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Douglas Point Decommissioning

Douglas Point Decommissioning

CNL is decommissioning of the Douglas Point prototype reactor facility by fully dismantling and removing all buildings and structures, taking care of all the waste and remediating the land. Ultimately, this project minimizes environmental impact, protecting the earth for future generations.

CNL is now progressing with final decommissioning. The goal is to fully remove the facility from the site in a way that is informed by Indigenous nations and the public and continues to reduce and eliminate risk to the health, safety and security of people and the environment.


Douglas Point has a proud history. The Douglas Point Nuclear Generating Station was Canada’s first full-scale nuclear power plant. It was a joint project between Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), as owner, and Ontario Hydro (now Ontario Power Generation), as operator.

The 200 megawatt CANDU® reactor ran from 1967 until 1984 when it was permanently shut down having achieved its objectives. As a prototype nuclear reactor, Douglas Point demonstrated that a CANDU® nuclear plant could be scaled up for commercial power generation, a legacy that helped Ontario get where we are today with roughly half our energy coming from clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power.

Initial decommissioning began in the mid-1980s. By 1986, the fuel had been removed and reactor coolant drained in accordance with regulatory requirements. The fuel was transferred to dry storage by the end of 1987. From the late 1980s until 2021, the facility was in a safe shutdown state, referred to as the “storage with surveillance” phase of decommissioning, which allowed for significant radioactive decay.

What happens to the waste?

All waste from decommissioning activities for the Douglas Point facility is carefully categorized or “characterized” and each type of waste is managed in an appropriate way according to waste type.

Radioactive waste (i.e. contaminated soil, contaminated demolition debris, used fuel):

  • Low and intermediate-level radioactive waste from the decommissioning of the Douglas Point facility is packaged in licensed containers and safely transported to the Chalk River Laboratories site. Given the stringent safety, security and licensing requirements that govern waste facilities, it makes sense to consolidate all radioactive waste in one facility, at the Chalk River Laboratories site.
  • As for the used fuel, in Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has the mandate for designing and implementing the plan for the safe, long-term management of spent nuclear fuel. All used fuel from the Douglas Point Waste Facility is destined for the repository that the NWMO is responsible for planning and building.

Non-radioactive waste (i.e. demolition debris from the administration building):

  • Clean waste, which is waste that is characterized and found to be not radioactive, will be recycled where possible and where not, sent to licensed local landfills.
  • Clean recyclable waste such as, scrap metal and cardboard, is sent off site to recycling facilities.
  • Designated substances (i.e. asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, asphalt roofing material, hydrocarbons and other kinds of hazardous waste often found on industrial sites):
    Designated substances are sent off site to special facilities that are licensed to receive and handle this type of industrial waste.

Environmental Protection

CNL has a robust environmental policy and an environmental protection program that provides onitoring and issues reports on environmental performance.
We are committed to ensuring our work makes as little impact as possible on the environment.

Regulatory Oversight

In March 2021, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to amend the waste facility decommissioning licence issued to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for the Douglas Point Waste Facility. Now, Douglas Point has a ten-year decommissioning licence, which allows CNL to complete most of the final decommissioning work. This does not include the reactor building and the spent fuel canister area.
The CNSC oversees the entire licensing period and multiple approvals are still required for each sub-phase of the final decommissioning.

Indigenous and public feedback

CNL welcomes feedback and opportunities to collaborate with the public, special interest groups, local communities and Indigenous nations, organizations and communities on whose traditional territory we operate. Please reach out to us at or through the feedback form below.

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