Regulatory hearing will consider application to construct Near Surface Disposal Facility; Indigenous communities and members of the public are invited to comment on application
Chalk River, ON – October 29, 2021 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has scheduled a two-part public hearing to consider CNL’s application to amend its operating licence to authorize the construction of the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF). The hearing includes another opportunity for Indigenous communities and members of the public to continue their participation in the regulatory review process for the proposed project, which would establish an engineered disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste at the Chalk River Laboratories campus.
During Part 1 of the public hearing, which is scheduled to take place on February 22, 2022, the CNSC Commission will hear submissions from both CNL and CNSC staff on the licencing application and environmental assessment. Following Part 1, a comment period will be opened where Indigenous communities and members of the public will be invited to submit feedback on the project. During Part 2 of the hearing, scheduled to begin on May 31, 2022, Indigenous communities and members of the public will have an opportunity to present their comments to the CNSC commissioners.
“The licensing, construction and operation of the NSDF is critical to the successful cleanup and remediation of the Chalk River Laboratories campus and the management of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s (AECL) low-level radioactive waste. CNL is confident that the facility is the best solution to dispose of this waste, while continuing to protect the surrounding environment, especially the Ottawa River,” commented Joe McBrearty, CNL’s President and CEO. “We appreciate the input that we have received through our ongoing engagements on this project, and we look forward to continuing this dialogue with Indigenous communities, members of the public and other stakeholders.”
The proposed NSDF is an engineered containment facility that would be built on AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories site to enable the permanent disposal of decommissioning waste from more than 100 legacy buildings and structures at the Chalk River Laboratories, as well as waste from 70 years of science and technology research, contaminated lands, and continuing operations. The mound is designed to contain one million cubic metres of low-level waste in a multi-layer base liner and cover system. A dedicated waste water treatment plant is also part of the design to safely remove contaminants from any precipitation that enters the facility.
The proposed NSDF project has been under rigid review by the CNSC and is subject to federal assessment, which has been underway since 2017, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Earlier this year, the CNSC deemed all environmental assessment and licencing application documents acceptable for the project, which is a key step within the environmental assessment process. The upcoming two-part public hearing is the next step in this process. If CNL’s application is approved by the CNSC, construction on the facility is planned to begin in the fall of 2022.
To learn more about CNL, including the Near Surface Disposal Facility project, please visit www.cnl.ca/nsdf. To view the final Environmental Impact Statement for the NSDF, please visit https://www.cnl.ca/environmental-stewardship/near-surface-disposal-facility-nsdf/nsdf-technical-documents-reports/.
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Director, Corporate Communications