Nature of the Waste - Port Granby Project

Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Site

PGP_existing-siteThe Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Site is a 17-hectare site located on the northern shoreline of Lake Ontario in the southeast corner of the Municipality of Clarington. Historic low-level radioactive waste was deposited at the site between 1955 and 1988 by the former Crown Corporation, Eldorado Nuclear Limited, which operated in Port Hope.

The Port Granby Project will relocate approximately 450,000 cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste and marginally contaminated soil to an engineered aboveground mound at the Port Granby Long-Term Waste Management Facility constructed 700 metres northwest of the current site.

The waste was buried throughout the site, in the East and West Gorges, and in 76 trenches located in the flatter areas above the East Gorge and in the Central Plateau. Because Eldorado’s uranium refining processes at the Port Hope plant site changed over time, the Port Granby site received a variety of chemical wastes, industrial refuse and contaminated soils during its 33 years of operation. Native subsoils underlying the site are also known to be contaminated as a result of leaching and groundwater movement.


Description of the Waste

Neutralized RaffinateNeutralized raffinate

By-product from refining of uranium ores and concentrates

  • Originally dumped in East Gorge then buried in 47 trenches between 1955 and 1979
  • Bright orange, soft, sticky radioactive sludge, moderately acidic (pH value of 3-4)
  • Contains radium-226, calcium sulphate, calcium hydroxide and various salts

Calcium fluorideCalcium fluoride

Waste from uranium hexafluoride production

  • Buried in 59 trenches between 1970 and 1988
  • White, sticky sludge, extremely caustic (pH value of 13-14)
  • Contains arsenic, calcium hydroxide, potassium fluoride and potassium hydroxide

Industrial refuseIndustrial refuse

Garbage and industrial scrap generated at Eldorado’s processing facilities

  • Buried in 65 trenches and above West Gorge between 1955 and 1988
  • Glass bottles and jars, filters, lumber, rags, paint cans, bricks, pumps, concrete, plastic sheeting, crushed scrap drums, insulation, maintenance shop wastes, incinerator ash, scrap equipment, piping and wiring

Mixed chemical waste

Small volumes of miscellaneous waste buried at site from 1960 to 1976

  • Silver residues
  • Radium wastes
  • Cobalt residues
  • Beryllium/aluminum wastes
  • Zirconium residues
  • Ammonium nitrate liquid
  • Magnesium fluoride residue

 

The Port Granby Waste Management Facility and the Port Granby Project are regulated through a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence issued to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Under this licence, strict site safety, security, radiation protection, environmental protection, as well as occupational health and safety protocols are in place to minimize risks to the public, workers and the environment. Learn more about our safety programs.