With excavation of the first cell in the engineered aboveground storage mound complete and installation of the highly engineered base liner now underway, the Port Hope Project remains on track to start cleaning up the historic low-level radioactive waste in the Municipality of Port Hope in 2018.
The site of the long-term waste management facility in Port Hope has been the centre of significant construction activity since last spring, when the general contractor, ECC/Quantum Murray LP, finished site preparation work and began bringing in more equipment, materials and construction crews to build Cell 1. In addition to the excavation work, perimeter berms around the facility have been built. Currently, the high-quality clay that lines the cell is being installed and compacted, and truckloads of other specially designed materials for the mound’s base liner system are being delivered and stockpiled on the site so that work can begin quickly after any shutdown required to maintain the integrity of the liner in winter.
The clay liner is critical to the mound’s performance, as it works with other components to encase the waste within the mound and prevent contaminated water from entering the environment. Compaction of the clay will be followed by installation of additional manufactured layers and a leachate collection system to pump contaminated water out of the mound for treatment at the recently built waste water treatment plant on site.
The first of four cells in the engineered aboveground mound, Cell 1 will also provide long-term storage for approximately 450,000 cubic metres of waste currently located at the site. The contract to build the remaining cells is expected to be awarded early next year.
While construction is underway, the contractor must adhere to stringent health and safety plans, as required by the PHAI under the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission licence for the Port Hope Project. Contractor requirements for the protection of the public, workers and the environment include radiation protection, dust management, occupational health and safety, and traffic management.