AECL Seeks Approval For Chalk River Plan Mississauga
May 20, 2005 - At a public hearing today of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) presented information related to its long-term waste management and decommissioning plan for Chalk River Laboratories (CRL), located in Ontario.
The information included a Comprehensive Preliminary Decommissioning Plan (CPDP) and a public consultation framework. The CNSC requires that decommissioning plans be prepared by nuclear site license holders. AECL's Chalk River site is unique in that decommissioning of obsolete facilities and old waste management areas is occurring following sixty years of world-class nuclear research in Canada, in the midst of site refurbishment for decades of future operations.
"Internationally there is a move to start decommissioning practices sooner in order to manage nuclear legacy waste issues in a timely manner," stated Dr. Paul Fehrenbach, AECL's Vice President of Nuclear Laboratories. "This is a responsible management practice and clearly represents a sustainable solution to managing legacy issues, most of which date back to the 1940s and 1950s."
The CPDP represents the culmination of a major initiative undertaken by AECL in 2003 with other government departments. The goal was to develop a conceptual technical strategy for managing nuclear legacy wastes on AECL sites that would:
* Be consistent with modern international standards and practices
* Ensure the ongoing health, safety and security of the public and employees, while protecting the environment; and
* Address regulatory requirements and expectations.
Dr. Fehrenbach added, "We are very pleased with the progress that has been made to meet CNSC requirements. We now have a plan that meets not only our own stringent requirements and high expectations, but also those of our shareholder, the Government of Canada."
The public will be consulted extensively on the long-term waste management and decommissioning plan, assuming it is approved by the CNSC. Both the CPDP and the public communications and consultation plan can be found at www.aecl.ca.
Over the last 5 years, the Government of Canada and AECL have invested well over $150 million on decommissioning initiatives at the Chalk River site, including state-of-the-art storage facilities for wastes. These projects have all been the subject of public consultation programs, and have been well received by the local public.