Ottawa Riverkeeper calls out gaps in Chalk River nuclear site plan via CBC News

Riverkeeper joins naysayers of new waste disposal site

A new nuclear waste disposal site along the Ottawa River could have devastating consequences, according a report released by Ottawa Riverkeeper. 

The environmental watchdog says it pored over reports to the site commissioners regarding the new disposal site after the laboratory officially opened in October in Chalk River, Ont. 


“It’s not a matter of if, but it’s a matter of when the radioactive waste from this facility would make its way to the Ottawa River.”

The $113M Harriet Brooks building will house 85 scientists and engineers working in 10 nuclear research laboratories. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

The new laboratory cost $113 million to build. Atomic Energy Limited Canada (AECL), which owns the facility, hired Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to build and run the nuclear plant. The new waste site would complement the existing buildings. 

CNL conducted an initial review and environmental assessment, but Nadeau says they missed important information — despite their best intentions. 

Ottawa Riverkeeper’s report found two problem areas with the proposal. 

First, the site’s geography and proximity would almost guarantee chemicals would leech into the Ottawa River at some point. 

The group also determined the technology proposed to regulate the nuclear waste was inadequate to contain the radioactive material for a long period of time. 


‘Zero risk is impossible’

Ottawa Riverkeeper has asked the site managers and executives to review their findings and make the necessary changes. 

Nadeau said recommendations in the report include asking CNL to revise its report, moving the lab site and investing in alternate storage technologies. 

“We recognize that something needs to be done at Chalk River, but it has to be the best solution not the cheapest and quickest — which we believe in on the table right now,” Nadeau added. 

“Zero risk is impossible, but we believe there are many ways to reduce the risk on this project.”

Read more and the full report is available at Ottawa Riverkeeper calls out gaps in Chalk River nuclear site plan 

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