May 1, 2006

Nuclear Safety Commission renders decisions on new project proposals

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has determined that AECL's proposal to construct and operate a liquid waste storage facility, is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, provided mitigation measures set out in a screening environmental assessment (EA) of the project are implemented. The proposal involves the transfer and conditioning of liquid radioactive waste, currently stored in tanks at several locations on the Chalk River Laboratories site, to a new liquid waste storage facility at the site.

The Commission based its decision on its examination of the screening EA, prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and has also decided not to refer the project to the federal Environment Minister for referral to a review panel or mediator.

Accordingly, the Commission will now consider, under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, a licence application from AECL for the proposed project.

The CNSC has also approved guidelines for EAs of two proposed projects. The first is a proposal by Mississauga Metals and Alloys (MM&A) to install and operate a radioactive waste incinerator at its existing facility in Brampton, Ontario. The proposal also includes the continued operation of the materials recycling facility at the same location.

The second project is Rio Algom's proposal to replace the existing water treatment plant at the decommissioned Stanleigh mine located near Elliot Lake, Ontario.

These EAs are required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and, in accordance with the approved EA guidelines, CNSC staff will prepare an EA screening report for each project, to be considered by the Commission.

The Commission has decided that it will hold a public hearing to consider the MM&A report, with the date, time and location to be announced. It does not feel, however, that a public hearing will be required for its consideration of the Rio Algom project screening report.

Neither project will, at this time, be referred to the federal Environment Minister for referral to a mediator or review panel.

More information is available from Pascale Bourassa, CNSC secretariat, 613/947-0247, Web site www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca.

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