The Waste Management Lifecycle describes the steps waste will go through during its lifetime. It should be noted that the waste lifecycle is rarely linear; processing, storage and transportation stages can happen multiple times and some waste may not be subject to all steps. There are six steps to the lifecycle:
Waste Management is an integral part of the planning stages of any activity and is critical for hazard reduction, process optimization and ensures that waste is sufficiently and safely managed throughout its lifecycle. Part of waste planning at CNL includes assessment of waste by identifying the waste type and volume, developing a waste minimization approach and waste management plans.
The most holistic and comprehensive planning tool currently is the Integrated Waste Strategy. This is a live document which provides our current strategic position for waste management and will be updated as required.
All waste produced at sites managed by CNL are managed by CNL, whether it is “clean” waste, such as a granola bar wrapper, or radioactive waste produced in hot cells.
Waste is transferred within specific CNL locations, between CNL locations and to other third party sites for management. Transportation may take place at any stage during the waste management process. Transportation activities are subject to all federal and provincial transportation rules and regulatory requirements.
Processing is any operation that changes the characteristics of waste, including pre-treatment, treatment, and conditioning. Pre-treatment includes: waste characterization, decontamination and deactivation processes; treatment examples include: compaction and thermal treatment; and conditioning examples include: solidification and immobilization.
Storage is the short or long-term management of radioactive waste in a facility that provides for containment with the possibility for retrieval where institutional controls and maintenance are required.
Disposal is the emplacement of waste in an appropriate facility without the intention of retrieval. Clean waste is sent either to on-site or off-site landfills and hazardous waste is transferred off-site for disposal. Presently there is no disposal pathway for radioactive waste. Low, intermediate and high level waste is characterized and safely stored until a future suitable disposal pathway is identified. The Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) is CNL’s proposed solution for LLW.