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Minister of Natural Resources Canada's Response to Environmental Petition 411: Policies and strategies for managing non-fuel radioactive waste, submitted by Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area and Canadian Environmental Law Association

On September 21st, 2017, the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area and the Canadian Environmental Law Association submitted an Environmental Petition to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada. This petition  outlined the signatories' concerns with Canada's policies and strategies for managing and disposing of the non-fuel radioactive waste generated during the operation of nuclear reactors. The petition suggested:

·       Canada's policies and strategies for managing and disposing of non-fuel radioactive waste are not adequate.

  • Canada is not meeting its international obligations to manage radioactive waste safely in accordance with the international Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, to which Canada is a party.
  • Natural Resources Canada's 1996 Radioactive Waste Policy Framework does not comply with International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines.
  • The Nuclear Safety and Control Act does not refer to radioactive waste management.

The petition sought responses and explanations from Natural Resources Canada on current non-fuel radioactive waste policies and strategies, including: (1) a clarification of current government policy; (2) a classification system for radioactive waste consistent with International Atomic Energy Agency guidance; (3) direction given to licensees on appropriate facilities for various classes of radioactive waste; (4) measures to ensure radioactive waste will remain isolated from the environment for the duration of its radioactive hazard; (5) regulations for radioactive waste management; and (6) how the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's ensure licensees mitigate risks of radioactive waste to health, safety, and the environment.  

The petition also sought responses from Health Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Natural Resources Canada on the development of new non-fuel radioactive waste policies and strategies in accordance with international best practices and International Atomic Energy Agency guidance.

For Petition Responses:

Please refer to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website to obtain more information on this petition, including replies from the Federal Departments (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada).

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