Atomic Energy of Canada Limited


Fort McMurray

Fort McMurray

AECL and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories confirm that there are no safety concerns related to the low-level radioactive waste engineered cell in Fort McMurray

There is no immediate or long-term risk to human health and safety or the environment as a result of the Fort McMurray, Alberta, wildfires that burned through the Beacon Hill landfill site. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office oversees the safe management of the historic low-level radioactive waste stored at this site on behalf of AECL.

The cell is part of a larger landfill site managed by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The low-level radioactive waste is comprised of low-grade uranium ore residue mixed with soil and placed in a self-contained engineered cell that is capped with a thick, low permeability soil cover and a thick layer of clean topsoil. In total, 43,500 cubic meters of contaminated soil originating from several small sites are safely placed in the engineered facility.  The cell has been in long-term monitoring and maintenance since 2003.

When the evacuation order has been lifted, CNL staff will be able to visit and assess if any remediation activities, such as reseeding, are necessary.

The waste is the result of transportation of uranium and radium ore, from the 1930s until the late 1950s, by Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. The waste travelled from Eldorado’s Port Radium mine on Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, via a system of lakes and rivers to a docking site at Waterways (now Fort McMurray), where it was shipped by rail to its refinery in Port Hope.

For more information on Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and the Low-level Radioactive Waste Management Office, please visit their website.

The low-level radioactive waste in the Beacon Hill Sanitary Landfill is safely placed in an engineered cell and covered with topsoil and grasses.

The low-level radioactive waste in the Beacon Hill Sanitary Landfill is safely placed in an engineered cell and covered with topsoil and grasses.

Preferred Bidder Announcement


Today the Government of Canada announced that it has completed an important step in the restructuring of AECL: the selection of CNEA as the successful bidder in the competitive procurement process to implement a government-owned, contractor-operated (GoCo) model for AECL’s Nuclear Laboratories.

AECL has undergone important changes, and is poised to seize the opportunity this new model brings. We will be looking to CNEA to leverage existing expertise and assets and create value at the Nuclear Laboratories in order to deliver on the Government’s decommissioning and waste obligations, provide nuclear expertise to support federal responsibilities, and offer services to users of the Laboratories on commercial terms.

As the contract is finalized in the coming months, AECL will take on its new role to oversee the contract and ensure value-for-money for Government and Canadian taxpayers.

I look forward to working with Government, CNL, and all stakeholders in delivering on AECL’s responsibilities.

Jon Lundy

Chief Transition Officer, Interim President
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

News Release: Minister Rickford Announces the Final Step in the Restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

Backgrounder: Restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited – Nuclear Laboratories