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Near Surface Disposal Facility Project

The Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) is a proposed engineered disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste planned for the Chalk River Laboratories site (CRL). All waste to be disposed at the NSDF will be required to meet the waste acceptance criteria established to assure compliance with operational and long-term safety requirements.

The Near Surface Disposal Facility is planned to have an operating life of at least 50 years and as proposed, would be an engineered mound built at near-surface level on the CRL site. The engineered mound would be cellular, made up of multiple disposal cells consisting of:

  • base liner and final cover systems
  • leachate collection and leak detection systems
  • environmental monitoring systems

The proposed project would also include:

  • a wastewater treatment plant
  • supporting infrastructure, such as a truck wheel wash, vehicle monitoring and weighing stations, work stations and change facilities, security systems to monitor access and egress, construction trailers, and marine containers or tents for storage of construction materials

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, CNL's proposal requires approval by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and involves an amendment to the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) Nuclear Research and Test Establishment Operating Licence. An environmental assessment (EA) conducted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 is required, and an EA decision affirming that the proposed activities will not cause significant adverse environmental effects, before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal.


Disclaimer

This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.

 

Latest update

January 26, 2021 On January 26, 2021, the Federal Provincial Review Team (FPRT) completed their review of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) submission, on the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

 

Overall, the FPRT found that CNL has adequately revised the final EIS in response to the majority of the FPRT’s information requests. However, CNSC staff found that there is still outstanding information that is required to satisfy requirements for Indigenous engagement. Due to this information gap, CNSC staff to cannot draw conclusions nor proceed with drafting the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 environmental assessment report (EA Report). Therefore, CNSC staff have deemed that the information provided in CNL’s submission is not complete, and as such, the final EIS cannot be deemed acceptable.

 

Upon resubmission of a final EIS, CNSC staff will perform a subsequent review. Should the final EIS submission be deemed complete and acceptable at that time, CNSC staff will then notify CNL of the results of the review and proceed with the preparation of an EA Report, which will be made available for review by Indigenous groups and the public prior to a public Commission hearing. 

 

December 4, 2020 - On December 4, 2020, CNSC staff received CNL’s submission of a final EIS, including federal and provincial comment tables and public and Indigenous comment tables. A 35-day review of the final EIS package is now underway by the federal and provincial review team to confirm that all information requests and comments on the draft EIS have been addressed.

 

Once the federal and provincial review team have completed their review and CNSC staff deem the final EIS as acceptable, the final EIS and comment tables will be posted on this webpage as well as on the CNSC web page.  CNSC staff will then complete drafting the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 environmental assessment report which will be made available for review by Indigenous groups and the public prior to a public Commission hearing. Indigenous groups and members of the public are encouraged to review these documents and to submit their comments in the form of an intervention (either orally or in writing).  All interventions will be taken into consideration by the Commission prior to the Commission making environmental assessment and licensing decisions on the proposed project.

 

CNSC will be holding additional public webinars in the upcoming months where CNSC staff will continue provide updates on the project and will be available to answer your questions on the project review to date.

 

November 20, 2020 - The Federal and Provincial Review team (FPRT) have completed their review of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) responses to the 37 outstanding information requests that resulted from the technical review of CNL’s revised draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF).  In October 2020, the FPRT determined that CNL has sufficiently responded to all of the information requests.   CNSC is anticipating the submission of CNL’s final EIS in early December 2020.

 

Once the CNSC reviews CNL’s final EIS and considers it to be complete, an environmental assessment report under CEAA 2012 will be drafted and made available for review by Indigenous groups and the public prior to a public Commission hearing.

 

CNSC will be holding public webinars in the upcoming months where CNSC staff will provide an update on the project and will be available to answer your questions on the project review to date.

 

April 9, 2020 - The Federal and Provincial Review Team (FPRT) has completed their technical review of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' (CNL) revised draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility, including updated supporting documents, and responses to all federal and provincial comments and information requests (IRs) (step 26 in Appendix A of the CNL–CNSC Administrative Protocol for the Proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility), available here.

 

Led by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the federal and provincial authorities that participated in the technical review included Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and the Quebec Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changement climatiques. The FPRT technical review resulted in 37 IRs in total, several of these follow-up comments on existing IRs as well as several new IRs resulting from the review of new information. The CNSC submitted the consolidated table of federal and provincial comments from the FPRT technical review to CNL on April 3, 2020. CNL must now respond to these additional federal and provincial comments. The CNSC, in collaboration with the FPRT, will then make a determination on whether the information provided in CNL's submissions is complete.

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Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
272 NSDF Final EIS FPRT Review Results PDF (620 KB) January 26, 2021

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External Links

Please note that access to external websites is provided solely as a courtesy. Users should be aware that the information offered by non‑Government of Canada websites that are not subject to the Official Languages Act might be available in only one language.

Contacts

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Nicole Frigault, Environmental Assessment Officer
280 Slater Street
P.O. Box 1046, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5S9
Telephone: 613-995-7948 or 1-800-668-5284
Fax: 613-995-5086
Email: cnsc.ea-ee.ccsn@canada.ca


  • Location

    • Deep River (Ontario)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Nuclear Energy
    • Waste Management
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

    2016-05-05
  • Proponent

    Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
  • Authorities

    • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Assessment Type

    Environmental assessment under CEAA 2012
  • Reference Number

    80122

Nearby assessments

..within 200 kilometres
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