Port Hope: Regulatory Action
About the Regulations
Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and associated regulations, various levels of regulatory action can be taken by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
One of these regulatory actions is a request for information from licensees under Section 12(2) of the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations. This section gives the Commission the power to authorize CNSC staff to request information from licensees. This can include a request to conduct tests, to review or modify a design, equipment or procedures, or to install new equipment.
In October 2008, CNSC staff sent two Requests for Information to Cameco asking them to provide the CNSC with a characterization of the current effluent discharge and a review of its effluent treatment and pipeline design for the Welcome Waste and Port Granby Waste Management Facilities. In addition, CNSC called for a detailed evaluation of the level of risk to human health and the environment.
Cameco responded to the CNSC’s requests for information and subsequently replaced a damaged pipe at the Welcome Waste Management Facility, which was releasing treated effluent along the shoreline of Lake Ontario.
CNSC has concluded that the information provided to date by Cameco is adequate and there is no immediate impact on human health and the environment. As ongoing regulatory oversight, the CSNC has requested Cameco to conduct further effluent testing and facility modifications. The CNSC will continue to monitor and follow-up on Cameco’s operations to protect the health, safety and security of the public and environment.
On March 31, 2010, the Welcome Waste Management Facility property was transferred to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and the Nuclear Waste Substance licence issued on October 16, 2009 to AECL for the Port Hope Project came into effect. On the same day, Cameco’s licence for the Welcome Waste Management Facility was revoked. Read more about the CNSC decision to issue a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for the Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Project in Port Hope.
These mitigation measures are short-term solutions to protect the environment, and health and safety of the public. Under the Port Hope Area Initiative, the responsibility to develop and initiate long-term solutions was transferred to AECL in October 2009. Engineered, environmentally sound long-term solutions such as building modern waste management facilities and remediating contaminated sites will be undertaken. Cameco and AECL are working together to ensure current short-term measures undertaken work into future plans for the long-term cleanup of the Port Hope area.
On September 29, 2009, the CNSC was notified that Cameco observed a small amount of pooling north of the location where the directional drilling was occurring as part of their pipeline replacement project. CNSC requested analysis of the water to determine its origin and Cameco is currently awaiting the results of the testing. CNSC is satisfied with the actions Cameco has taken to notify the appropriate authorities and the municipality of Port Hope, and will evaluate any further action required pending the results of the soil and water analysis. CNSC will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the continued health and safety of the public and the environment.
Further to the CNSC’s December 9, 2008 letter to Cameco requesting that they examine options to minimize the likelihood of emergency pond discharge at the Welcome Waste Management Facility, Cameco has advised the CNSC that they are proceeding with the replacement of the Welcome Waste Management Facility discharge pipe from the Brand Road allowance to Lake Ontario, as put forward in their plan on December 19, 2008.
The pipe replacement project, which began on Tuesday September 22, 2009, will be completed by using directional drilling (underground drilling, without use of trenches) for most of the approximately 3 km length of the pipe to minimize disruptions. The Marsh Road crossing, however, will be trenched due to the utilities located in that area. It is expected that at least 100m will be drilled per day.
The CNSC is satisfied that proper authorizations for this remediation work have been obtained by Cameco from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority and the Municipality of Port Hope.
On December 21, 2009 Cameco advised the CNSC that the commissioning of the twin discharge pipeline at Welcome Waste Management Facility was completed and the system was working well.
On April 16, 2010 CNSC advised AECL of the actions required following the 12(2) Request for Information issued to Cameco Corporation for the Welcome Waste Management Facility and required AECL, as the new licensee, to submit an action plan for addressing these actions.
The CNSC will continue to monitor the project to ensure the continued safety of the residents of Port Hope and the surrounding environment.
Read CNSC and AECL correspondence about the Welcome Waste Management Facility.
- September 16, 2010: CNSC Letter to AECL (PDF)
- September 7, 2010: AECL Response to CNSC (PDF)
- July 27, 2010: CNSC Letter to AECL (PDF)
- June 25, 2010: CNSC Letter to AECL(PDF)
- June 18, 2010: AECL Response to CNSC (PDF)
- June 1, 2010: CNSC Letter to AECL
- May 28, 2010: AECL Response to CNSC (PDF)
- April 16, 2010: CNSC Letter to AECL (PDF)
Read CNSC and Cameco correspondence about the Welcome and Port Granby Waste Management Facilities.
- March 26, 2010: Letter received by CNSC (PDF)
- March 4, 2010: CNSC letter to Cameco (PDF)
- January 15, 2009: Response from CNSC (PDF)
- November 14, 2008: Letter received by CNSC (PDF)
- October 17, 2008: CNSC Request for Information letter to Cameco (PDF)
- June 16, 2010: CNSC letter to Cameco (PDF)
- May 27, 2010:Port Granby Waste Management Facility Letter received by CNSC (PDF)
- March 26, 2010: Letter received by CNSCfrom Cameco (PDF)
- March 4, 2010:Port Granby Waste Management Facility CNSC letter to Cameco (PDF)
- January 15, 2009:Port Granby Waste Management Facility Response from CNSC (PDF)
- January 6, 2009: Letter received by CNSC (PDF)
- December 19, 2008: Response from CNSC (PDF)
- November 28, 2008: Letter received by CNSC (PDF)
- October 17, 2008:Port Granby Waste Management Facility CNSC Request for Information letter to Cameco (PDF)