Response to Aylmer Bulletin

June 12, 2018 
Attention: Editor, Aylmer Bulletin 
RE: Chalk River public relations (Colin Chisdale) 

Dear Editor, I’m not sure who Colin Chisdale spoke with about CNL’s proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) as described in his letter to the Aylmer Bulletin (June 6), but I’d be happy to discuss the project with him or anyone else who is interested. I’d invite Colin to contact me by email at communications@cnl.ca or by phone at 1-800-364-6989 to set up a conversation. 

There are misconceptions about the proposed NSDF, so I want to be clear – this facility is designed to protect the environment, not harm it. CNL employees care deeply about the surrounding area and the Ottawa River, we are local residents and have a shared interest in responsibly addressing waste at the Chalk River Laboratories site. The NSDF will allow us to clean up and isolate historic, low-level contamination that is currently present at the site, and dispose of the waste in a watertight enclosure that has been designed to withstand sabotage, earthquakes and flooding. These facilities are recognized internationally as a safe and appropriate way to dispose of low-level waste, and are being used successfully in Canada and the United States. 

Over the past two years, CNL has worked hard to engage with the public about the NSDF project. During that time, we have hosted many meetings with the public throughout Ontario and Quebec, including participating in a recent town hall meeting in Gatineau hosted by Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer, Greg Fergus. This is in addition to public information sessions, meetings, discussions, project orientations and site visits with elected officials, media, members of the public, members of the industry and non-governmental organizations. At each of these engagements we have openly discussed the project and have responded to requests for information. These events will continue, and I’d encourage Mr. Chisdale to stay tuned to CNL’s Facebook page for updates on future sessions and on the project’s progress. 

Finally, this project is subject to a federal government-led, and very public, environmental assessment process. In order to proceed, CNL requires an environmental assessment decision and authorization from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Members of the public are welcome to participate in this assessment, and are encouraged to raise any concerns they have through this formal review process. 

Pat Quinn
Director, Corporate Communications
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories