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County council supports Deep River on NSDF site at Chalk River

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Illustration courtesy Canadian Nuclear Laboratories/Pembroke Daily Observer/Postmedia Network
An artistic depiction of the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility, to be located on the Chalk River Labs property.

Illustration courtesy Canadian Nuclear Laboratories/Pembroke Daily Observer/Postmedia Network An artistic depiction of the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility, to be located on the Chalk River Labs property.

Renfrew County council has lent its support to Deep River as the host of Chalk River's proposed disposal site.

 

On Wednesday, councillors also backed Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) who are submitting a draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) and is asking the regulatory body to extend the 60-day commenting period which expires on May 17. Addressing his colleagues, Deep River Reeve Glenn Doncaster

said the facility is in keeping with CNL's mandate to deal with Canada’s legacy nuclear waste as a result of the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) operations over the past 60 years.

“This waste comes from the years of innovated projects that AECL has been involved with that have benefited all Canadians and the world in one way or another,” he said.

In order for CNL to revitalize and move this site to an updated state-of-the-art facility, the corporation needs to remove all the older structures to make room for the new facilities. This includes having a place to safely put the debris from the more than 100 buildings and structures at the Chalk River site which are to be demolished to make way for new facilities.

Once the one million cubic metre site is completed, the NSDF will have the capacity to hold up to one million cubic metres of low to medium level radioactive material, 90 per cent of it will be mainly demolition waste and contaminated soil generated right on site, legacy waste from 65 years of operation which is stored on site, and waste from future research and operations activities. The rest will come from other AECL properties such as Whiteshell, Douglas Point and Gentilly-1 prototype reactors, and waste from ongoing commitments to health care institutions and universities.

Conducting their due diligence, Doncaster explained that Deep River town council recently hired James Ayres, a certified specialist in environmental law and has extensive experience with the environmental assessment process and environmental projects, and Dr. William Kupferschmidt, an experienced specialist in the area of nuclear waste management, to conduct a peer review of the Environmental Impact Statement submitted by CNL.

“The Town of Deep River is the proud home of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and takes its role as Host Community very seriously,” remarked Doncaster. “As the Host Community, Deep River also recognizes its responsibility and obligation to work with CNL, local and stakeholder residents and neighbouring communities to ensure that the legacy of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories remains a positive one for today, tomorrow and for future generations.”

Meanwhile, CNL will be hosting seven public information sessions to cover the area on both sides of the Ottawa River from Stonecliffe to Pembroke, in which those in charge of designing, building and operating the Near Surface Disposal Facility will be available to answer questions and address concerns about the project. Warden Jennifer Murphy said there is a lot of public discussion about the project and many questions that CNL needs to address.

“We need to sort out the fact from the fiction,” she said.

Laurentian Hills Mayor John Reinwald assured his colleagues that regulators will be very thorough before anything is finally approved.

“It takes a lot to get through the CNSC,” he said. “It takes a lot of hurdles to jump.”

The next public information sessions are on Monday, May 1 at the Petawawa Civic Centre Rotary Room, Tuesday, May 2 at the Municipal Hall in Sheenboro and Wednesday, May 3 at Pembroke Best Western Copeland Room. All session are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

SChase@postmedia.com