Since its creation in 1982, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) has successfully developed and completed Low-Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) environmental remediation projects in affected communities in Canada. Remediation includes identification and characterization of the contamination, the safe removal and transport of the contaminated materials to long term or interim management sites, and restoration of the area.
Both major and small remediation projects have been carried out by the LLRWMO along the Northern Transportation Route (NTR) from the Northwest Territories to Alberta, British Columbia, and in the Port Hope and Toronto, Ontario areas.
The LLRWMO’s ongoing success in these and other projects owes much to its ability to engage the public and municipal leaders through consultation and stakeholder involvement establishing programs and partnerships across Canada.
The LLRWMO operates a long-established Interim Waste Management (IWM) program to manage contaminated soil and other LLRW in communities across Canada, prior to a long-term management solution. The IWM program includes the creation of temporary waste management storage sites or facilities, licensing of the sites (where applicable), placement of LLRW at these sites. Through this program, the LLRWMO attends to the inspection, monitoring and maintenance of the sites to ensure they present no hazard to local residents, workers or the environment.
The LLRWMO has operated the IWM Program on behalf of the federal government since the late 1980s. The Program has helped communities to use, develop or modify land or structures safely and with confidence.
The LLRWMO is responsible for regular monitoring and maintenance of numerous sites in the Municipality of Port Hope, the Greater Toronto Area, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
The Interim Waste Management Program is delivered through three program components:
- Construction Monitoring Program (CMP): The purpose of the Construction Monitoring Program (CMP) is to minimize the spread of historic LLRW contaminated soil and reduce the risk to people and the environment that could arise from its presence during construction. When a property is found to be contaminated with LLRW, the contaminant is removed from the construction footprint, allowing development on the property to proceed.
- Property Compliance Program (PCP): The PCP was established to respond to owner inquiries regarding the radiological status of their properties and to provide this information to the property owners, their lawyers or realtors. This information may be used to facilitate the sale or purchase of a property or to simply provide radiological information to the property owner.
- Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP): The LLRWMO regularly monitors the environment in the vicinity of its licensed or unlicensed historic LLRW sites through the EMP. Monitoring activities include visual inspections, gamma radiation surveys, radon measurements and water sampling. The results obtained at LLRWMO-operated licensed sites are reported annually to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
Support under these three component programs will continue to be provided by the LLRWMO, as required. The IWM program is a key constituent of the mandated responsibilities assigned to the LLRWMO by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).