The Commission will allow additional evidence and information on the subject of engagement and consultation to be submitted by Kebaowek First Nation, the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, AECL, CNL and CNSC staff, with a deadline of January 31, 2023.
  • The Commission Registry will provide a notice with instructions for the filing of additional information by September 30, 2022.
  • The procedural direction constitutes no ruling with respect to the environmental assessment or the licence amendment application.
  • As a result of leaving the record open, the time period for the written final submissions that are contemplated in the revised notice of public hearing including procedural guidance for questions and written final submissions will not commence until the new evidence and submissions are received.

Associated links

Contacts

Kim Cunningham

Media Relations

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

613-996-6860 or 1-800-668-5284

[email protected]

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