Low-Level Waste Management
AECL manages the majority of Canada’s low-level waste programs, including the activities associated with historic low-level waste.
AECL stores some solid low-level radioactive wastes at its Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) in Ontario. These wastes consist of everyday items such as clothing, paper towels, glassware, equipment and building materials that have become, or are suspected of being, slightly contaminated by contact with radioactive materials. They originate from AECL’s research activities or from other companies, hospitals or universities. Wastes from the production of medical radioisotopes (used for diagnosis and treatment) are stored here.
In 2001, after a public consultation process, AECL constructed a new facility for packaging and storing solid low-level radioactive (LLRW) waste at CRL. The modular, above-ground storage (MAGS) buildings provide an effective method of storing LLRW.
The MAGS facility will store low-level wastes that have been sorted and compacted into tagged steel containers. Each building is designed to hold up to two years of wastes, which allows for improved waste management at CRL as packages can be monitored while in storage and easily retrieved for eventual disposal.
A Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office
(LLRWMO) was established in 1982 to carry out the responsibilities of the federal government for the management of historic low-level radioactive waste in Canada. The LLRWMO is operated by AECL through an agreement with Natural Resources Canada
(NRCan). NRCan provides funding and establishes national policy for low-level radioactive waste management.