Update on the Near Surface Disposal Facility Project

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has applied for a licence to construct a Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) at the Chalk River Laboratories site in Deep River, Ontario. The proposed NSDF Project would be located in the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg peoples. The purpose of the NSDF is to permanently dispose of solid low-level radioactive waste in an engineered waste disposal facility designed to contain the waste and isolate it from people and the environment.

CNL’s proposal is subject to both an environmental assessment (EA) and a licensing assessment by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Both assessments were launched in May 2016. CNL’s proposal is subject to rigorous regulatory scrutiny, and it must meet all regulatory requirements for a radioactive waste disposal facility.

Where we are now

On July 5, 2022, following a 2-part public hearing to consider CNL’s application to amend its operating licence to authorize the construction of the proposed NSDF, the Commission issued a procedural direction announcing that it had decided to leave the record open to allow more time for engagement and consultation with Kebaowek First Nation and the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and for the filing of additional information about these consultative efforts.

The Commission invited additional submissions from Kebaowek First Nation, the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, CNL, and CNSC staff in respect of further consultation regarding the NSDF Project. The submissions were to be filed by January 31, 2023. In response to requests from Kebaowek First Nation and the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in December 2022, the Commission agreed to extend the deadline for filing submissions to May 1, 2023.

In the spirit of reconciliation and in recognition of the Indigenous oral tradition for sharing knowledge, the Commission will allow oral final submissions by Indigenous Nations and communities that made oral interventions during Part 2 of the public hearing. The public hearing for final submissions will be held on August 10, 2023. For additional information on the filing of final submissions, read the Notice of Adjournment of Public Hearing for CNL’s proposed NSDF.

Next steps

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