NRCan News Release
Natural Resources Canada
July 10, 1996
McLellan Announces Policy Framework For Radioactive Waste
OTTAWA - Anne McLellan, federal Minister of Natural Resources, today announced government approval of a radioactive waste policy framework that will guide Canada's approach for radioactive waste disposal into the next century.
The framework is the result of consultations with waste producers and owners to establish a comprehensive and integrated approach to the long-term management and disposal of radioactive wastes in Canada.
"The Policy Framework lays out the ground rules for radioactive waste disposal in Canada. It defines the role of government and waste producers and owners, and recommends that disposal proceed in a comprehensive and integrated manner," Minister McLellan noted.
"With the Policy Framework in place, the context is set for the further development of the financial and institutional arrangements that will govern waste disposal. Over the coming months, my officials will begin discussions with waste producers to ensure that radioactive waste disposal takes place in a manner that respects the principles in this policy framework," Minister McLellan added.
The Policy Framework recognizes the role of the federal government to develop policy, to ensure that waste producers and owners comply with legal requirements and meet their funding and operational responsibilities in accordance with approved waste disposal plans, as well as the role of the federal Atomic Energy Control Board to regulate waste disposal activities.
Under the framework, waste producers and owners are responsible, in accordance with the principle of "the polluter pays," for the funding, organization, management and operation of disposal and other facilities required for their wastes. This principle recognizes that arrangements may be different for nuclear fuel waste, low-level radioactive waste and uranium mine and mill tailings.
The federal government has already taken leadership on this issue in announcing, last week, its intention to evaluate the suitability of a low-level radioactive waste facility in Deep River, Ontario.
"The Policy Framework emphasizes the Government of Canada's commitment to the principles of sustainable development. Nuclear energy is an environmentally sound-energy option that does not contribute to climate change or acid rain. Taking action to dispose of radioactive waste is an environmentally responsible initiative that will ensure that the costs related to nuclear activities are not simply passed from one generation to the next," Minister McLellan concluded.
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Two backgrounders are also available. To obtain copies please call (613) 992-7806.