Top 10 nuclear-related news stories for 2016

Donald Trump

It's that time of year again when top ten lists of all types abound: the best books, the worst films, the most successful brands, emerging trends and, of course, the top news stories. This year had its share of stories, from mass shootings and terror attacks to wild weather events and the shaky economy. For me, 2016 was the year that musicians I listened to as a teenager and continued to enjoy throughout my adult life − David Bowie, Prince, Eagles founder Glenn Frey, Leonard Cohen − passed away. 

But unless you were living under a rock (or were too preoccupied with the new Phoenix pay system), 2016 will be remembered as the year that Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States. After a campaign that lasted a gazillion days (and Canadians thought that 78 was too long!), the American public decided to take their chances on a businessman whose name is synonymous with the saying "you're fired". Let's hope that he understands that running the United States of America is not at all like reality TV.

David Bowie
Leonard Cohen


While nuclear sector news might not be as exciting as The Donald's election, there was plenty going on.
Here are my Top Ten:


Fukushima accident

Five years after the accident, references to Fukushima and its consequences continue to be topics of discussion.


Port Hope clean-up

Construction began on the Port Hope Project long-term, low-level radioactive waste management facility. In November, the Commission held a meeting in Port Hope to discuss the Port Hope Area Initiative.


Environmental assessment review

In August, the federal government announced details of a long-promised review to examine environmental assessments for projects from pipelines to new mines.


Pickering end-of-life extension

The nuclear industry and non-governmental agencies debated the pros and cons of Ontario's decision to push off the closing date of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station from 2020 until 2024.


NRU closure

The closure of the National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River had nuclear medicine doctors worried about a worldwide shortage of medical isotopes. 


Darlington refurbishment

In January, Ontario approved the start of a $12.8-billion refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. In October, the first of four reactors went offline to begin the refurbishment project, which is expected to last a decade.



Opposition to the transportation of highly enriched uranyl nitrate liquid (HEUNL) from Chalk River to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina continued to make headlines. The U.S. Department of Energy will withhold shipments until after February 2017, when a judge is to rule on a recent lawsuit calling for an injunction against the proposed shipments.


[placeholder spacer - only here for design purposes]


DGR on hold

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna asked Ontario Power Generation for more information on its proposal to bury low- and intermediate nuclear waste in a deep geological repository (DGR) on the Bruce Peninsula. OPG officials say their report will be submitted by year's end.


Anonymous letter

Media reported on an anonymous letter that questioned the integrity of Commission hearings. The authors of the letter claimed that CNSC management withheld critical information during relicensing hearings for the Bruce and Darlington nuclear power plants.


Commissioner of the Environment report

In October, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development released a report, which included a chapter on the management of site inspections carried out by CNSC staff at nuclear power plants. The CNSC agreed with the Commissioner's recommendations and have already completed four out of the five.