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Regulatory Process

Regulatory Process

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​Regulatory Process

  • In late 2005, the regulatory process to receive a licence to prepare site and construct the DGR began with the submission of the DGR Project Description to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
  • On June 29, 2007, the DGR project was referred to a Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Joint Review Panel (JRP) process allows a panel of three to consider both the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the application for site preparation/construction licence. Please refer to the News Release for details on the establishment of the JRP.
  • In January 2009, final guidelines for the EIS and JRP were issued. Guidelines for the EIS identify the information needed for the report, which will provide a detailed analysis of the potential environmental effects of the proposed project. The EIS guidelines also list the requirements for a licence to prepare the site and construct the DGR. The JRP Agreement outlines the process and the timelines under which the panel will operate as it conducts a review of the EIS and considers the licence application to prepare the site and construct the DGR. For more information on the Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines and Joint Review Panel Agreement, please refer to this News Release.
  • On April 14, 2011, the EIS, along with the Preliminary Safety Report and supporting documents were submitted to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, for the Joint Review Panel.
  • On Feb. 3, 2012 the JRP announced the start of the public comment period, which remained open until May 24, 2013.
  • In June 2013, the JRP announced the public hearing for the DGR Project. The hearing was held over 33 days, in the fall of 2013 and fall of 2014. 
  • On May 6, 2015 the JRP issued the Environmental Assessment (EA) Report recommending the approval of the DGR for Ontario’s low and intermediate level waste to the federal government.
  • On June 3, 2015 the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) announced it would undertake a 90-day public comment period for the last phase of the environmental assessment process for OPG’s DGR project for low and intermediate level waste. The public was invited to comment on potential conditions related to possible mitigation measures and follow-up programs that may be required if the project is approved to proceed by the minister. project for low and intermediate level waste. The public was invited to comment on potential conditions related to possible mitigation measures and follow-up programs that may be required if the project is approved to proceed by the minister.

    In order to accommodate the new 90-day period, the 120-day timeline for the EA decision by the federal minister of environment was extended to Dec. 2, 2015.
  • On Nov. 27, 2015, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change announced to delay a decision statement on the DGR for Low- and Intermediate-level nuclear waste until March 1, 2016.

    With pressing issues on environment and climate change before government, the Minister determined additional time was required to ensure a thorough and comprehensive federal review.
  • On Feb. 18, 2016, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change requested that OPG conduct three further studies into the DGR, before making a decision on the environmental assessment. These are: a study into the environmental effects of alternate sites; an updated analysis of potential combined environmental effects of the DGR site and a potential Nuclear Waste Management Organization site located close to the proposed site; and an updated list of OPG’s commitments to mitigate any identified effects from the project.
  • On April 5, 2016, OPG responded to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) with a response plan which outlines the timing when information will be provided and the approach to meet the three objectives of the Minister’s request. OPG will provide the requested studies and additional information by the end of 2016.

Participant Funding

The CEAA allocated $175,000 to seven applicants to support their participation in the federal environmental assessment of OPG’s proposed DGR project. The funding recipients are: Sierra Club, Northwatch Coalition for Environmental Protection, Power Workers’ Union, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Huron-Grey-Bruce Citizens Committee on Nuclear Waste, Great Lakes United, and the International Institute of Concern for Public Health. Additionally, the Historic Saugeen Métis, Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat and United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising also received funding. For more information, please refer to this News Release.

Additional DGR Hearing Days - The CEAA made additional funding available through its Participant Funding Program to support registered participants at the additional public hearing days for the proposed DGR project.

Joint Review Panel (JRP)

The Honourable Peter Kent, federal minister of the Environment and Michael Binder, President of the CNSC on Jan. 24, 2012 announced the establishment of a three-member joint panel to review OPG’s proposed project to construct and operate a facility for the long-term management of low and intermediate level radioactive waste in Ontario.

Dr. Stella Swanson was appointed as the Panel chair and Dr. James F. Archibald and Dr. Gunter Muecke appointed as members of the JRP.

Under a joint review panel agreement the members conducted an examination of the environmental effects of the proposed project to meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Panel also obtained the information necessary for the consideration of the licence application under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to prepare a site and to construct the deep geologic repository.

DGR Project Registry

The Canadian Environmental Assessment DGR Project Registry provides online access to key information and records on OPG’s DGR Project for the long-term management of low and intermediate level waste.