News Release

CNL granted 10-year operating licence for Chalk River campus

With new operating licence, Canada’s national nuclear laboratory is poised to revitalize the Chalk River Laboratories and grow its science and technology programs

Chalk River, ON, March 29, 2018 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, announced today that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Canada’s federal body responsible for nuclear safety, has approved CNL’s application to renew the operating licence for its Chalk River Laboratories nuclear campus. The new licence is valid until 2028 March 31,    a ten-year timeframe that aligns with CNL’s Long-Term Strategy, which will position the organization as a global leader in nuclear science and technology. 

“This is exceptional news for the future of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, the hard-working professionals who work at our Chalk River campus, and more broadly for our local communities here in the Ottawa Valley and the nuclear industry in Canada,” commented Mark Lesinski, CNL’s President and CEO. “Our application was based on a track record of solid safety and environmental performance; this new licence reflects both our current efforts and our future plans to create a stronger, more resilient and enduring national laboratory with a revitalized talent pool, facilities and infrastructure.”

Approval of CNL’s licence follows an extensive application process that included a three-day hearing in Pembroke, Ontario, where CNL responded to detailed technical questions about its safety record and operational performance. As part of this process, local residents, members of the public and Indigenous groups were given the opportunity to comment on CNL’s application through written submissions and oral presentations. CNL’s commitment to health and safety, its environmental protection program, operating model and waste management practices were just a few of the many topics that were discussed in detail during the hearing. 

The licence and associated Licence Condition Handbook, firmly establishes the regulatory framework under which the site will continue to operate as CNL continues its transformation.

One of the main concerns identified during the public review period was the desire for more frequent opportunities for public engagement if a 10-year operating licence was granted. In addition to the continued delivery of our public information and disclosure program, this licence also includes the requirement for a comprehensive mid-term report (2023) and annual Regulatory Oversight Reports by the CNSC staff. The CNSC encourages Indigenous groups and members of the public to participate in these meetings. CNL welcomes these opportunities to further build public trust in its operations, and will continue to grow its public engagement program in the years ahead.

“It’s important to everyone at CNL that we serve as good, responsible neighbours to our friends in the Ottawa Valley,” commented Lesinski in his closing remarks at the hearing. “We appreciate that people in our communities care deeply about the future of the Chalk River Laboratories and protection of the environment that we share. We also care deeply about the future of the site and the land, and I want all of the intervenors to know that we hear and share your concerns.”

“The licence hearing is a great opportunity for members of the public and Indigenous groups to participate in the regulatory process and have their voices heard. We welcome the CNSC’s decision, which takes into account CNL’s safety track record along with stakeholders’ and Indigenous groups’ requests for transparency and input in the process,” said Richard Sexton, President and CEO of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. “We are confident that CNL will continue to operate AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories safely, with the utmost regard for protecting the public, workers and the environment.”

Accompanying the licence is an updated Licence Conditions Handbook which provides detailed explanatory text, compliance verification criteria and guidance for the numerous licence conditions across 14 safety and control areas. 

For more information on CNL, and to review the company’s Long-Term Strategy, please visit www.cnl.ca. 

About CNL 

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries. Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally.

With ongoing investments in new facilities and a focused mandate, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is well positioned for the future. A new performance standard reinforced with a strong safety culture underscores every activity.

For more information on the complete range of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories services, please visit www.cnl.ca or contact communications@cnl.ca.

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Contact:

Patrick Quinn Director 
Corporate Communications
CNL, 1-866-886-2325