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Inventory of Radioactive Waste in Canada
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Executive Summary

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 owners.

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

WASTE CATEGORY

WASTE PRODUCED IN 1998

WASTE INVENTORY TO THE END OF 1998

Nuclear Fuel Waste

320 m3

5,600 m3

Low-Level Radioactive Waste

4,300 m3

1.8 million m3

Uranium Mine and Mill Tailings

1 million tonnes

210 million tonnes



In order to assess the future requirements for the management of radioactive waste, a projection of the inventory to the end of 1999 and 2035 is also provided in the table below. The year 2035 is selected as a future reference because it corresponds approximately to the forecasted end of operation for the last power reactor (Darlington Generating Station).

Waste Inventory Projections to 1999 and 2035

WASTE CATEGORY

WASTE INVENTORY TO END OF 1999

WASTE INVENTORY TO END OF 2035

Nuclear Fuel Waste

5,900 m3

14,500 m3

Low-Level Radioactive Waste

1.8 million m3

2.1 million m3

Uranium Mine and Mill Tailings

211 million tonnes

248 million tonnes





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