Chalk River Laboratories looks ahead to an environmentally conscious future

Chalk River Laboratories
Photo by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) have announced that their primary priority is disposal of the “legacy” nuclear waste at the Chalk River facility.

This waste includes contaminated soil and old buildings on the site. CNL has been making headway since 2015 in its clean-up of the area, with 105 structures, some of which have stood since the 1940s, disposed of to date. 

The primary mission in the coming years is to “restore and protect” the environment, said Fred Dermarkar, president and CEO of AECL, in a live webinar in January.

“While our history has brought immense success to Canada and Chalk River, it has also created legacy nuclear waste at all of our sites that must be cleaned up,” said Joe McBrearty, CNL’s president and CEO. “While these materials are being safely managed for the short term, permanent solutions must be employed.”

In the development of new waste disposal and management solutions, AECL and CNL have opened their doors to Indigenous communities and organizations, as well as the Chalk River community as a whole, for input and feedback. 

CNL recently developed a new plan – known as Vision 2030 – that clarifies its long-term vision and charts its activities for the next decade. This work will be conducted at the Chalk River Laboratories, which is being modernized through the revitalization of essential site infrastructure and new science facilities. 

“As a federal Crown corporation and owner of the Chalk River Laboratories, AECL’s objective is to advance the government’s agenda in the areas of climate change, health and reconciliation,” said Dermarkar in a news release.