In situ decommissioning of the Whiteshell Reactor # 1
The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) came into force August 28, 2019. Ongoing projects with environmental assessments initiated under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and led by the CNSC, will continue under their current processes. The IAA contains provisions to enable these projects to advance in this way.
- March 2019 - Participant Funding for In Situ Decommissioning of the Whiteshell Reactor-1 Project
- October 2018 – Updated Timeline in Appendix A of the Administrative Protocol between Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and the CNSC for the Renewal of the Whiteshell Laboratories Licence and the Proposed In Situ Decommissioning of the WR-1 Reactor Currently under review
- August 1, 2018 - Record of Decision - Canadian Nuclear Laboratories - Application to renew the Nuclear Research and Test Establishment Decommissioning Licence for the Whiteshell Laboratories
- April 3, 2018 – In situ Decommissioning of the Whiteshell Reactor #1 Project – Update on the status of the environmental assessment process (source: CEAA website)
- January 5, 2018 – Review of CNL's Draft Environmental Impact Statement Completed (source: CEAA website)
- October 17, 2017 – Canada's nuclear regulator invites you to open houses in Winnipeg, Pinawa and Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba (source: CEAA website)
- October 5, 2017 – Public comments invited on draft environmental impact statement for In Situ Decommissioning of the Whiteshell Reactor #1 Project (source: CEAA website)
- September 21, 2017 – Upcoming public comment period for In Situ Decommissioning of the Whiteshell Reactor #1 Project
- March 8, 2017 – Record of Decision on the Scope of Environmental Assessments for Three Proposed Projects at Existing Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' Facilities
- June 3, 2016 – Notice of Participant Funding Offering (PFP Decision Report)
- June 2, 2016 – Public Comments Invited on Project Description (source: CEAA website)
- May 16, 2016 – Notice of Commencement of an Environmental Assessment (source: CEAA website)
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.
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:
Environmental Assessment Specialist
Environmental Assessment Division
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
P. O. Box 1046, Station B
Telephone: 613-947-0554 or 1-800-668-5284
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.
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