This report presents the inventory of radioactive waste in Canada to the end
of 1998. It is intended to provide a comprehensive review on the production,
accumulation and future projections of radioactive waste in Canada. The data
presented in this report have been gathered from a waste management database
maintained by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) and
from other sources, namely, Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) documents,
published reports and supplemental information provided by waste producers and
Radioactive waste has been produced in Canada since the early 1930s when the
first uranium mine began operating at Port Radium in the Northwest Territories.
Radium was refined for medical use and uranium was later processed at Port Hope,
Ontario. Research and development on the application of nuclear energy to
produce electricity began in the 1940s at the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) of
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). At present, radioactive waste is
generated in Canada from: uranium mining, milling, refining and conversion;
nuclear fuel fabrication; nuclear reactor operations; nuclear research; and
radioisotope manufacture and use.
Radioactive waste is grouped into three categories: nuclear fuel waste,
low-level radioactive waste, and uranium mine and mill tailings.
In accordance with the Radioactive Waste Policy Framework, the producers and
owners of radioactive waste are responsible for the funding, organization,
management and operation of disposal and other facilities required for their
waste. The policy recognizes that arrangements may be different for each of the
three waste categories.
Radioactive waste is currently managed in a safe and environmentally
responsible manner by storing the waste away from the public and isolating it
from the environment, in accordance with the requirements set out by the AECB,
Canada’s independent nuclear regulator.
The following table presents a summary of the quantity of radioactive waste
produced in 1998 and the cumulative inventory to the end of 1998.
Waste Data to 1998