Events Reporting: Waste Management Facilities

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2021

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Date of event: April 18, 2021

In response to the province of Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions, CNL is reducing operations at its Ontario facilities for a period of up to one month and will be increasing the number of staff working remotely. CNL will continue the work necessary to keep the sites safe, be compliant with regulations, and deliver mission critical activities.

To ensure a controlled approach to this reduction, preparations are underway in consultation with employees, unions, AECL, and the CNSC. During this period, CNL’s Crisis Management Team will continue to monitor provincial requirements and the risks related to COVID-19. CNL will increase onsite operations only when safe to do so.

CNSC staff will continue to be notified about CNL’s response, including the actions taken to protect the health and safety of workers, the public and the environment.

For more information, visit CNL’s website.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Date of event: November 26, 2020, January 15, 2021 and January 25, 2021

Port Hope Conversion Facility

On March 2, 2021, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories notified the CNSC it had discharged stormwater into the Port Hope Harbour, in excess of provincial water quality guidelines, on three occasions. The discharges occurred on November 26, 2020, January 15, 2021, and January 25, 2021.

CNL has determined the discharges present a negligible risk to human health and the environment. As a result of these events, CNL has stopped discharging stormwater until an investigation is conducted and appropriate corrective measures have been implemented to prevent any recurrences.

CNL will provide the CNSC with a full report on these events by March 23, 2021 (i.e., within 21 days of the date it notified the CNSC). This report will indicate the cause and potential environmental effects of the events, and the actions that will be taken. CNSC staff will review the final report to ensure the public and environment are protected and the proposed corrective measures are appropriate.

For more information, visit the Public Disclosure page of the Port Hope Area Initiative.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Date of event: January 28, 2021

On January 28, 2021, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) informed the CNSC of an increase in cesium levels in its recent analysis of the water samples at its Whiteshell Laboratories site outfall. The levels remain below the regulatory limits established by the CNSC.

CNL suspects the source of this increase is related to activities associated with planned onsite demolition work, which has since been stopped. An investigation is underway, and the CNSC will be provided with the investigation summary.

The increase in cesium levels had no impact on the health and safety of workers, the public or the environment.

Update: March 5, 2021

CNL has completed its investigation and provided the summary to the CNSC. Additional analysis indicated there were no elevated levels of cesium. Cesium levels continue to remain below the regulatory limit. The CNSC confirmed the content of the summary of CNL’s investigation.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

2020

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Date of event: December 4, 2020

On December 4, 2020, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) informed the CNSC of a fuel oil leak at its Douglas Point Waste Facility. Upon discovery, the leak was isolated using absorbents to soak up surface oil. CNL confirmed less than 150 litres of fuel oil leaked into the in-ground drain and work is underway to retrieve the oil from the drainage system. No oil has leaked into Lake Huron and there is no impact to the health and safety of the public or the environment.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Date of event: November 23, 2020

Failed waste water toxicity test at Port Granby

On November 23, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) informed the CNSC of a failure of an effluent toxicity test at the Port Granby Project Waste Water Treatment Plant. This failure resulted in an exceedance of the effluent licence limit for toxicity. Toxicity testing is a licence requirement for the Port Granby Project waste water treatment plant to prevent harm to aquatic life.  All other sample results were within the established action levels and licence limits.

CNL has stopped discharging treated water to Lake Ontario. Further samples have been sent to the laboratory for analysis, and CNL will not resume discharging water to the lake until results confirm that the treated water is within all allowable limits.

There is no expected risk to the public or the environment due to this event. CNSC staff will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the environment and public remain safe, and CNL will submit a follow-up report with corrective actions where necessary.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: November 17, 2020

The CNSC was informed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories of the delivery of a suspicious package at one of its buildings at the Chalk River Laboratories site. The package was isolated for further inspection by local authorities and all workers were safely evacuated from the building. The package was confirmed to be safe and normal operations have resumed.

This event had no impact on the health and safety of the workers, the public or the environment.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: November 2, 2020

CNL has informed the CNSC of seven confirmed positive COVID-19 cases of employees at its Chalk River Laboratories site. The affected employees are following the direction of local health officials. As a precautionary measure, other staff working in the same area are self-isolating at home and the work area is being disinfected.

