Low-level Radioactive Waste
AECL is responsible for delivering on Canada’s responsibilities for the management of historic low-level radioactive waste in Canada. This work is carried out by the Low-level Radioactive Waste Management Office, which is operated by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) on behalf of AECL.
Historic low-level radioactive waste is being managed at numerous sites across the country in order to protect the public and the environment and to responsibly address the Government of Canada’s environmental responsibilities.
About the waste
Historic low-level radioactive waste presents little to no risk to human health and the environment in its current form, however, it still has to be managed, handled and stored correctly. Historic low-level radioactive waste is waste that resulted from past practices, no longer considered acceptable by today’s standards, and for which the Government of Canada has taken responsibility for managing because the current owner cannot reasonably be held responsible.
The historic low-level radioactive waste is composed mostly of soil that has been contaminated with uranium ore or products of uranium conversion activities. Historic low-level radioactive waste contamination in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington, in Ontario, is being managed under the Port Hope Area Initiative. Most of the remaining responsibilities of the Low-level Radioactive Waste Management Office relate to the Northern Transportation Route. For more information on this, visit the Northern Transportation Route page.
The Low-level Radioactive Waste Management Office is also responsible for the Historic Artefact Recovery Program, which provides advice, assistance and management of radioactive artifacts found on public or private property. These radioactive artefacts were typically manufactured up to the 1960s and contain radioum, thorium or uranium, for example luminous dials.
For more questions on the activities of the Low-level Radioactive Waste Management Office, please contact CNL.