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WR-1 Reactor Decommissioning

WR-1 Reactor Decommissioning

The responsible solution

The WR-1 reactor at Whiteshell played a key role in the nuclear history of Canada.  It was built by General Electric and first achieved criticality in 1965, serving for twenty years as a research reactor, which among other missions became a testing site for the CANDU fleet.  It was safely shut down in 1985, and since then, has been maintained in a state of “storage with surveillance”.


CNL is proposing to decommission and leave the reactor in place at the Whiteshell site.  All fuel and liquids have been removed, and what remains are the structural components of the reactor, such as the vessel and piping.

CNL’s proposed approach – in-situ decommissioning – will provide a safe, secure and effective disposal solution for the existing contaminated below-grade building. This approach allows CNL to decommission the WR-1 Building in a safe, compliant manner that reduces the need for interim storage and continued human intervention and provides protection of the public and the environment. It avoids the necessity of transporting contaminated components and finding another location and facility for disposal.

WR-1 Decommissioning Timeline

Environmental Impact Statement update - 2020 July

CNL has submitted the next revision of the WR-1 Project’s Environmental Impact Statement to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for regulatory review.  In the past two years, the project team has done further work to address the comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement, incorporating feedback from Indigenous Peoples, the public and federal and provincial regulators.
WR-1 EIS exec summary rev 4
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