CNL is continuing to operate its facilities, while monitoring the situation and providing regular updates to the CNSC. There is no impact on nuclear safety.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: October 29, 2020

On October 29, 2020, CNL informed the CNSC that smoke was detected during routine machining work at Chalk River Laboratories. Workers were evacuated and emergency response officials discovered a small fire that was quickly extinguished. CNL is investigating the cause of the fire. This event had no impact on the health and safety of the workers, the public or the environment.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: October 22, 2020

On October 22, 2020, CNL informed the CNSC that a short in an electric motor had ignited a small filter in some metal ductwork which resulted in an open flame and smoke detector activation. Response personnel detected smoke coming from the building’s ventilation in the air handling unit. It was determined that the source of the smoke was a ventilation fan motor. The small fire was quickly extinguished. This event had no impact on the health and safety of the workers, the public or the environment.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: October 9, 2020

On October 9, 2020, CNL informed the CNSC that a package of nuclear materials shipped from Chalk River Laboratories was shipped under the wrong classification. After reviewing the documentation for the package, CNL confirmed there were discrepancies between the classification of the shipment and the dose rate of the nuclear materials it contained. CNL is reviewing the process for classifying shipments to prevent a reoccurrence. This event had no impact on the health and safety of the public or the environment.

Visit CNL’s website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: July 25, 2020

Water holding tank leak at the Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant

CNL informed the CNSC that a plant operator observed water leaking from a water holding tank at the Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant during a routine inspection. The plant was shut down and actions were taken to drain the tank and stop the leak. It is estimated that 20-50 m3 of water leaked from the tank and entered the storm water management pond located on the site.

CNL has collected water and soil samples for analysis at various locations along the flow pathway. It has been indicated to CNSC that, at no time was there a health or safety risk to workers or the public.

CNSC staff will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the environment and public remain safe.

Further information is available on the CNL website.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: May 31, 2020

Import of Controlled Item without an Import Licence

CNL informed the CNSC it imported a controlled nuclear substance (depleted uranium) that was not authorized under its existing CNSC import licence. The shipment contained fuel rods from Exelon, a U.S. company.

CNL concluded there were no effects on the health, safety and security of persons or the environment as a result of this event.

CNSC staff are reviewing the information provided by CNL and will determine the appropriate next steps.

Further information is available on the CNL website.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: January 27, 2020

Surface water leaving catchment areas at the Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility

The CNSC was informed that between 200 m3 and 600 m3 of impacted surface water was released on January 27, 2020, from the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) legacy waste management facility in Port Granby, Ontario. CNL took immediate action to address the situation and notified the CNSC and the Spills Action Centre. There is no health or safety risk to the public and the effect on the environment is expected to be negligible.

CNSC staff will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the environment and public remain safe.

Further information is available from CNL.

2019

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: September 12, 2019

Chalk River service water leak

On September 12, 2019, the CNSC was informed of a service water leak that had led to a power outage at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) – Chalk River Laboratories.  In addition, a wider power outage affected large areas of the Ottawa River Valley, including the Chalk River site.  CNL retained and tested the water and determined there was no hazard to the public or environment. CNSC staff from the Chalk River Laboratories Site Office were on site, monitoring CNL’s response to the event.

Further information is available from CNL.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: January 9, 2019

Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility, part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI)

On January 9, 2019, the CNSC was informed of a worker injury at the Port Granby Long-Term Waste Management Facility. The worker was transported to a nearby medical centre, and CNL continues to investigate the incident. There was no impact on the safety of the public or the environment.

Visit PHAI’s website for information about the injury, as well as an update on the worker.

2018

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: November 5, 2018

Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility, part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) was informed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories of a leak of untreated water at the Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant. The leak was contained, and there is no expected environmental impact as a result of the event. There was no risk to the safety of workers or the public.

Visit PHAI’s Public Disclosure webpage for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: January 25, 2018

Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility, part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) was informed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories that water had been observed flowing from a water collection reservoir at the Port Granby Waste Management Facility site. Upon this discovery, the water pumping system was turned off to stop the flow of water to the collection reservoir.

Independent water testing is currently underway. Preliminary results from the licensee’s testing confirm that there is no risk to the environment or the public.

The CNSC continues to monitor the situation and will provide an update if follow-up actions are required.

Visit PHAI’s Public Disclosure webpage for more information.

2017

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: June 23, 2017

Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Project site

Update (June 26, 2017)

The CNSC was informed by the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Management Office that after a heavy downpour in the Cobourg and Port Hope areas on June 22 and 23, there were overflows of untreated water from the water collection pond at the Port Hope Project Long-Term Waste Management Facility and from the catch basin at the Port Granby Waste Management Facility. These overflows resulted in environmental releases into Lake Ontario.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (the licensee) has the situation under control, and the overflow has stopped.

Water testing is currently underway. Preliminary results from the licensee’s testing confirm that there is no risk to the public or workers. CNSC inspectors will be onsite today to collect samples and oversee licensee follow up actions.

The CNSC is working with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and will continue to monitor the situation.

A report will be submitted to an upcoming public Commission proceeding.

Visit PHAI’s public disclosure website for more information.

Original post (June 23, 2017)

The CNSC was informed by the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office that after several hours of heavy rain, one of the treatment ponds at the site overflowed and entered an engineered storm drain that ultimately drains into Lake Ontario. Water testing is currently being done, and PHAI’s website will provide further information once available.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: April 21, 2017

Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility, part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI)

The CNSC was informed by the Historic Waste Program Management Office of a leak in an underground pipe at the Port Granby Project site. The pipe was used to transfer untreated water to the onsite treatment plant. The spill was confined to the site, and the affected pipe has since been repaired, tested and returned to service. There was no impact on the health and safety of workers and the public. The CNSC will verify that all corrective actions are carried out by CNL to prevent a similar occurrence.

Visit PHAI’s website for more information.

Mississauga Metals and Alloys

Date of event: February 6, 2017

Brantford, ON

The CNSC was informed by Mississauga Metals and Alloys, in accordance with their licence conditions, of a fire that occurred at their Brantford, ON facility. The fire was contained in the main building, and no radioactive substances were affected. The fire was controlled by the Brantford Fire Department. There were no injuries to workers, and there was no radiological impact to the health and safety of the public or the environment.

This event will be discussed at an upcoming public Commission meeting.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: January 13, 2017

Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility, part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI)

The CNSC was informed by the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office that an early warning system alarm was triggered inside one of the process rooms in the Port Granby Project Waste Water Treatment Plant. The alarm indicated that elevated levels of hydrogen sulphide gas were present. Upon hearing the alarm, all personnel followed procedure and exited the building immediately. There were no off-site effects of this event, and at no point was there a threat to the safety of the public.

Visit PHAI’s website for more information.

2016

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: December 1, 2016

Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility, part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI)

The CNSC was informed by the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office that during waste placement a strong ammonia-like odour was detected. Two workers who were exposed to the odour received medical evaluation and were cleared to return to work. Early indications are that a leaking drum was the source of the odour. At this time, there is no indication that the leaked substance had any offsite effects, or impact on the public.

Visit PHAI's website for more information.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)

Date of event: March 31, 2016

Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility, part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI)

The CNSC was informed by the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office of an unplanned release of untreated water into Lake Ontario during construction activities at the Port Granby Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Facility. The impact to the environment is considered negligible, and there was no impact on workers and the public. CNSC staff will verify that all necessary corrective actions are carried out by CNL in order to prevent a similar occurrence.

Visit PHAI's website for more information.

2015

Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Date of event: April 29, 2015

Deloro closed mine site, Deloro, Ontario

The CNSC was informed by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), in accordance with the regulations and their licence conditions, of an event at the closed Deloro mine site. As a result of cleanup work at the site, there was an unplanned release of construction wastewater due to the collapse of a temporary aqua barrier. The released wastewater was non-radiological and no impact to the environment is anticipated as a result of this event. A CNSC inspector and staff visited the site and were not satisfied with the MOECC's contingency plans to deal with the stability of aqua barriers. On June 5, the CNSC announced that it had issued an order to the MOECC to prevent a similar occurrence at the closed Deloro mine site. This event will be discussed at a public Commission meeting on June 17, 2015.

Read the MOECC's letter to key community stakeholders to learn more about the event and visit the MOECC website for information about the Deloro mine cleanup project.

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