Federal cash for legacy waste clean-up

18 January 2012

A project to clean up low-level radioactive wastes dating back to the dawn of the nuclear age can move forward with the announcement of a 10-year funding commitment from the Canadian government.

 

Oliver announcement  

Minister Joe Oliver announces the funding  

 

Natural resources minister Joe Oliver announced the investment of C$1.28 billion ($1.26 billion) of federal funds to address historic waste resulting from more than five decades of radium and uranium refining operations at Port Hope, Ontario. The investment underscored the government's "long-standing commitment to clean up historic low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope area," according to the minister.

Some 1.7 million cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste is located at several sites within the neighbouring municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. The waste resulted from radium and uranium processing carried out between 1933 and 1988 by the former Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear Limited and its private sector predecessors.

The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) was set up in 2001 through a legal agreement between the Canadian government and the local municipalities to develop and implement a safe, long-term solution for the management of the waste through two projects, Port Hope and Port Granby. The Port Hope project will see the construction of an engineered above-ground waste facility. The cleanup of the 1.2 million cubic metres of historic low-level waste at from various sites within Port Hope is expected to begin around 2014, once the infrastructure is in place. An engineered surface facility will also be built under the Port Granby project, which will see the relocation of approximately 450,000 cubic metres of waste from an existing site into the new facility.

In addition to the construction of the new waste management facilities and supporting infrastructure, each project involves the cleanup and restoration of contaminated sites, and long-term monitoring and maintenance of the waste management facilities. The first phase of environmental assessments and licensing has been completed for both projects, and PHAI project director Christine Fahey said that the funding announcement officially marked the start of the second, implementation, phase. "This investment reinforces the Government of Canada's commitment to the Port Hope Area Initiative and to the future of these communities," she said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News
 

Filed under: Waste management, Canada