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Environmental Assessments for the Port Hope Area Initiative

Backgrounder
2002/22 (a)


On March 29, 2001, the Government of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and the municipalities of Port Hope (formerly the Town of Port Hope and the Township of Hope) and Clarington entered into a legal agreement for the clean-up and long-term management of local historic low-level radioactive wastes. Eldorado Nuclear Limited, a former Crown corporation, produced the wastes at its Port Hope refinery beginning in the 1930s.

With the signing of the legal agreement, the Government of Canada began a 10-year, $260-million initiative to develop a long-term solution for this long-standing environmental problem. The initiative will be carried out in three phases. The first phase will involve the environmental assessment of the proposed projects and subsequent regulatory review. Subsequent phases will involve cleaning up the wastes, developing new management facilities and emplacing the wastes, followed by a phase of long-term monitoring.

The projects proposed under the initiative must undergo environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Assessments will be conducted on:

- the Port Hope Project, which involves the clean-up and long-term management of historic and certain industrial wastes in the Municipality of Port Hope; and,
- the Port Granby Project, which involves the clean-up and long-term management of historic wastes relating to the Port Granby Facility in the Municipality of Clarington.

NRCan, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have decision-making authority on the projects and are therefore considered Responsible Authorities under the CEAA. The Responsible Authorities will delegate the conduct of the studies for the assessments to the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO), the designated proponent for the project. The Responsible Authorities, however, remain responsible for ensuring the assessments are carried out in accordance with CEAA and for determining whether the projects are likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

The Responsible Authorities are responsible for determining the scope of the environmental assessments on the projects. Draft scope documents have been prepared to guide the LLRWMO on the studies and activities required for the environmental assessments. Preliminary draft scope documents for both the Port Hope and Port Granby projects were circulated among Government of Canada and provincial departments, ministries and agencies on November 21, 2001. The documents were revised and released February 20, 2002 for a 45-day public comment period to start on February 25, 2002 and end on April 11, 2002.

Written comments on the draft scope documents should be submitted by April 11, 2002 to the following address:

Sharon Baillie-Malo
Uranium and Radioactive Waste Division
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 17th Floor
Ottawa ON
K1A 0E4
Tel.: (613) 947-4750
Fax: (613) 947-4205
E-mail: [email protected]

The Responsible Authorities will review all comments before finalizing the draft scope documents. The final scope documents are expected to be released in May 2002. All comments received are considered public and will be placed on the public registry for each project.

Copies of the draft scope documents and other information on the Port Hope and Port Granby projects are available on NRCan's Web site at http://nuclear.nrcan.gc.ca and at the following locations:

LLRWMO Project Information Exchange
P.O. Box 118, 196 Toronto Road
Port Hope ON L1A 3V9
Tel.: (905) 885-0291
Toll-free: 1 866 255-2755
E-mail: [email protected]

Port Hope Public Library
31 Queen Street
Port Hope ON L1A 2Y8

Bowmanville Public Library
62 Temperance Street
Bowmanville ON L1C 3C8

Clarington Public Library, Clarke Branch
127 Church Street
Orono ON L0B 1M0

Clarington Public Library, Courtice Branch
2950 Courtice Road
Courtice ON L1E 2H8

Clarington Public Library, Newcastle Village Branch
50 Mill Street North
Newcastle Village ON L1B 1L4

Natural Resources Canada will also host Open Houses to provide more information on the draft scope documents. They will take place at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, March 19, 2002, 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Newtonville Community Hall
21 Church Street
Newtonville, Ontario

Wednesday, March 20, 2002, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Canton Municipal Office
5325 County Road 10
Canton, Ontario

Wednesday, March 20, 2002, 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Town Park Community Centre
63 McCaul Street
Port Hope, Ontario

For more information, media may contact:

Dr. Peter Brown
Director, Uranium and Radioactive Waste Division
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 996-2395

Dave McCauley
Advisor, Uranium and Radioactive Waste Division
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 996-4697


NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available on the Internet at http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/



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