Nuclear Power Demonstration

The Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor operated from 1962 until 1987. It was Canada’s first nuclear power reactor to supply electricity to Ontario Hydro’s grid, and it served as a training facility for reactor engineers and operators. In 1988, following permanent shutdown of the reactor, and removal of the fuel and power generating equipment from the site, Ontario Hydro transferred the responsibility for monitoring and licensing NPD to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). The partially decommissioned site is now overseen by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and is licensed as a waste facility.

Facility Information

Location: The facility is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River, in Renfrew County, Ontario, near the town of Rolphton, and approximately 25 km upstream from the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL).
Licensee: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd. (CNL)
Status: Decommissioning phase: Storage-with-surveillance activities
Licence last issued: October 22, 2014
Licence expires: December 31, 2034

Latest facility-specific updates

Disclosure protocol

As part of the CNSC's regulatory requirements, major licensees must have robust public information and disclosure programs in place. View CNL’s public information program on their In the Community page.

Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is proposing to decommission the Nuclear Power Demonstration Waste Facility, a former nuclear generating station that operated until 1987.

The structures that currently remain onsite include the main reactor building, a diesel generator, a ventilation stack, a pressure relief duct, a guardhouse, foundations from previously removed structures, two landfills, buried utilities and drainage systems, and temporary structures such as sea containers and portable washrooms.

CNL is proposing an in situ (leaving in place) decommissioning approach. The following activities are proposed:

  • assembly and operation of a grout batch mixing plant
  • grouting of below-grade (underground) structures
  • removal of above-grade structures for use as backfill
  • installation of concrete cap and engineered barrier over the grouted area
  • final site restoration
  • preparation for long-term care and maintenance activities

Some temporary infrastructure – such as mobile offices and washrooms, as well as an increase to the electrical services – would also be required in order to facilitate decommissioning. Water-holding tanks and fuel storage may also be required onsite to support the proposed project. Additional groundwater monitoring wells would be installed, as required, to monitor the performance of the in situ decommissioned facility.

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, CNL’s proposal requires an amendment to its existing decommissioning waste facility licence issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal, an environmental assessment (EA) conducted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 is required, as is an EA decision affirming that the proposed activities will not cause significant adverse environmental effects.

On March 8, 2017, the Commission issued a decision on the extent of the information to be included in the EA. The decision took into account the public comments received related to the project description, as well as CNSC staff recommendations. The Commission determined that the proposed project must include the factors mandated in paragraphs 19(1)(a) to (h) of CEAA 2012, with no additional factors requiring consideration.

Activities related to the environmental impact statement (EIS), environmental assessment (EA) and licensing

Project milestone Date Status
Notice of commencement of an environmental assessment (source: CEAA website) May 5, 2016 Complete
Public comments invited on project description (source: CEAA website) May 24 to June 24, 2016 Complete
Notice of participant funding offering May 25 to September 2, 2016 Complete
Public comments invited on CNL’s draft EIS (source: CEAA website) November 15, 2017 Comment period open until January 29, 2018
Public intervention period on the Commission member documents, including the EA report To be determined  
Commission hearing for EA and licensing decisions To be determined by Secretariat  

Additional information