Proposed Change to PHAI Cleanup Criteria

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has submitted an application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) requesting a change to the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Cleanup Criteria. Historic low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope area is cleaned up to meet the levels of contaminants set out in the criteria.

Through experience remediating public and private properties in Port Hope since 2018, CNL has determined that the very conservative levels of arsenic and uranium in the PHAI Cleanup Criteria are resulting in more extensive and lengthy cleanups than originally anticipated. In addition, analysis has shown that the current criteria will create significant unintended project impacts, including a noticeable loss of trees in the municipality, unless it is changed.

The decision to assess this situation and formally submit the request to the CNSC came after listening to 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.

Community concern is strong. Over the past two years of residential cleanups, the Port Hope community has expressed strong frustration with the timelines and extent of the cleanups in their neighborhoods. There is also growing concern that the PHAI will result in significant undesirable changes to the urban tree canopy, the preservation of which is important to many citizens.

Unrestricted land use remains the PHAI goal. The proposed changes to the PHAI Cleanup Criteria would continue to leave remediated land in a condition suitable “for all current and foreseeable unrestricted uses.”

Collaboration continues. CNL will continue to work closely with the Municipality of Port Hope to ensure Council and staff are kept informed. Feedback from regulators such as the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation of Parks will be incorporated as CNL follows the CNSC application and review process.

Read the media release


Join the Conversation!

As part of this process, CNL is undertaking a comprehensive public engagement plan to increase community awareness and to collect public feedback on the proposed changes.

Watch for upcoming opportunities to learn more and give your feedback on this topic through:

  • Dedicated website pages
  • Advertising: newspaper, radio
  • Social media campaign – follow us Facebook and Twitter
  • Focus groups
  • Presentations to community groups and the real estate community
  • Indigenous engagement
  • Updates at Municipality of Port Hope Committee of the Whole meetings


Check back here often for more information and details as the process moves forward.