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CNA presents at public hearing into Near Surface Disposal Facility 

June 10, 2022

Last week the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission held a public hearing into the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposal for a Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF). This facility, once operational, will serve as safe, long-term storage for low-level radioactive waste near Chalk River Laboratories. 

The CNA participated in day 2 of the hearing, during a session on the “Long Term Safety Case”. Several interventions from the public focused on perceived safety issues and how the waste might affect their future. 

In his intervention, CNA President and CEO John Gorman addressed these fears, emphasising the Canadian nuclear industry’s track record on safety and regulation regarding waste. “Canada’s nuclear industry takes its responsibility to safely manage, store and permanently dispose of those by-products very seriously,” said Mr Gorman. “In fact, we are the only energy source that not only tracks all our by-products but has a segregated fund dedicated to pay for decommissioning, storage, and disposal of those by-products.” 

Mr. Gorman also made the argument to the CNSC that, “it is in the best interests of the environment that the NSDF proceed.” He went on to explain that delaying or stopping the project, as some intervenors suggested. would in fact put the Ottawa River at greater risk.

Chalk River Laboratories’ low-level radioactive waste is currently housed in temporary storage. A more permanent solution is important for the continued protection of CNL workers, nearby residents, and the environment.

The NSDF has been under review since 2017 under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The CNSC has already approved the project’s environmental assessment and licencing application documents. 

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