Completed EAs

Decommissioning Whiteshell Laboratories

Start date: June 2, 1999
FEAI reference number: 18737
Proponent: Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL)
Location: Pinawa, Manitoba

Latest Update

  • December 19, 2002 – CNSC announces decision on Atomic Energy Canada's Application to Decommission the Whiteshell Laboratories
  • July 12, 2002 – Notice of Public Hearing – September 12, 2002 and November 14, 2002
  • April 22, 2002 – Licence application submitted by AECL
  • April 2, 2002 – Decision Announced by Minister of the Environment on Whiteshell Laboratories Decommissioning Project
  • April 30, 2001 – Comment period closed
  • March 2001 - Request for Public Comment on draft Comprehensive Study Environmental Assessment Report

Project Description

In 1997, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) decided to discontinue research programs and operations at the Whiteshell Laboratories near Pinawa, Manitoba. AECL is currently seeking a licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to decommission the facility. CNSC determined that an environmental assessment is required before a CNSC licence application can proceed.

In November 1999, CNSC issued a scope of project and assessment document on the environmental assessment for comment. The final version of this document, published on December 22, 1999, was used to direct the environmental assessment studies. The environmental assessment was submitted to the Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in December 2001 for public review and decision under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

On April 2, 2002, the Minister of the Environment referred the project back to the responsible authorities, including CNSC. The Minister recommended that CNSC, jointly with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, ensure that all mitigation measures and recommendations described in the environmental assessment are implemented. CNSC will ensure this occurs, should regulatory approval be given for the decommissioning of the facility.

With this decision, CNSC will continue its licensing assessment related to the AECL proposal. A formal licence application from AECL is anticipated shortly. When this occurs, CNSC would undertake a detailed review of the application and submit recommendations to the Commission on the licensing of this decommissioning project.

The Whiteshell Laboratories continue to be maintained by AECL under an existing CNSC operating licence.

Further Information

CNSC maintains a public registry of documents related to its Environmental Assessments. Lists and copies of documents may be obtained upon request. For questions or information related to the environmental assessment of this project, please contact:

For questions or information directly related to the environmental assessment of this project, contact the CNSC.

Date modified: