The Port Granby Project is a federal government project for the safe, long-term management of historic low-level radioactive waste situated in southeast Clarington. The Port Granby Project began in 2001, as part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI), through a legal agreement signed by the municipalities of Clarington and Port Hope and the Government of Canada. The Port Granby Project will relocate approximately 450,000 cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste and marginally contaminated soils, located at an existing waste management facility on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, to a new, engineered aboveground mound to be built about a kilometre north of the current site. In fall 2011, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) granted a licence for the Port Granby Project to proceed. The licence decision also enabled the Government of Canada to assume responsibility for the existing site and ownership of 275 hectares (680 acres) from Cameco Corporation, of which 95 hectares (235 acres) is required for the new waste management facility. This was followed, in January 2012, by a commitment of $1.28 billion from the Government of Canada for the PHAI, which included funding of $273 million over 10 years for the Port Granby Project. The PHAI Management Office (PHAI MO), which includes Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (lead agency/ licence holder), Public Works and Government Services Canada (major contracts) and Natural Resources Canada (sponsor/ funder), is undertaking the Port Granby Project.
The waste originated from the former Eldorado Limited operation in Port Hope and was deposited at the Port Granby Waste Management Facility site between 1955 and 1988. The facility was closed in 1988, when maintenance and monitoring became the responsibility of Cameco Corporation, under a licence from the CNSC. Although Cameco made many environmental improvements, the instability of this site makes it unsuitable for long-term waste storage, which must be designed for safety for hundreds of years. The site is situated along 400 metres of receding shoreline, 30-metre high eroding bluffs and porous sandy soils.
The project includes construction of an engineered aboveground mound to isolate the waste from the environment using a multi-layered baseliner and cover system. Monitoring systems will be installed within the mound and around the perimeter of the long-term waste management facility site. Low-level radioactive waste and contaminated soils will be excavated from the existing site and transported safely to the new facility via a dedicated internal road. An underpass will be built under Lakeshore Road so that no waste travels on public roadways.
Other important project components include the construction of a waste water treatment plant (scheduled for completion in 2014) – which will meet or exceed stringent CNSC requirements for effluent discharge into Lake Ontario – and roadway improvements, including upgrading of Elliott Road (completed in 2012), to permit clean construction material to travel to the long-term waste management facility site with minimal disruption to the community. Through community involvement, a naturalized landscape end-use design was developed for both the long-term waste management facility and the restored, existing facility. Construction of the engineered aboveground mound, remediation of the existing waste site with transportation and emplacement of the waste in the new facility are expected to take from five to six years.
Click here to download the Port Granby Project fact sheet