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Summer 2021 update on the WR-1 decommissioning project

As work continues on the environmental assessment (EA) and licensing technical review for the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL’s) Whiteshell Reactor #1 (WR-1) decommissioning project, the CNSC continues to provide regular updates on the project.

Where are we now

CNL submitted a revised environmental impact statement (EIS) in March 2020, which CNSC staff deemed incomplete in April 2020.

With respect to the licensing assessment, CNL has responded to hundreds of CNSC staff’s comments resulting from the technical assessments, and the process remains ongoing. The most recent technical reviews completed by CNSC staff include key documents regarding the design plan, waste form, and waste inventory, along with the geosynthesis report. CNL has also yet to submit the key licensing document: the document on the safety case. The safety case document is the one that demonstrates the safety of the facility and how it meets applicable regulatory requirements.

Next steps

CNL’s submission of its safety case and supporting documentation is anticipated for the late fall of 2021. CNL is expected to revise the EIS package and resubmit it in late 2021. If the EIS package is deemed complete, a 90-day CNSC and federal-provincial technical review will follow.


In spring 2021, CNSC staff completed a series of webinars that included topics relevant to the WR-1 project. The series provided a general overview of the CNSC’s licensing process and included topics such as technical assessments, waste classification and characterization, and compliance verification.

Since then, CNSC have planned a subsequent webinar series for the fall of 2021, based on participant feedback during the spring webinar series. The fall webinars include topics such as the transportation of radioactive waste, long-term safety of disposal facilities, protection of people and the environment, and the CNSC hearing processes. For more information on the fall 2021 webinar series and to register, please visit the CNSC’s webinar web page.

What we heard

CNSC staff are working to implement the following actions in response to comments received from the spring webinar participants:

  • Recordings of the spring webinar series will be publicly available in the fall of 2021.
  • Recordings of the fall webinar series will be publicly available shortly after the live webinar sessions take place.
  • CNSC staff will include more specific examples and pictures to better illustrate processes/concepts in future webinar presentations.
  • CNSC staff also recommended that participants visit the CNSC Indigenous engagement web page and consult REGDOC-3.2.2: Indigenous Engagement, for more information on how the CNSC conducts consultation and engagement processes when Indigenous rights or interests could be impacted by a potential project.

To receive ongoing notifications and information from the CNSC, please register on the subscriber web page.

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