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Government of Canada and Port Hope Communities Closer to Solution

Natural Resources Canada
2000/78
October 6, 2000


Ottawa - The Government of Canada and the communities of Port Hope, Hope Township and Clarington today took a giant first step toward cleaning up the region's low-level radioactive wastes. The signing of the Principles of Understanding sets the stage for developing the legal agreement for the clean up, storage and long-term management of the wastes.

While the wastes are being managed safely in their current locations, the present situation is not considered appropriate for the long term by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Government of Canada or the communities themselves.

"Signing the Principles of Understanding is a critical milestone in our search for a permanent solution to the region's low-level radioactive wastes," said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources. "The Government of Canada looks forward to developing a legal agreement with the communities that will translate this preliminary work into action."

"I'm delighted by today's signing. This is an example of the Government's commitment, reinforced in the 1999 Speech from the Throne, to improving the quality of the environment, in particular by cleaning up contaminated sites," said Christine Stewart, MP for Northumberland.

Over the past 18 months, Port Hope, Hope Township and Clarington have each developed proposals for their own low-level radioactive wastes. The wastes will be contained in long-term storage facilities, one in each municipality, engineered to last for at least 500 years.

Roughly one million cubic metres of low-level radioactive wastes are located in these three Ontario communities. The wastes were produced by the former federal Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear Limited at its Port Hope refinery beginning in the 1930s. Agreement on the Principles of Understanding followed eight months of negotiations between the Government and each of the municipalities.  "I commend the citizens of the three communities," said Alex Shepherd, MP for Durham. "Their willingness to work with their local governments and the federal government has helped immeasurably in finding an appropriate solution."

"I am excited for the residents of Port Hope," said Ron Smith, Mayor of Port Hope. "We are significantly closer to a final resolution."

"This is an important development for all citizens of Hope Township. We will all benefit from a workable solution for years to come," said Reeve Ian Angus of Hope Township.

"The storage proposal for Clarington will assist us to secure the health and well-being of our community in the future," said Diane Hamre, Mayor of Clarington. "Our citizens have worked with the federal and local governments to come up with a safe, long-term management solution, and today we see the positive results."

The initialling of the Principles today precedes the signing of the legal agreement, which is currently being developed.




For more information, media may contact:
Pat Breton
Press Secretary
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 996-2007



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