Nuclear Power Demonstration
The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) came into force August 28, 2019. Ongoing projects with environmental assessments initiated under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and led by the CNSC, will continue under their current processes. The IAA contains provisions to enable these projects to advance in this way.
The Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor operated from 1962 until 1987. It was Canada’s first nuclear power reactor to supply electricity to Ontario Hydro’s grid, and it served as a training facility for reactor engineers and operators. In 1988, following permanent shutdown of the reactor, and removal of the fuel and power generating equipment from the site, Ontario Hydro transferred the responsibility for monitoring and licensing NPD to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). The partially decommissioned site is now overseen by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and is licensed as a waste facility.
- Facility information
- Latest facility-specific updates
- Disclosure protocol
- Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project
Location: The facility is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River, in Renfrew County, Ontario, near the town of Rolphton, and approximately 25 km upstream from the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL).
Licensee: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd. (CNL)
Status: Decommissioning phase: Storage-with-surveillance activities
Licence last issued: October 22, 2014
Licence expires: December 31, 2034
Focus on safety and the environment
The CNSC is committed to protecting the safety of people and the environment. Click below for current environmental and safety performance data for the NPD site
Latest facility-specific updates
- April 18, 2023: Update on the Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project
- February 22, 2022: Update on the Nuclear Power Demonstration closure project
- September 1, 2021: Summer update on NPD project
- March 23, 2021: Spring 2021 update on the Nuclear Power Demonstration closure project
- October 10, 2019: CNSC releases 2018 Independent Environmental Monitoring Program results for Nuclear Power Demonstration Waste Facility
- March 8, 2017: Record of Decision on the Scope of Environmental Assessments for Three Proposed Projects at Existing Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' Facilities
- October 22, 2014: The CNSC approves an application to replace the AECL prototype waste management facility licences (including NPD)
As part of the CNSC's regulatory requirements, major licensees must have robust public information and disclosure programs in place. View CNL’s public information program on their In the Community page.
Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project
About the project
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is proposing to decommission the Nuclear Power Demonstration Waste Facility, a former nuclear generating station that operated until 1987. The structures that currently remain onsite include the main reactor building, a diesel generator, a ventilation stack, a pressure relief duct, a guardhouse, foundations from previously removed structures, two landfills, buried utilities and drainage systems, and temporary structures such as sea containers and portable washrooms.
CNL is proposing an in situ (leaving in place) decommissioning approach. The following activities are proposed:
- assembly and operation of a grout batch mixing plant
- grouting of below-grade (underground) structures
- removal of above-grade structures for use as backfill
- installation of concrete cap and engineered barrier over the grouted area
- final site restoration
- preparation for long-term care and maintenance activities
Read the latest information related to the NPD project (source: CNL.ca)
This proposal requires authorization by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). CNL must apply to the Commission to amend their current decommissioning licence and undergo a review pursuant to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA). The CNSC has also determined that the project requires a federal environmental assessment (EA) pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
About the environmental assessment
An EA under CEAA 2012 is a planning and decision-making tool. Its objectives are to minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects before they occur, and incorporate environmental factors into decision making. An EA decision affirming that the proposed activities will not cause significant adverse environmental effects is also required before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal.
As part of the EA, CNL is also required to provide details on the alternative means that were assessed for carrying out the proposed project. It should be noted that the CNSC does not prescribe methods for waste disposal. However, it is mandated to ensure that the method chosen by the licensee or applicant does not pose a risk to the public or the environment.On March 8, 2017, the Commission issued a decision on the extent of information to be included in the EA. The decision took into account the public comments received related to the project description, as well as CNSC staff recommendations. The Commission determined that the proposed project must include the factors mandated in paragraphs 19(1)(a) to (h) of CEAA 2012, with no additional factors requiring consideration.
About the CNSC’s review of the proposed project
CNSC staff undertook a review of CNL’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and conducted a licensing review pursuant to the NSCA and its associated regulations. As the responsible authority, and working with other federal departments, CNSC staff have identified a number of areas where additional information will need to be included in the final EIS and other technical supporting documentation. Complete licensing and EIS submissions are required before CNSC staff can complete their assessment and proceed to public hearings. There are currently no timeframes associated with the submission of CNL’s revised documentation.
About public participation
Following receipt of a complete licensing submission and final EIS, CNSC staff’s assessment of the licence amendment and the EA report, by way of a Commission member document, will be available to the public and Indigenous groups at least 60 days prior to the Commission’s public hearing, the date of which has not been set. The public will be offered the opportunity to submit written and/or oral interventions.
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