Public Works and Government Services Canada

Public Works and Government Services Canada

March 01, 2010 10:00 ET

The Government of Canada Commits to Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Containment Facility in Port Hope

PORT HOPE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 1, 2010) - On behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, Rick Norlock, Member of Parliament for Northumberland—Quinte West, today announced an agreement valued at more than $20 million for the detailed design of a long-term management facility to contain historic low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope, Ontario. The contract was awarded to the joint venture of MMM Group Limited/Conestoga-Rovers and Associates Limited of Thornhill, Ontario.

"Our goal is the cleanup and safe long-term management of historic low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope area. This is an important step forward in our commitment to the people in the Port Hope community," said MP Norlock. "By working collaboratively with Natural Resources Canada, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the community, we are moving ahead with the procurement phase in a fair and transparent manner."

"The announcement of this contract is good news for Port Hope," said Mayor Linda Thompson. "The awarding of this contract brings us one step closer to the environmental cleanup we have anticipated for so long."

"We are very proud that the combined technical and management expertise of the MMM/CRA Joint Venture team will contribute to the long-term health of Port Hope," said Tom Chang, Vice President, Project Management Office with MMM Group Limited.

In addition to the detailed design of the long-term waste management facility, the joint venture of MMM Group Limited/Conestoga-Rovers and Associates Limited will also design the associated supporting infrastructure and plan the remediation of numerous sites throughout the Municipality.

This contract also includes the provision of building oversight services during the construction phase of the Port Hope Area Initiative. Design work will begin immediately and construction is expected to begin in 2011.

Work will be funded under the Port Hope Area Initiative, which includes remediation initiatives in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is the federal department responsible for the Port Hope Area Initiative. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has been designated by NRCan as the proponent and overall project manager, and Public Works and Government Services Canada serves as the lead department on all major contracts.

In 2001, the Government of Canada committed to implement locally developed solutions for the safe cleanup and long-term management of low-level radioactive waste in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. The waste originated from a radium and uranium refinery that began operations in Port Hope in the 1930s.

Port Hope Area Initiative

Background

The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is a federally sponsored project to clean up historic low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) situated in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. In Port Hope, the Port Hope Project entails the excavation of approximately 1.2 million m3 of waste from multiple locations in Ward 1 and from the existing, closed Welcome Waste Management Facility in Ward 2. In Clarington, the Port Granby Project entails excavation of approximately 500,000 m3 of historic LLRW from the existing, closed Port Granby Waste Management Facility.

The historic waste resulted from radium and uranium processing in Port Hope between 1933 and 1988 by the former Crown corporation, Eldorado Nuclear, and its private sector predecessors. The waste will be transported and consolidated within two new long-term waste management facilities (engineered mounds) to be constructed in each of the communities.

The federal government had sought a solution for the long-term management of the waste for a number of years without success. In 1997 and 1998 the municipalities came forward with local proposals to manage the waste within their own borders. This led to the signing of a Legal Agreement between the Government of Canada and the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington in 2001, which formed the basis of the Port Hope Area Initiative for the remediation and safe long-term management of the historic LLRW.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is the project sponsor for the PHAI. NRCan appointed Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) as its project proponent in 2001. AECL has managed the environmental assessment and licensing activities since the PHAI's inauguration. In 2008, NRCan appointed Public Works and Government Services Canada as its major contracting authority. The parties are carrying out these roles within the framework of a new project organization defined as the PHAI Management Office (PHAI MO).

The plan to clean up and manage the long-term storage of the waste was divided into three phases. The first phase included environmental assessments and licensing, which is now largely complete. The second or implementation phase is the remediation of the contaminated sites and construction of the new facilities in Port Hope and Port Granby. The third phase entails the long-term maintenance and monitoring of the facilities in accordance with licensing conditions and approvals received from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The PHAI is currently in a transition phase between Phase 1 and 2 to prepare for Phase 2 construction.

The Port Hope Project includes the construction of a new long-term storage facility off Toronto Road to receive all of the waste, the remediation of 17 major and approximately 400 small-scale sites in Port Hope, the remediation and closure of an existing waste storage site, and the remediation of non-radioactive contaminated soil at four specified historic industrial sites in Port Hope.

The Port Granby Project consists of the remediation and closure of an existing storage site and the construction of a new waste management facility to receive the existing waste.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Minister of Public Works and Government Services
    Chris Hilton
    Director of Communications
    613-697-7324
    Chris.Hilton@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca
    or
    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    Media Relations
    819-956-2315
    or
    Natural Resources Canada
    Ottawa
    Media Relations
    613-992-4447
    or
    Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office
    Bob Neufeld
    Manager, Stakeholder Relations and Communications
    905-885-6197
    neufeldr@aecl.ca