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CNSC response to CTV online news February 5, 2024

February 5, 2024

We’re getting in touch with respect to this article: Chalk River: Radioactive waste destined for giant mound hazardous for thousands of years, groups warn | CTV News.   

In the article, you note that “CTV News has reached out to the CNSC for comments.” We have no record of this and request that you remove the reference in the article.   

For context, on January 10, the Commission granted CNL a licence to construct a facility to dispose of low-level radioactive waste, called a Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) at its Chalk River Laboratories site in Deep River, Ontario. The record of decision is now available on the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) website here.

CNSC staff are responsible for providing ongoing oversight of this project, ensuring CNL’s regulatory and safety requirements are met as it moves forward with construction of an NSDF. CNSC staff will ensure the Commission’s decision is implemented. This includes ongoing engagement and consultation with Indigenous Nations and communities, as well as stakeholders and the public, to ensure they are kept informed on a regular basis about all NSDF regulatory matters.   

The CNSC will ensure that CNL meets all legal and regulatory requirements as well as licence conditions, through regular inspections and evaluations. Authorization of projects by the Commission may be granted when it has determined that the project will be safe, that the proponent is qualified to do the work, and that the proposed project meets all regulatory requirements for the licence they have applied for to the Commission.  

The purpose of the NSDF Project is to provide a permanent disposal solution for up to 1 million cubic metres of solid low-level radioactive waste, such as contaminated personal protective clothing and building materials.   

The majority of the waste to be placed in the NSDF is currently in storage at the Chalk River Laboratories site or will be generated from environmental remediation, decommissioning, and operational activities at the Chalk River Laboratories site. Approximately 10% of the waste volume will come from other AECL-owned sites or from commercial sources such as Canadian hospitals and universities.  

The Commission’s decision applies to the construction of the NSDF Project only. Authorization to operate the NSDF would be subject to a future Commission licensing hearing and decision, should CNL come forward with a licence application to do so. No waste may be placed in the NSDF during the construction phase of the project.  


CNSC Media Relations 

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