Revised schedule for Canadian repository

27 November 2017

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has requested an amended timeline for its Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) project to allow sufficient time to respond to regulatory requests for technical information before submitting its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the facility.

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A recent CNSC activity to share information on the NSDF project in the community of Deep River, Ontario (Image: CNSC)

The proposed NSDF - an engineered containment mound to be constructed at CNL's Chalk River laboratories - is intended to provide safe disposal of low-level radioactive wastes including legacy wastes from 65 years of operations at the Ontario site, waste from the remediation of contaminated lands, and debris from Chalk River infrastructure decommissioning activities.

A draft EIS for the facility was opened to public comments earlier this year. The public comment period closed on 16 August and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in September completed its technical assessment of the draft EIS. The regulator then submitted comments received, as well as a consolidated table of federal comments, to CNL for action. The CNSC also identified a number of areas where additional information is required for both the final EIS, and other technical supporting documentation. CNL must address all federal and public comments received on the proposal before submitting its final EIS.

In October, CNL announced a decision not to include the disposal of intermediate-level waste in its plans for the NSDF, a decision it said was based in part on the public remarks and federal technical submissions received through the formal comments on the draft EIS.

Previous project timelines had envisaged CNL submitting the final EIS for the facility in January 2018, but CNL said on 24 November it now needed to amend the schedule for the submission and the subsequent licensing hearing to allow enough time for it to respond and for third-party review. The licensing hearing had been tentatively planned for July 2018, according to the CNSC.

"CNL believes the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility project is critical to the renewal of the Chalk River Laboratories, as this environmental remediation is helping create the conditions for a clean and revitalised science and technology campus," CNL vice-president of decommissioning and waste management Kurt Kehler said. The CNSC's regulatory review process, giving members of the public the opportunity to voice opinions on the project to CNL, was "tremendously important", he said. "We welcome the opportunity to understand concerns, make changes and respond."

A revised timeline for project deliverables will be made available to the public once finalised, the CNSC said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News