CNL’s Integrated Waste Strategy alarms downstream residents

November 5, 2020


CNL’s Integrated Waste Strategy (version 0
) (obtained through ATIP in December 2017, contains many redactions)

CNL’s Integrated Waste Strategy (Version 1) (“sanitized”, publicly available on CNL’s website)

The CNL Integrated Waste Strategy describes many types of radioactive wastes owned by the federal government in nuclear facilities in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. The document lays out a plan to consolidate as much of these wastes as possible at the Chalk River Laboratories site beside the Ottawa River upstream of Ottawa, Gatineau and  Montreal for permanent disposal in a highly-controversial, yet-to-be-licensed giant radioactive waste mound.

Ottawa Valley residents are alarmed by this strategy to bring all of Canada’s federal nuclear waste to Chalk River. The site already has much radioactive waste in less than optimum storage conditions; wastes are leaking and contaminating the Ottawa River. See Chalk River’s Toxic Legacy by Ian McLeod in the Ottawa Citizen, December 16, 2011.

Radioactive waste shipments are already underway from other federal nuclear facilities in Canada. There are risks involved in transportation as described in our recent fact sheet “Transport of Radioactive Waste on Canadian Roads- a growing public risk”.  Premature transportation of wastes before long-term management facilities are planned, evaluated, and licensed will result in double-transport and double-handling, creating additional unnecessary risks to workers and the public.

There are no approved disposal facilities at the CRL site; shipping containers full of wastes are presently being piled up at a Waste Management Area H as shown in the photograph below. The metal shipping containers are susceptible to corrosion and are exposed to precipitation in the current location.

The Chalk River Laboratories is not a good site for long-term storage of radioactive waste mainly because it is seismically active and adjacent to the Ottawa River which serves as a source of drinking water for millions of Canadians including citizens of Ottawa-Gatineau and many other communities.

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