In light of the changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and in line with other international and Canadian institutions and organizations, AECL is remaining abreast of the current situation and taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of its employees; partners; collaborators; visitors and of the public.
Through its Health and Safety Committee, AECL continues to update its plan and protocol for COVID-19, based on the most up-to-date information available from the World Health Organization, the Government of Canada and provincial public health authorities. At this time, AECL has implemented a number of measures to help reduce the risk of infection and slow the spread of the virus, including eliminating non-essential travel, and encouraging employees to work from home.
While at this time the risk to AECL employees may be low, we are cognizant that the situation continues to evolve. AECL will continue to take steps to mitigate risk and prepare for various scenarios, as informed by federal and provincial authorities.
AECL is also overseeing the actions on the part of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to prepare for the ongoing safe operations of AECL sites. For more information, please visit CNL’s website.
The United States Department of Energy (DOE), Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority of the United Kingdom (NDA) Sign Agreement To Exchange Information Concerning Environmental Remediation and Management of Radioactive Waste
March 8th, 2020—The leaders of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority of the United Kingdom (NDA) cleanup programs signed an agreement today to supplement their longstanding collaboration arrangements and encourage trilateral collaboration to take place between the three organizations. William ‘Ike’ White, Senior Advisor for the Office of Environmental Management to the Under Secretary for Science for the Department of Energy; Alastair MacDonald, Vice-President, Decommissioning and Waste Management, on behalf of Richard Sexton, President and Chief Executive Officer for AECL; and Adrian Simper, Group Director for Strategy and Technology for NDA, signed the agreement during a ceremony held at the Waste Management Symposia 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Trilateral Agreement formalizes recent collaborative activities between the three organizations in areas including aging infrastructure management, in situ decommissioning/ disposal and near surface disposal facilities — all of which are important considerations across the three countries in working towards safe and effective cleanup of legacy sites. The agreement has a formal governance structure to ensure that activities are targeted on areas that promise the most benefit in terms of safe, efficient and timely environmental remediation, and that the proposed efforts have support from the highest levels.
“Collaborating with our counterparts and sharing best practices wherever possible will help to ensure that we all learn from one another,” said William “Ike” White. “The ability to conduct joint technology projects, exchange personnel and conduct inter-country program reviews will increase the capabilities of our people, and allow all of us to leverage our collective resources as we tackle some of the most difficult environmental challenges.
“We are all working hard, but face challenges cleaning up our sites and effectively managing our waste, to better protect the environment and the health and safety of our communities, all the while ensuring good value,” said Richard Sexton. “Today’s announcement clearly signals that through sharing knowledge and best practices, we can build on experience gained by our counterparts and tap into the right expertise, to find unique and safe solutions to common issues, thereby leaving a better legacy for future generations.”
Adrian Simper added “We have been collaborating on a bilateral basis for some years now with our North American friends. This has allowed us each to benefit from sharing each other’s experiences of our most difficult clean-up tasks. Coming together under this agreement is a natural progression and provides a unique opportunity to accelerate our individual missions and better manage our environmental responsibilities,”
On February 12 2020, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited announced the completion of a multi-year campaign to move spent highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Canada to the United States at the International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS) in Vienna, Austria.
This multi-year effort beginning in 2015, moved HEU from two Canadian research reactors at Chalk River Laboratories in Chalk River, Ontario, to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina, was completed in 2019 – 12 months ahead of schedule. It is identified as the largest removal of used fuel to the United States ever completed under the Nuclear Material Removal Program.
The material was used in the National Research Universal (NRU) and National Research Experimental (NRX) reactors at Chalk River.
“This is another great example of AECL and the NNSA working together to advance our shared non-proliferation objectives and advance global nuclear security,” said Alastair MacDonald, Vice President, Decommissioning and Waste Management at AECL. “By partnering with the NNSA, we are effectively addressing our liabilities while achieving our joint commitments to HEU repatriation.”
“Our collaboration on this project has demonstrated, once again, that when the United States and Canada work together, we can make the world a safer place,” said Lisa E. Gordon Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions were key partners and played a pivotal role in the success of the campaign.
NNSA Press release (available in English only) : https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/articles/united-states-canada-announce-completion-spent-nuclear-fuel-shipping-campaign-icons