In situ decommissioning of the Whiteshell Reactor # 1

Start date: May 16, 2016
Reference number: 80124
Proponent: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Location: Pinawa, Manitoba

Visit the CEAR website for all information and documentation related to the project.

Latest Update

About the project

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is proposing to decommission the Whiteshell Reactor #1 (WR-1 Reactor), a former nuclear research reactor that operated until 1985. The WR-1 Reactor is located at the Whiteshell Laboratories (WL) site in Pinawa, MB, approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, near the towns of Lac du Bonnet and Seven Sisters.

CNL is proposing an in situ (leaving in place) decommissioning approach. In situ decommissioning of the WR-1 Reactor involves preparing systems and structures for grouting. The below-grade sealed structure will encapsulate and contain radiological sources and hazardous materials for a defined period of institutional control.

The following activities are being proposed:

  • preparation for in situ decommissioning
  • grouting of below-grade (underground) structures and systems
  • removal of above-grade structures and systems
  • installation of engineered cover over grouted area
  • final site restoration
  • long-term care and maintenance activities

Some temporary infrastructure – such as construction trailers and equipment paddocks, as well as an increase to the electrical services – would also be required in order to facilitate decommissioning. 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). An environmental assessment conducted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 is required, and an EA decision affirming that the proposed activities will not cause significant adverse environmental effects, before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal.

Further information

The public registry for this project is maintained on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry. If you wish to receive email notifications when the CNSC’s website is updated, including notices for hearings, meetings and PFP funding opportunities, subscribe to the CNSC mailing list. For questions or information directly related to this EA, please contact:

Candida Cianci
Environmental Assessment Specialist
Environmental Assessment Division
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
P. O. Box 1046, Station B
Ottawa, ON
K1P 5S9
Telephone: 613-947-0554 or 1-800-668-5284
Fax: 613-995-5086
Email: cnsc.ea-ee.ccsn@canada.ca

Or contact the CNSC.

The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment, and 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.