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Near Surface Disposal Facility Project

The Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) is a proposed engineered disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste planned for the Chalk River Laboratories site (CRL). All waste to be disposed at the NSDF will be required to meet the waste acceptance criteria established to assure compliance with operational and long-term safety requirements.

The Near Surface Disposal Facility is planned to have an operating life of at least 50 years and as proposed, would be an engineered mound built at near-surface level on the CRL site. The engineered mound would be cellular, made up of multiple disposal cells consisting of:

  • base liner and final cover systems
  • leachate collection and leak detection systems
  • environmental monitoring systems

The proposed project would also include:

  • a wastewater treatment plant
  • supporting infrastructure, such as a truck wheel wash, vehicle monitoring and weighing stations, work stations and change facilities, security systems to monitor access and egress, construction trailers, and marine containers or tents for storage of construction materials

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, CNL's proposal requires approval by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and involves an amendment to the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) Nuclear Research and Test Establishment Operating Licence. An environmental assessment (EA) conducted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 is required, and an EA decision affirming that the proposed activities will not cause significant adverse environmental effects, before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal.


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Latest update

November 20, 2020 - The Federal and Provincial Review team (FPRT) have completed their review of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) responses to the 37 outstanding information requests that resulted from the technical review of CNL’s revised draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF).  In October 2020, the FPRT determined that CNL has sufficiently responded to all of the information requests.   CNSC is anticipating the submission of CNL’s final EIS in early December 2020.


Once the CNSC reviews CNL’s final EIS and considers it to be complete, an environmental assessment report under CEAA 2012 will be drafted and made available for review by Indigenous groups and the public prior to a public Commission hearing.


CNSC will be holding public webinars in the upcoming months where CNSC staff will provide an update on the project and will be available to answer your questions on the project review to date.


April 9, 2020 - The Federal and Provincial Review Team (FPRT) has completed their technical review of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' (CNL) revised draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility, including updated supporting documents, and responses to all federal and provincial comments and information requests (IRs) (step 26 in Appendix A of the CNL–CNSC Administrative Protocol for the Proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility), available here.


Led by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the federal and provincial authorities that participated in the technical review included Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and the Quebec Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changement climatiques. The FPRT technical review resulted in 37 IRs in total, several of these follow-up comments on existing IRs as well as several new IRs resulting from the review of new information. The CNSC submitted the consolidated table of federal and provincial comments from the FPRT technical review to CNL on April 3, 2020. CNL must now respond to these additional federal and provincial comments. The CNSC, in collaboration with the FPRT, will then make a determination on whether the information provided in CNL's submissions is complete.


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Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Nicole Frigault, Environmental Assessment Officer
280 Slater Street
P.O. Box 1046, Station B
Ottawa, ON K1P 5S9
Telephone: 613-995-7948 or 1-800-668-5284
Fax: 613-995-5086

  • Location

    • Deep River (Ontario)
  • Project Type

    • Nuclear Energy
    • Waste Management
  • Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
  • Authorities

    • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Assessment Type

    Environmental assessment under CEAA 2012
  • Reference Number


Nearby projects

..within 200 kilometres
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