Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has prepared a report summarizing public feedback on its application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to amend the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Cleanup Criteria.
Recognizing that stakeholder engagement is a key element of the process, CNL launched a public engagement campaign in the fall of 2020 to support its application. The PHAI Cleanup Criteria sets the levels to which historic low-level radioactive waste is cleaned up in the Municipality of Port Hope.
The request for a change to the criteria was submitted to address the consistent feedback from property owners and residents who have experienced PHAI cleanups at their properties, as well as more general public concerns about the predicted impact of the PHAI on the natural environment.
CNL undertook more than 50 engagement activities during the campaign – including a public information session, public discussion group and focus groups – to inform, educate and discuss the amendment application with stakeholders and Indigenous groups, and to encourage public input.
The majority of concerns expressed to CNL by Port Hope property owners were about the length of time it takes to complete PHAI remediation work at their properties, and the resulting impacts on property features. CNL’s proposal to amend the cleanup criteria to mitigate these concerns was generally met with a favourable response from property owners most affected by PHAI work.
Stakeholders and members of the public also had general questions and comments about the PHAI, most frequently expressing concern about the Port Hope landscape if the criteria does not change, particularly the number of trees that must be removed to meet the current criteria. Other stakeholders raised questions about how the proposed change may impact property values. Indigenous community concerns generally focused on long-term health and environmental considerations.
CNL will continue to address questions and concerns, as well as record feedback on the proposal, while following the CNSC application and review process.
Ongoing public communication on the amendment application will include presentations on request, updates to the website, and social media posts. Once the CNSC has set a hearing date for the application, CNL will share information on how to participate in that process.
CNL will make the stakeholder engagement report available to the public following the CNSC review.
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