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February 24, 2021

Application to amend the PHAI Cleanup Criteria: Status Update

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has received initial feedback from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and other regulatory agencies on its application to change the values for arsenic and uranium in the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Cleanup Criteria. More information about CNL’s application and on opportunities to provide input can be found here.

The role of the CNSC as the regulator for the PHAI is to assess and make a decision on CNL’s application. The CNSC has been soliciting input from other regulators, including Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, on CNL’s proposal to amend the PHAI Cleanup Criteria.

As part of its application, CNL commissioned studies by leading industry professionals in environmental remediation to determine any potential risk to human health related to the proposed levels for arsenic and uranium. In particular, the studies examined other communities in Canada where community-specific solutions were successfully implemented as an alternative to meeting the generic province-wide criteria for cleaning up arsenic left in soil by industry.

Feedback from regulators on CNL’s application includes a request for additional data that is specific to Port Hope, which CNL is reviewing.

At the time the application was submitted, it was anticipated that a CNSC decision would be made in 2021. CNL has now been made aware that a CNSC hearing will not happen until spring 2022 at the earliest, and will likely be dealt with as part of CNL’s application to renew the CNSC licence for the PHAI Port Hope and Port Granby projects.

CNL will continue to incorporate feedback from regulators as it follows the CNSC application and review process, and to work closely with the Municipality of Port Hope to ensure Council and staff are kept informed. Ongoing public communications by CNL on the application will include addressing questions and recording feedback, providing presentations on request, and sharing information through the PHAI website and social media feeds. Once the CNSC has set a hearing date for the application, CNL and the CNSC will provide the public with information on how to participate in the hearing.

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