2019 NSDF Project update



Environmental Impact Statement update

CNL is in the process of responding to 669 Federal, Provincial, Public and Indigenous Group Information Requests.

Based on the 669 comments received, four main themes have been identified:

1. Waste Inventory

In response to public concerns about the inclusion of any intermediate level radioactive waste in the NSDF, CNL has made a commitment to limit the acceptable waste to be placed in the facility to low level radioactive waste only. Given that low level radioactive waste is still the most significant volume of waste CNL has to manage, the proposed NSDF is still the most effective way to dispose of and contain the low level radioactive waste liability. CNL will continue the current practice of safely storing intermediate level radioactive waste in separate facilities on the Chalk River Laboratories site.

2. Research and Development

Throughout the lengthy NSDF design process, CNL has collaborated with numerous industry specialists, including those at Queen’s University, who have assessed the incorporation of current best practices into the design of the facility’s engineered containment mound’s liner system to ensure its guaranteed, long-term performance. Through this collaboration, CNL has been provided with state-of-the art research and testing for the geomembrane barrier. This has enabled CNL to choose the best design and materials for the facility’s liner system, thereby providing evidence that the required service-life of 550 years will be reached.

3. Protection of the Ottawa River

As part of the ongoing federal environmental assessment, CNL is providing the necessary evidence and the science-based explanation that supports placing the facility at the Chalk River location. This includes providing details on groundwater behaviour and the management of contaminants. The resulting information incorporates CNL’s decades-long experience collecting and interpreting data on the entire Chalk River site’s ecosystem. CNL is also adding detailed modeling of the calculated treated effluent discharges from the facility’s waste water plant, and evaluation of the facility’s impacts on the Perch Lake Basin and the Ottawa River.

Given that the NSDF project will enable the environmental remediation of the Chalk River site by removing contaminants from the outside environment, CNL will issue a written report, which details the evaluation of the impact to the public and environment. This Performance Assessment will document and confirm that effluent releases from the NSDF are well below regulatory limits, protecting the public and environment, including the Ottawa River.

4. Design and Engineering

When the draft EIS was submitted, CNL had completed the preliminary design of the NSDF. Since then, CNL has continued development of the design and, while it has generally has remained the same, improvements have been made. For instance, to avoid overburdening the nearby wetlands, the project has made changes to the release of clean effluent to the exfiltration gallery when groundwater levels are high. The project has also completed further analysis which assesses the impact of a large earthquake over the lifetime of the facility, and has made improvements to the design of the wastewater treatment plant, making it more robust to withstand potential tornadoes and high winds. The comments from stakeholders and additional time spent reviewing facility design details have resulted in significant improvements to the facility.


March 20, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Update Webinar

April 24, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Breakfast Briefing


June 17, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Update Webinar, 6:30 p.m. - www.cnl.ca/webinar

June 26, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Breakfast Briefing, Deep River Library, 8:00 a.m.