Chalk River Laboratories Near Surface Disposal Facility Project

The Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) is a proposed engineered disposal facility for radioactive waste planned for the Chalk River Laboratories site (CRL). The CRL site is located in Renfrew County, ON, on the shore of the Ottawa River, approximately 200 km northwest of Ottawa. The site is situated within the boundaries of the Corporation of the Town of Deep River.

The NSDF is planned to have an operating life of at least 50 years and as proposed, would be an engineered mound built at near-surface level on the CRL site. The proposed project would also include a wastewater treatment plant and supporting infrastructure. All waste to be disposed at the NSDF will be required to meet the waste acceptance criteria established to assure compliance with operational and long-term safety requirements.

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the NSDF proposal by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories requires authorization by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The CNSC has determined that the project requires a federal environmental assessment (EA) pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.  An EA under CEAA 2012 is a planning and decision-making tool. Its objectives are to minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects before they occur, and incorporate environmental factors into decision making. An EA decision affirming that the proposed activities will not cause significant adverse environmental effects is also required before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal.

On March 8, 2017, the Commission issued a decision on the extent of 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.

Licensing progress details

Project milestone



Commission hearing for environmental assessment and licensing authorization decisions

To be determined by Secretariat


Public comments invited on CNSC licensing Commission member document

To be determined

Comment period will be open for 60 days

Public comments invited on CNSC environmental assessment report

To be determined

Comment period will be open for 60 days

CNSC technical assessment of licensing documentation and environmental impact statement

To be determined


Relaunch of public comment period on draft environmental impact statement (source: CEAA website)

June 16, 2017

Comment period open until August 16

Public comments invited on CNL's draft environmental impact statement (source: CEAA website)

March 17, 2017

Comment period was open from March 17 to May 17

Public comments invited on revised project description (source: CEAA website)

October 19, 2016

Comment period was open from October 19 to November 18

CNSC notification of requirement for CNL to decide on project scope

September 15, 2016


Notice of participant funding offering

May 25, 2016

Participant funding was open from May 25 to September 2

Public comments invited on project description (source: CEAA website)

May 24, 2016

Comment period was open from May 24 to June 24

Notice of commencement of an environmental assessment (source: CEAA website)

May 5, 2016


Additional Information