Licence renewal for Canadian waste facility

01 June 2017

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has renewed the operating licence for Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) until 31 May 2027. Meanwhile, OPG has responded to requests for information from the federal government about its proposed Deep Geologic Repository for the permanent disposal of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from its nuclear power plants.

WWMF - 460 (OPG)
The Western Waste Management Facility (Image: OPG)

The WWMF, located on the shore of Lake Huron, is responsible for the safe handling, management and interim storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from the Bruce A and B reactors and from OPG's Pickering and Darlington nuclear power plants. It also manages used fuel from the Bruce plants and refurbishment waste from Bruce A. The facility, in the municipality of Kincardine, is owned and operated by OPG and hasĀ been in operation since 1974.

The CNSC considered submissions from OPG and 18 intervenors, as well as recommendations from its own staff, in making its decision following a public hearing held in April. The renewed licence authorises the construction of new facilities to provide additional storage capacity and processing facilities. These include buildings for the storage of low- and intermediate-level waste, in-ground storage containers for intermediate-level waste, in-ground containers for heat exchangers and buildings for dry storage of used nuclear fuel. Operation of the new facilities is subject to CNSC acceptance of OPG's commissioning report.

While the WWMF provides interim storage facilities, OPG plans to build a permanent disposal facility - the Deep Geologic Repository, or DGR - on the Bruce site. The Canadian Environment Assessment Agency (CEAA) is in the process of reviewing OPG's proposal.

OPG has now submitted its responses to 23 information requests from the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency (CEAA) about the proposed DGR, the company said on 29 May.

"We support a rigorous process of due diligence, to ensure that this important project is carefully examined before approval," OPG vice president of nuclear waste management, Lise Morton, said. OPG has responded to 608 information requests about the DGR since 2011.

The CEAA will report its recommendations to Canada's minister of environment and climate change, who is expected to decide this year whether to approve the environmental assessment.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News