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Regulatory review status of Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is proposing to decommission the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) waste facility, a former nuclear generating station that operated until 1987. The facility is located in Renfrew County, Ontario, on the south bank of the Ottawa River approximately 225 km northwest of Ottawa.

The structures that remain onsite include the main reactor building, a diesel generator, a ventilation stack, a pressure relief duct, a guardhouse, foundations from previously removed structures, 2 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
  • long-term care and maintenance activities

Some temporary infrastructure – such as mobile offices and washrooms, as well as an increase to electrical services – would be required in order to facilitate decommissioning. Water-holding tanks and fuel storage may also be needed 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.

The proposed NPD Closure Project requires authorization by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in the form of a licence, and must undergo a review pursuant to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act in order to proceed. CNL is seeking CNSC approval for a licence amendment to the current NPD waste facility decommissioning licence. However, before the Commission can make a licensing decision on this proposal, CNSC staff must complete an environmental assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). Although the Impact Assessment Act came into force on August 28, 2019, it contains provisions for ongoing projects to be completed under CEAA 2012. This means that the CNSC will continue to lead the review of the NPD Project.

The completion of an EA under CEAA 2012 involves producing an EA report based on the information in CNL’s project description, final environmental impact statement (EIS) and other supporting documentation.

The CNSC's environmental assessment process

CNSC staff must review the evidence and provide information on whether the proposed NPD Closure Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects before the Commission can proceed with its licensing decision. The CNSC will make this information available as a Commission member document (CMD) before Part 1 of the 2-part public hearing.

Environmental assessment start date: May 5, 2016
Reference number80121


Application submitted

Date Activity
May 5, 2016 CNL submission of licence application to amend current waste facility decommissioning licence


Date Activity
May 5, 2016 Notice of commencement of an EA
May 24, 2016 Public comments invited on project description
May 25, 2016 Notice of first participant funding offering: Scope of EA (PFP decision report)
March 8, 2017 Record of decision on the scope of environmental assessments for 3 proposed projects at existing CNL facilities
September 26, 2017 Upcoming: Public comments invited on draft EIS
November 15, 2017 Public comments invited on draft EIS
November 16, 2017 Open houses in Deep River, ON, and Rapides-des-Joachims, QC
November 28, 2017 Update: Extension of period for public comments invited on draft EIS
February 9, 2018 Review of CNL's draft EIS completed – Additional information requests submitted to CNL 
June 11, 2018 Update on the status of the environmental assessment review process
March 11, 2019 Notice of second participant funding offering: EA report and CMD review, participation in Commission hearing
May 5, 2020 Letter to CNL on completeness of revised draft EIS and responses to federal and provincial information requests
January 15, 2021 Letter to CNL on completeness of revised draft EIS and responses to federal and provincial information requests
January 19, 2022 Letter to CNL on completeness of revised draft EIS and responses to federal and provincial information requests
To be confirmed CNL resubmission of revised draft EIS and responses to federal and provincial information requests
To be confirmed CNSC and federal and provincial technical review of draft EIS
To be confirmed CNL submission of final EIS
To be confirmed CNSC staff CMD and EA report available for public review
To be confirmed Public intervention deadline

Public hearing

Date Activity
To be confirmed

Commission decisions

Date Activity

To be confirmed

Licence issued

Date Activity

To be confirmed

Compliance activities

Date Activity

To be confirmed


For general CNSC updates, subscribe to the CNSC’s mailing list. For information directly related to this project, please contact:
Veronica Mossop, Environmental Assessment Officer
Telephone: 343-542-7469 or 1-800-668-5284

Mailing address: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
P. O. Box 1046, Station B
Ottawa, ON K1P 5S9

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