Update on the status of the environmental assessment process for the Near Surface Disposal Facility Project

January 9, 2020 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has submitted a revised draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), which includes an updated EIS, updated technical supporting documents, and responses to all federal and provincial comments and information requests. A technical review of this EIS is currently underway by the federal–provincial review team to ensure that CNL has responded to all of the information requests and comments. Once the technical review is complete, CNL must respond to any additional federal and/or provincial comments, then submit a final EIS. Once CNSC staff consider the EIS to be final, an environmental assessment report under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) will be drafted and made available for review by Indigenous peoples and the public prior to the public Commission hearing.

The CNL–CNSC Administrative Protocol for the Proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility and Appendix A have also been updated to reflect the revised timelines associated with the environmental assessment process and to indicate that the hearing for the proposed NSDF will be held in two parts.

Lastly, on August 28, 2019, Canada's new Impact Assessment Act (IAA) came into force. Under the transitional provision set out at section 182 of the IAA, given that the proposed NSDF project commenced under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and a decision statement has not yet been issued, the project will continue under the process set out in the CEAA, 2012. The letter sent to CNL regarding the changes to federal legislation can be found here.

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