Spring 2021 update on the Nuclear Power Demonstration closure project

As work continues on both the environmental and licensing assessments for the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL’s) proposed closure of the Nuclear Power Demonstration Waste Facility (NPD) in Rolphton, Ontario, we will provide regular updates on the project.

CNL’s NPD reactor facility, Canada’s first nuclear power generating station, operated from 1962 until 1987. The site has been safely shut down and is now partially decommissioned. CNL proposes to demolish the remaining above-ground structures at the facility, except for the ventilation stack, which is home to a significant population of chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), a species of bird designated as threatened under the Species at Risk Act.

Where are we now?

This project is currently in the environmental assessment (EA) and licensing technical review stage.

An EA is designed to minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects before they occur, and incorporate environmental factors into the decision-making process. Under the EA process, CNL is required to submit an environmental impact statement (EIS) document, which provides an analysis of the potential environmental effects of the project and measures to mitigate those impacts. CNL submitted an initial draft EIS in November 2017, and a federal-provincial technical review began. CNL is currently revising the EIS to address comments received during the review and anticipates submitting a revised EIS to the CNSC in 2021. Once CNL submits a new draft EIS, CNSC staff will conduct another 30-day review to determine if it is acceptable.

At the same time, CNSC staff are continuing their detailed scientific assessment of CNL’s licence amendment documentation. CNSC staff are reviewing CNL’s responses to CNSC comments on licensing documentation and performing final assessments of the NPD safety case. A safety case is documentation required from the proponent to demonstrate how they will maintain safety throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Next steps

Once CNSC staff are satisfied that the information submitted by CNL is complete and meets the requirements of both the EA and the licence amendment, they will prepare an environmental assessment report and the licensing documentation for the public Commission hearings. These documents will summarize CNSC staff’s technical assessments, findings and recommendations to the Commission to inform Commission decisions on the EA and licensing.

Participation by Indigenous groups and members of the public is an important part of the Commission’s hearing process. The Commission will provide details on how to get involved once public hearing dates are scheduled.

Outreach

CNSC staff held a public webinar in December 2020 to provide an update on the project and answer questions about their assessments. A series of additional webinars about the NPD and related projects will begin on March 24, 2021.

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