Chalk River radioactive waste disposal facility

At our May 2017 monthly meeting, Ole Hendrickson, on behalf of Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, presented slides on Radioactive Wastes at Chalk River Laboratories.

The deadline for comments was originally set for August 3, but the French version of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was not available until later, so the deadline is now August 16.  Here is the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission‘s press release of June 16.   The Executive Summary of the EIS is here.  The actual documents (report – 95 MB; appendices – 56 MB) are available from here.  Comments must go to Nicole Frigault, Environmental Assessment Specialist, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Telephone: 613-995-7948 or 1-800-668-5284, email

On August 3, the Green Party of Quebec held an information session at the Hotel V, 585 boul. de la Gappe, Gatineau.  Speakers were Drs. Ole Hendrickson and Gordon Edwards, President of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.  Here is the live stream video of the meeting (2h49m).

Ottawa Riverkeeper expressed concerns about this project (March 17, 2017).   ORK’s submission concludes that “the proposed site is not favourable”; that “the proposed technology is inadequate”; that “Dilution is not going to adequately reduce the risks associated with many of the waste products in the effluent”; that “The draft EIS is deficient when it comes to providing details for the required multi-faceted monitoring plan”; and that “the proponent has a mandate to find a quick solution for nuclear waste disposal at Chalk River Nuclear Facilities” is of concern.  Appendices provide two expert reviews, by Wilf Ruland (P.Geo.; 32 pp.) and Ole Hendrickson (Ph.D., Ecology; 24 pp.)

Ottawa Public Health sent in comments, as did the City’s Planning and Public Works Departments.  Ole Hendrickson immediately sent a sharp rebuttal, demanding that “you retract your ill-informed comments, and that you consult interested Ottawa residents prior to making any revised submission on this matter.”

The Greenspace Alliance’s letter finds the assessment of risks inadequate, the location too close to the Ottawa River, the technology “little more than a standard landfill” and expresses being dumbfounded at the speed at which the project is proposed to be completed.

Some other submissions:

Ottawa Riverkeeper (66 pp., 1.6 MB)

Lynn Jones (Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area)

Township of Deep River (58 pp., 1.4 MB)

Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility


See also

Council of Canadians, Local groups oppose plan for nuclear waste site on Ottawa River, March 13, 2017


UPDATE — August 31, 2017

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission today released its comments on CNL’s draft Environmental Impact Statement.  The CNSC’s media release.  Among the documents released is a 46-page table consolidating the comments from all federal agencies.  Access to the other 239 comments received is here.

UPDATE — September 19, 2017

Greenspace Alliance members joined in the Ottawa Riverkeeper  parade Sunday September 10 and took the opportunity to raise awareness of the near-surface nuclear waste disposal site being planned in Chalk River, just 100 km upstream from Ottawa. More people in Ottawa need to become aware of this project, which is being pushed for quick completion over the next three years.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will soon be holding open houses up river on the recently completed Environmental Impacy Study in Sheenboro, QC (Oct 2) , Pembroke, ON (Oct 3) and Deep River, ON (Oct 4), but no open houses are currently planned for Ottawa. We urge them to hold some open houses in our area as well.

UPDATE — September 21, 2017

The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility  today issued a press release  and an open letter to the Prime Minister calling upon the federal government to suspend the work at Chalk River, and two other sites, and to turn its attention to developing a federal policy on the disposal of nuclear waste other than spent fuel, which is the type of nuclear waste found at Chalk River. The Greenspace Alliance is a co-signatory to the letter, along with 35 other prominent Canadians, leaders of non-profit organizations and First Nations.

UPDATE – November 3, 2017

Today the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission issued a Public Notice informing us that the proponent (Canadian Nuclear Laboratories) has amended its application by now proposing to include only low-level radio-active waste in its proposed facility, i.e. to the exclusion of intermediate-level nuclear waste.

Other reviews are continuing, including a review under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act which allows for review of health & safety and environmental concerns.

Ottawa Riverkeeper’s response is here.  It believes the location near the Ottawa River remains problematic.

UPDATE – November 23, 2017

Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area and Old Fort William (Quebec) Cottagers’ Association sent an open letter to the Prime Minister and three Ministers, decrying a proposal by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to relax regulatory oversight of Chalk River Laboratories.  Go here for more details.

The parliamentary e-petition 1220 has gathered 2,179 names so far.  It remains open till December 9.

UPDATE – February 3, 2018 — take action before May 11!

Petition E-1220 closed on December 9 with 3,148 signatures.

On January 11, 2018 another petition became available, Petition E-1450, initiated by Ole Hendrickson and sponsored by Elisabeth May. It asks to:

1) Enact strict regulations to keep radioactive waste out of the biosphere;
2) Build state of the art facilities for its own radioactive waste;
3) Reform the nuclear governance system to ensure that radioactive waste is managed according to best international practices and standards; and
4) Take profit out of radioactive waste management.

Petition E-1450 is open for signature until May 11.


Media coverage

Joel Redekop, Ottawa Life Magazine, Radioactive Waste Dump on Ottawa River has Citizens Furious, March 14, 2017

Stephen Uhler, [Pembroke] Daily Observer, Opposed to CNL waste site, March 21, 2017

Derek Dunn, Arnprior Chronicle-Guide, Arnprior to hold meeting on nuclear waste facility upriver, March 28, 2017

Laurent Robillard-Cardinal & Allyson Beauregard, Bulletin d’Aylmer, Proposed nuclear disposal facility generating concern, n.d.  Also in the Pontiac Journal du Pontiac, March 29, 2017

Canadian Press/Hamilton Spectator, Underground radioactive waste eyed for Chalk River, April 1, 2017

Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, Lab wants nuclear dump in Chalk River, April 7, 2017, pA6

CBC News, Ottawa Morning, Proposed radioactive waste disposal site in Chalk River raises concerns, April 20, 2017

Sean Chase, The Daily Observer, [Renfrew] County Council supports Deep River on NSDF site at Chalk River, April 27, 2017

Mylene Crete, Canadian Press, [BQ Leader Martine] Ouellet, environmentalists wary of proposed nuclear disposal plan, August 12, 2017

Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, Riverkeeper opposes Chalk River waste storage site, August 18, 2017

Shawn McCarthy, Globe & Mail, Ontario town [Deep River] rejects nuclear-waste plan, August 23, 2017. Deep River’s extensive submission is here.

Related: John Michael McGrath, TVO Ontario Hub, ‘That’s how reconciliation works’: Why Ottawa pressed pause on Ontario’s nuclear waste dump, September 6, 2017. (Federal Minister McKenna intervenes in the proposal for a waste facility at Bruce Peninsula power plant.)


Sign the parliamentary e-petition 1220 before December 9:

(The sponsors advise to use Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer as there seem to be glitches with Firefox.)

The petition is spearheaded by Deedee Sanderson, and the Old Fort William Cottagers’ Association and Raliement Contre la Polution Radioactive have co-signed the petition.  David McGuinty MP for Ottawa South is the sponsor.


Take action, before August 16:

Write to:
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and

The Hon. Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources –
The Hon. Dr. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health –
The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change –
The Hon. Thomas Mulcair, Parliamentary Critic – Energy –
The Hon. Linda Francis Duncan, Parliamentary Critic – Environment –
The Hon. Ed Fast, Parliamentary Critic – Environment –
The Hon. Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Critic – Health –
The Hon. Don Davies, Parliamentary Critic – Health –