Consortium’s study appears to show the Chalk River mound would disintegrate

November 2020

The proponent of the Chalk River Mound, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, was required to produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the very flawed and protracted Environmental Assessment process that is still underway.

The draft EIS was published in March 2017. It is 990 pages long. The full document is posted on the Impact Assessment Agency registry for the project. Here is the link to the full document:

The draft EIS includes 25 occurrences of the phrase “liner and cover failure as a result of normal evolution”. The document also includes 11 occurrences of the term “bathtub effect” during which there is a flow of radioactive materials out of the mound. Table 5.8.6-5 lists quantities of radioactive materials, including four isotopes of plutonium, that would flow out of the mound under the “bathtub scenario”.

Here’s a screenshot from page 723 of the pdf document, that describes the liner and cover failure as a result of “normal evolution” followed by two scenarios for disintegration of the mound and migration of contaminants into Perch Creek and the Ottawa River.

Here is a picture of the Bathtub Scenario from an EIS supporting document, the Performance Assessment for NSDF. The blue arrows and the Ottawa River were added by CCRCA researcher Ole Hendrickson when he incorporated Figure 8-5 into a Powerpoint deck.

And here is part of a table showing radionuclide flow out of the mound (including four isotopes of plutonium) as it disintegrates:

And finally here is a pie chart showing the contribution of various radionuclides (such as Carbon-14, Polonium and Caesium-137 ) to the radiation dose that would be received by an infant downstream in Pembroke, under the “bathtub scenario” of “normal evolution” of the Chalk River Mound:

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