The Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development’s audit of radioactive waste management practices released October 4, 2022 made two recommendations to AECL. The recommendations, and AECL’s Management Response, appear below.
OAG Observation (Paragraph 6.31)
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited should have effective controls in place to ensure its radioactive waste inventory database is accurate.
Agreed. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited notes that no inaccuracies found in the eMWaste database had any impact on the inventories reported to Natural Resources Canada as part of the Inventory of Radioactive Waste in Canada 2019 Report. Atomic Energy of Canada has been working with our contractor, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories on improving the accuracy of the radioactive waste database. Since the end of the audit period, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has brought international expertise to support its staff to review and verify the existing records, as well as improve the quality controls over the data entry. Specifically, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is conducting a 100% review of the waste records since 2018, which will conclude by August 2022, as well as applying a graded review of records generated between 2015 and 2018 by December 2022.
To strengthen our controls over the radioactive waste database, Atomic Energy of Canada continues to oversee the verification of the database as well as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ improvement plan to strengthen the process of entering and verifying waste data into the eMWaste database. To supplement the triennial reporting to Natural Resources Canada and enhance transparency, starting in 2023, Atomic Energy of Canada will report nuclear waste inventories on its website, to show progress on addressing its radioactive waste inventory.
OAG Observation (Paragraph 6.36)
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited should ensure that its public reporting clearly aligns its plans and activities with how it is addressing historic and legacy waste. For increased transparency, these reports should include monitoring activities and timelines.
Agreed. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited will develop additional webpages on our website that will explain to Canadians the linkage between our reported waste inventories and the progress we are making on managing our waste in a sustainable manner, by October 2022. These pages will include information on monitoring activities and forecasted timelines to place the waste in modern disposal or long-term waste management facilities.