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Waste management during the Gentilly-1 Waste Management Facility decommissioning

The decommissioning and dismantling of the Gentilly-1 Waste Management Facility will generate several types of waste, which will be treated safely and appropriately, according to their level of radioactivity or industrial hazard.

Most components are conventional industrial waste, demolition debris or recyclable materials such as scrap metal. The latter will be sent to authorized landfill sites or recycling collection sites.

More hazardous waste, such as asbestos, lead or PCBs, will be sent to specialized facilities authorized to handle this type of waste.

Preliminary work to prepare for the decommissioning and restoration of the site is underway. This work includes removing used nuclear fuel stored on the site and safely transporting it to Chalk River Laboratories as part of CNL’s Integrated Waste Strategy. Transportation of radioactive materials is a highly regulated activity, and CNL will meet the stringent requirements of both Transport Canada and the CNSC.

These fuels will be safely and securely stored until final disposal in the Nuclear Waste Management Organization Deep Geological Repository.

Used nuclear fuel

Used nuclear fuel

In Canada, most of the used nuclear fuel in existence today is CANDU fuel. Contrary to the representations used in many cartoons and films, Canadian-used nuclear fuel is not in liquid or gaseous form. It is a stable solid – a type of ceramic – which is sealed in specially designed containers that are welded together to form a “bundle”.

Each bundle is roughly the size and shape of a fireplace log. When a bundle is removed from a nuclear reactor, it has the same appearance as when it was inserted.