Chalk River Labs ~ Comprehensive Preliminary Decommissioning Plan (CPDP)

January 15.2023

This document, dated 2014 is the current version of the plan developed over many years for decommissioning and cleanup of the Chalk River Laboratories property. It is a requirement under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act that licensed nuclear facilities have decommissioning plans in place.

The plan was developed as part of the multimillion dollar “Nuclear Legacy Liabilities Project” prior to privatization of CRL in 2015. The work outlined in this plan will cost billions of dollars, possibly close to $16 billion which is a recent government of Canada estimate for the cost of cleaning up its federal nuclear legacy liability, the bulk of which is at Chalk River.

Interestingly, the CPDP includes no mention of a “Near Surface” disposal facility, aka the giant Chalk River Mound that has caused so much consternation on the part of Indigenous communities, downstream municipalities, and civil society groups over the last six years.

The private sector consortium that owns Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and is now running Chalk River Laboratories and other Canadian federal nuclear facilities, does not appear to be following this CPDP, and the plan is not publicly accessible on the CNLwebsite.

We are posting the CPDP here because it is an important document that should guide decision making about Canada’s largest federal environmental liability and we believe it should be publicly available.

There is a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission requirement (in REGDOC 2.11-2, Decommissioning) that a Preliminary Decommissioning Plan shall include… a public consultation plan.   The IAEA also says that planning for decommissioning includes activities for public consultation in accordance with national requirements.

 The photo above is the “active area” at Chalk River Laboratories on June 24, 2022, showing some of the buildings and structures that need to be decommissioned. The NRU reactor, closed in 2018, is the red brick building in the foreground. The Plutonium Tower – the grey structure to the left of the “Molybdenum-99 Stack” – is also visible in the photo,

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