2019 NSDF Project update

May_2019_NSDF_Timeline

 

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

The Near Surface Disposal Facility will contain only low-level waste.  The classes of radioactive waste in Canada are determined by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission with information available here, on their website (http://www.cnsc.gc.ca/eng/resources/infographics/waste/index.cfm).  These waste classes are also consistent with definitions of the Canadian Standard Association (CSA).  

Low-level waste contains primarily short-lived radionuclides and restricts the amount of long-lived radionuclides thus requiring isolation and containment for periods of time up to a few hundred years. The engineered containment mound design life of 500 years has been established to meet the required time period to allow for radiologic decay of the waste inventory.  

Low-level waste includes items such as soils from remediation activities, demolition debris from decommissioning work and general trash such as used personal protection clothing or equipment.  These items are considered low-level waste as they have become contaminated at some point with low levels of radioactivity.  Low-level waste mostly contains short-lived radioactivity (thus decays relatively quickly) and can be safely handled with limited precautions.
An estimation of the total inventory is required to inform the safety assessments where the inventory is tested against selected scenarios to determine the long-term consequences of the proposed facility.  It also informs design criteria such as the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
The reference inventory below establishes a representative radionuclide inventory by extrapolating waste already currently in storage, as well as waste forecasts from environmental remediation projects and decommissioning projects data to an assumed total volume of the NSDF at time of closure.  All waste that is expected to be generated is meticulously described, or “characterized” before its generations to ensure the cumulative total inventory of NSDF is tracked against the reference inventory.

NSDF Reference Inventory at Closure

Radionuclide

Element Name

Half Life (years)1

Predominate decay emission

Total Activity (Bq)

Average Concentration (Bq/g)2

Ag-108m

Silver

4.38E+02

beta/gamma

2.62E+10

2.74E-02

Am-241

Americium

4.33E+02

alpha

9.74E+10

1.02E-01

Am-243

Americium

7.36E+03

alpha

5.24E+07

5.48E-05

C-14

Carbon

5.70E+03

beta/gamma

1.70E+12

1.78E+00

Cl-36

Chlorine

3.01E+05

beta/gamma

3.97E+09

4.15E-03

Co-60

Cobalt

5.27E+00

beta/gamma

1.47E+16

1.53E+04

Cs-135

Cesium

2.30E+06

beta/gamma

5.19E+08

5.43E-04

Cs-137

Cesium

3.01E+01

beta/gamma

3.17E+12

3.31E+00

H-3

Hydrogen

1.23E+01

beta

2.79E+14

2.91E+02

I-129

Iodine

1.57E+07

beta/gamma

3.03E+10

3.16E-02

Mo-93

Molybdenum

4.00E+03

beta/gamma

1.47E+05

1.53E-07

Nb-94

Niobium

2.03E+04

beta/gamma

2.34E+11

2.45E-01

Ni-59

Nickel

7.60E+04

beta/gamma

1.21E+09

1.26E-03

Ni-63

Nickel

1.01E+02

beta/gamma

2.59E+11

2.70E-01

Np-237

Neptunium

2.14E+06

alpha

1.74E+07

1.82E-05

Pu-239

Plutonium

2.41E+04

alpha

8.76E+10

9.16E-02

Pu-241

Plutonium

1.43E+01

beta/gamma

5.84E+11

6.10E-01

Pu-242

Plutonium

3.75E+05

alpha

6.32E+07

6.61E-05

Ra-226

Radium

1.60E+03

alpha

3.61E+10

3.77E-02

Se-79

Selenium

3.27E+05

beta/gamma

9.26E+07

9.68E-05

Sn-126

Tin

2.30E+05

beta/gamma

1.24E+08

1.30E-04

Sr-90

Strontium

2.88E+01

beta/gamma

3.35E+12

3.50E+00

Tc-99

Technetium

2.11E+05

beta/gamma

3.16E+11

3.31E-01

Th-230

Thorium

7.54E+04

alpha

5.30E+09

5.54E-03

Th-232

Thorium

1.40E+10

alpha

2.70E+10

2.82E-02

U-233

Uranium

1.59E+05

alpha

2.74E+08

2.86E-04

U-234

Uranium

2.46E+05

alpha

6.88E+10

7.19E-02

U-235

Uranium

7.04E+08

alpha

2.96E+09

3.10E-03

U-238

Uranium

4.47E+09

alpha

7.57E+10

7.92E-02

Zr-93

Zirconium

1.61E+06

beta/gamma

4.92E+11

5.17E-01

1 Half-Lives are from the IAEA Chart of the Radionuclides

https://www-nds.iaea.org/relnsd/vcharthtml/VChartHTML.html

2Average concentrations calculated using the ECM total waste mass of 9.57E+08 kg.


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.

Events

June 26, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Breakfast Briefing


June 17, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Update Webinar


April 24, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Breakfast Briefing


March 20, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Update Webinar

 


Upcoming

September 18, 2019 - NSDF/NPD Breakfast Briefing, Deep River Library, 8:00 a.m.

September 2019 (date TBC) - NSDF/NPD Update Webinar