Ontario Construction News staff writer
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) says it has completed the excavation and transfer of historic low-level radioactive waste away from the Lake Ontario shoreline in Southeast Clarington.
The placement of the last truckloads of waste in the aboveground mound at the new long-term waste management facility, located about 700 metres north of the shoreline site, marks a milestone for the Port Granby community and the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI). CNL is implementing the PHAI on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation.
“The safe and successful completion of this remediation is the culmination of years of hard work and planning carried out by CNL’s Port Hope Area Initiative team, and fulfills a key commitment by the Government of Canada to restore these lands for the local community,” said Joe McBrearty, CNL president and CEO. “This milestone represents continued progress in one of the largest and most complex environmental clean-up missions ever undertaken in Canada.”
Remediation of the legacy waste management site began in 2016 and was undertaken in stages, with each section of the site undergoing a stringent testing process to confirm that all contaminated material had been removed. Verified areas were then backfilled with clean soil and restored by hydroseeding and planting vegetation. As the cleanup neared completion, internal roads and other infrastructure were removed.
Capping and closing of the engineered storage mound at the new facility is underway and expected to be completed in summer 2021, with final landscaping targeted for summer 2022.
Dedicated systems are being installed within the mound and around the perimeter of the new facility to closely monitor the safety and performance of the facility for hundreds of years into the future.
“I want to thank the residents of Port Granby for their support and patience during the decades of community consultation, followed by the remediation and restoration of land in the heart of their rural community,” said Richard Sexton, president and CEO of AECL. “I am very pleased that CNL and its contractors have fulfilled the Government of Canada’s commitment to clean up the lakefront site so generations to come will enjoy the benefits of a cleaner environment.”
The Port Granby Project involves the relocation of approximately 1.3 million tonnes of historic low-level radioactive waste from the legacy storage site on the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Southeast Clarington, to a new, engineered aboveground mound.
Ongoing maintenance and monitoring will continue for hundreds of years after the facility is capped and closed. The historic waste resulted from radium and uranium refining operations of the former Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear and its private sector predecessors, which operated from the 1930s to 1988.