The Port Hope area contains more than 1.7 million m3 of Canada’s low-level radioactive waste (LLRW). The origin of the waste dates back to the 1930s when radium was extracted from pitchblende ore at the Eldorado refinery in Port Hope, Ontario, for medical and industrial use. The waste is primarily soil contaminated with material from the refinery, with smaller amounts of other contaminated material. Waste resulting from cleanups to date, in and around the Port Hope area, is currently stored in several large and numerous small interim storage sites in the community, pending the completion of a new long-term facility.
The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is a community – based program for the development and implementation of safe and secure long-term management solutions for the historic LLRW in the Municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington (Port Granby). The PHAI represents a commitment by the government of Canada to implement the community-recommended solutions to this long-standing issue. It will complete the work started by the Federal-Provincial Task Force on Radioactivity (FPTFR), which undertook the initial remediation activities in the late 1970s, prior to the establishment of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) in 1982.
In 2001, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the municipalities entered into a Legal Agreement, to develop and implement a safe and secure, community-based solution. This Agreement provides for new facilities to be built, in the two communities, to address the long-term management of this historic LLRW. The PHAI is comprised of two remediation and storage projects: the Port Hope Project and the Port Granby Project.
From 2001 to 2009, the LLRWMO successfully managed and directed the PHAI, beginning with the inception of the project, through the engineered design and environmental assessment stages. In 2009, three government agencies – Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and NRCan – partnered in a new entity, the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office (PHAI MO). The PHAI MO was established to focus exclusively on this project while the LLRWMO continues to manage the national program.
In support of the PHAI MO, the LLRWMO continues to manage established programs and interim waste management facilities in Port Hope, and to provide administrative and technical support.
For more PHAI information: Port Hope Area Initiative