Canadian government to fund nuclear waste storage projects

The Canadian government will fund two projects to clean up low-level radioactive waste over the next 10 years.

The government said it would invest C$1.28 billion ($1.26 billion) of federal funds to address some 1.7 million cubic metres of waste resulting from five decades of radium and uranium refining operations at Port Hope and Clarington, Ontario by the former Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear Limited and its private sector predecessors, according to the World Nuclear News.

The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) was set up in 2001 through a legal agreement between the Canadian government and the local municipalities to develop and implement a safe, long-term solution for the management of the waste through two projects, Port Hope and Port Granby, the article said. The Port Hope project will see the construction of an engineered above-ground waste facility to store 1.2 million cubic metres of low-level waste. The cleanup is expected to begin around 2014 once the infrastructure is in place.

An engineered surface facility will also be built under the Port Granby project, which will see the relocation of reportedly 450,000 cubic metres of waste from an existing site into the facility.

In addition to the construction of the new waste management facilities and supporting infrastructure, each project involves the cleanup and restoration of contaminated sites, and long-term monitoring and maintenance of the waste management facilities. The first phase of environmental assessments and licensing has been completed for both projects, and the funding announcement reportedly marks the start of the implementation phase.

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