Phases of the PHAI

PHASE 1: 2001 – 2008

Environmental assessments undertaken;
Port Hope Project EA approved

 

Port Hope

Rigorous scientific and engineering studies launched in 2002 showed that the effects of the Port Hope Project on people and the environment can be successfully managed. In March 2007, the Government of Canada accepted the Port Hope Project Environmental Assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The EA concluded that the project would not result in any significant adverse environmental effects, subject to mitigation measures being put in place.

This favourable EA decision cleared the way for the Port Hope Project licence application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). In October 2009, following a public hearing, the CNSC granted Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence, effective until December 2014. Following a CNSC hearing held in fall 2012, the licence was amended to 10 years to take the project through the construction and clean-up phase to completion.

Port Granby

In August 2009, the Government of Canada approved the Port Granby Project Environmental Assessment (EA). In announcing their decision, the Responsible Authorities — Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission – concluded that, subject to mitigation measures being put in place, the Port Granby Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
The EA approval was followed in September 2011 with a CNSC public hearing and the subsequent granting of a 10-year Waste Nuclear Substance Licence to take the project through the construction and clean-up phase to completion.

Environmental Assessment Study Report Executive Summaries:

Environmental Assessment – Port Hope
Environmental Assessment – Port Granby
 

EA Screening Reports Executive Summaries:

Port Hope EA Screening ReportThe Port Hope Project Environmental Assessment Screening Report provides an assessment of the effects of the project by the federal Responsible Authorities – Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This report is available in paper format from the Port Hope Area Initiative Project Information Exchange at 115 Toronto Road in Port Hope or by phoning 905.885.0291 for a mailed copy.

Port Granby EA Screening Report– The Port Granby Project Environmental Assessment Screening Report provides an assessment of the effects of the project by the federal Responsible Authorities – Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. This report is available in paper format from the Port Hope Area Initiative Project Information Exchange at 115 Toronto Road in
Port Hope or by phoning 905.885.0291 for a mailed copy.
 
Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision – Port Hope

 


PHASE 1A: TRANSITION: 2008 – 2012

Detailed design and awarding of contracts

Work in this phase included:

  • Establishment of the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office governance structure
  • Detailed design of long-term waste management facilities for Port Hope and
    Port Granby projects
  • Preparation of schedules and excavation plans for cleanups at Port Hope sites and at Port Granby Waste Management Facility
  • Implementation of the Environmental Assessment Follow-Up Program for each project to reduce and monitor project effects on people and the environment
  • Port Hope Project Trial Resurvey
  • Receipt of necessary approvals to begin Phase 2
  • Port Granby Project Environmental Assessment approved
  • Port Hope Project and Port Granby Project licences granted

 

Detailed designs

The PHAI worked with consultants to develop detailed designs for the projects, including how the cleanups and restoration of excavated lands would be carried out and for the construction of the new waste management facilities and supporting infrastructure.

Schedules and waste excavation management plans

Site-specific and generic waste excavation management plans were developed for the Port Hope Project along with the schedule for cleaning up the 18 large-scale sites – 13 historic low-level radioactive waste and five industrial – and approximately 450 small-scale sites (public, private and commercial/industrial properties in Port Hope). Similar work was completed to plan for the excavation of waste from the existing Port Granby waste management site and its relocation to the new long-term site.

Trial resurvey

The trial resurvey of 35 homes in the Port Hope area tested and evaluated procedures and systems for the comprehensive property radiological survey of approximately 4,800 public, private and commercial/industrial properties in urban Port Hope during Phase 2 of the Port Hope Project.

EA Follow- Up programs

Plans to monitor the effects of the PHAI on the natural and socio-economic environment for the Port Hope and Port Granby projects were developed and measures were, and continue to be, implemented to reduce those effects.

Regulatory approvals

In 2011, CNL, through the PHAI, sought approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for the
Port Granby Project. On Nov. 29, 2011, the CNSC approved the licence application, allowing for the relocation and safe, long-term management of the historic low-level radioactive waste in Port Granby. In awarding the licence, the CNSC indicated that it was satisfied that CNL – as the licensee and the proponent for the PHAI’s Port Granby Project – is qualified to carry out the project in a manner that will protect the environment and the health and safety of workers and the public.

In late 2012, CNL appeared before the CNSC to request an amendment to the licence that was granted in fall 2009 in order to proceed with Phase 2 of the
Port Hope Project. That request was granted, and the licence was amended to
10 years.

To request a copy of the Port Hope or Port Granby licence, please contact the
PHAI at 905.885.0291 or email info@phai.ca.


PHASE 2: 2012 – 2022

Construction of long-term waste management facilities and environmental cleanup of historic low-level radioactive waste

Port Hope

The new long-term waste management facility is located west of Baulch Road and south of Highway 401 at the site of the existing Welcome Waste Management Facility. Construction of the facility’s waste water treatment system began in fall 2012 and was completed in 2015. That was followed by construction of support infrastructure and construction of the engineered aboveground mound designed to isolate the waste between thick, multi-layered base and cover liner systems.

About 450,000 cubic metres of waste will be excavated from the existing Welcome site and placed in the new mound. The cleanup and safe transportation of approximately 750,000 cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste from other sites within urban Port Hope is scheduled to begin in 2018, once the aboveground mound is ready to receive the waste.

In summer 2012, the Port Hope Project began the first phase of the Port Hope Property Radiological Survey to check for the presence of historic low-level radioactive waste at all properties in Ward 1 Port Hope and select properties in
Ward 2. This extensive testing will be done in five campaigns. Ninety per cent of properties are not expected to require cleanup. For the remaining 10 per cent, the removal of historic low-level radioactive waste will begin when the aboveground mound is ready to receive waste.

Storm water and groundwater collection and treatment systems, environmental monitoring, roadway improvements and site restoration work will all be part
of Phase 2.

Port Granby

In Port Granby, approximately 450,000 cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste will be excavated from the existing Port Granby Waste Management Facility on the eroding shoreline of Lake Ontario and transported safely along a dedicated internal road to the new aboveground mound, built on stable till 700 metres north of the existing waste site. An underpass has been built on Lakeshore Road so that no waste travels on public roads.

Other important project components include the construction of the waste water treatment plant – which will remove up to 99 per cent of most contaminants – and roadway improvements, including upgrading Elliott Road, which will allow the transportation of clean construction material to the site with minimal disruption to the community.


PHASE 3: 2022 on

Long-term monitoring and maintenance

Systems will be installed within and around the Port Hope and Port Granby mounds that will monitor the facilities for hundreds of years. Visual inspections and monitoring of the leachate (waste water) will confirm the continued effectiveness of the cover system. Sensors in both the cover and the base liner will monitor performance, and groundwater quality will be monitored through ongoing testing of wells at the base of the mounds and at the perimeter of the sites. Advanced new treatment technologies will be employed to ensure the quality of waste water prior to its release.

March 7, 2017