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Update on the Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is proposing to fully decommission the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) waste facility using an in-situ decommissioning approach. The facility is located in the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg peoples. CNL is proposing to demolish the above-grade structures that remain at the facility, except for the ventilation stack, and place them inside the below-grade structure, which will then be filled with grout, a flowable type of cement.

CNL’s proposal is undergoing both an environmental assessment (EA) and a licensing assessment by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Both assessments were launched in May 2016. CNL’s proposal is subject to rigorous regulatory scrutiny, and it must meet all regulatory requirements for a radioactive waste disposal facility.

Where we are now

There are no new updates on the CNSC’s licensing technical assessment of CNL’s proposal. The licensing technical assessments are ongoing, and CNL continues to develop and revise documents supporting its licensing application to address CNSC staff’s comments.

In relation to the EA, in light of concerns raised during the Commission hearing for CNL’s proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility Project, and given the subsequent procedural direction issued by the Commission, CNL has decided to postpone its submission of the revised environmental impact statement (EIS) for the NPD Closure Project. This is to allow for additional Indigenous engagement, and CNSC staff are expecting to receive CNL’s revised EIS submission in summer 2023. The submission will be assessed by CNSC staff to determine if there is sufficient information to proceed to a detailed technical review.

Next steps

If CNSC staff deem that the information submitted by CNL is incomplete, CNL will need to revise its EIS and supporting documentation before resubmitting it to the CNSC.

If CNSC staff deem that the information submitted by CNL meets EA and licensing requirements, CNSC staff will proceed with the development of an EA report and a licensing Commission member document (CMD). The EA report and CMD will be publicly posted in advance of public Commission hearings, and will summarize CNSC staff’s technical assessments, findings and recommendations to the Commission for decisions on the EA and licence application.

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