The first truckloads of low-level radioactive waste have been transported from the Lake Ontario shoreline to the newly built Port Granby Project Long-Term Waste Management Facility, signalling the start of this significant environmental cleanup.
The remediation and restoration of the existing site, which holds about 450,000 cu. m. of historic low-level radioactive waste, and the transportation of the waste for long-term, safe storage in an engineered aboveground mound at the new facility is being undertaken as part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI).
“Today we are witnessing history, as we begin the final chapter in addressing this long-standing environmental issue,” said PHAI general manager Craig Hebert. “All of the hard work that has gone into preparing for this complex undertaking has brought us to this point. After years of extensive planning, community consultation and working with government stakeholders to bring this important project to fruition, the cleanup has begun.”
Construction of the infrastructure required for waste movement was completed over the summer by the contractor, AMEC-CB&I Joint Venture. The aboveground mound’s highly engineered base liner system was installed, and internal waste haul roads and an underpass at Lakeshore Road were constructed, through which the trucks are now transporting the waste to the new facility, located about 700 metres north of the lake.
PHAI says in a statement that measures are in place to carefully monitor the waste trucks – all of which will be tightly covered – even though they will not travel on public roadways. Wash stations for vehicle decontamination are operational, and vehicle monitors have been installed to track waste volumes while remediation activities are underway. The cleanup is scheduled to take place over three years, after which the mound’s cover system will be constructed, expected to be in 2021.
“Everyone involved with the Port Granby Project is proud of their work and excited to see the cleanup begin,” said Hebert. “Our strong team is committed to delivering this project with the safety of the public, workers and the environment as the PHAI’s top priority.”