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March 15, 2021

Waste facility decommissioning licence issued to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for the Douglas Point Waste Facility

On March 15, 2021 the Commission announced its decision to amend the waste facility decommissioning licence issued to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for the Douglas Point Waste Facility. This decision follows a public hearing held virtually on November 25 and 26, 2020. The amended license allows CNL to begin Phase 3 decommissioning activities, including the decommissioning and dismantlement of certain facilities and structures at the facility.

The Douglas Point Waste Facility, which is completely enclosed by the much larger Bruce Site, consists of a number of non-nuclear and nuclear buildings that made up the first commercial nuclear power plant in Canada, operating from 1968 until 1984. After the initial decommissioning work was completed in the 80’s (including defueling), the facility was put into a safe shutdown state of Storage with Surveillance. We have safely maintained Douglas Point in Storage with Surveillance for more than three decades, allowing for sufficient radioactive decay before final decommissioning.

In late November of last year, CNL appeared before the Commission at a hearing on our application to amend the existing licence to begin decommissioning activities. The team successfully presented the case for an amended licence, based on a record of excellent performance from CNL’s Douglas Point team. CNL also heard from members of the public and Indigenous communities at this public hearing. Going forward, we are keen to continue to listen to, and build upon our relationships with, the local public and Indigenous communities in the region.

The amended licence is valid until 2030. This period will cover the complete removal of the remaining non-nuclear buildings, like the Administration Building, and some of the nuclear buildings, such as the Purification Building, as well as the decommissioning of the internals of the Service Building and the support systems within the Reactor Building. Decommissioning of the reactor itself and the Spent Fuel Canister Area are scheduled to occur after 2030.

CNL also looks forward to continue to grow relationships with the local public as well as Indigenous communities, involving different perspectives and values. The Douglas Point team will begin system isolations and decommissioning very shortly, and removal of these buildings is scheduled to begin in early 2022.

While this licensing decision was essential for CNL to start final decommissioning work, which is planned to be a five-phase process, there will be regulatory checkpoints and oversight throughout the amended licencing period, as spelled out in the  updated Licence Conditions Handbook that will accompany the amended licence.

To learn more about CNL’s work to responsibly address these liabilities through the environmental cleanup at the Douglas Point site, visit

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