Designed to house low-level radioactive material from the dawn of the nuclear age, site will encase waste in engineered aboveground mound
PORT HOPE, Ont.—Construction crews have broken ground on a new storage site for low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope, Ont.
Part of the 10-year, $1.28 billion Port Hope Area Initiative, the storage facility will house as much as two million cubic metres of historic waste currently held at various sites in the Lake Ontario city east of Toronto.
The construction project includes the building of an aboveground mound where Canadian Nuclear Laboratories—the company leading the project—says the waste will be safely contained and monitored over the long term. The engineered mound is designed to isolate the radioactive material by encasing it entirely in multiple layers of natural and specially-manufactured materials, including geosynthetic clay, sand and ordinary soil.
Along with a sister site to be built in Port Granby, Ont., the nuclear waste in Port Hope originates from the dawn of the nuclear age. Now-defunct Eldorado Nuclear Ltd., a mining company turned crown corporation, produced the contaminants while refining radium and uranium during the 1940s and ’50s.
The project is scheduled to be completed by 2022.