PORT HOPE, ONT. — Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has announced that the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) project has entered a new phase with the commencing of cleanup of the Port Hope Harbour.
Dredging began Oct. 31 to remove sediment, objects and other material contaminated with low-level radioactive waste from the inner and outer harbour, stated a Nov. 6 release.
An early task was the removal of a decades-old car from the water by a dredger.
The PHAI involves the cleanup of waste on municipal and residential sites in Port Hope and is being undertaken by CNL on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, a federal Crown corporation. The waste was produced by radium and uranium refining and processing operations of the former Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear and its private sector predecessors from the 1930s to 1988.
Port Hope is located 80 kilometres east of Toronto.
The project includes construction of an engineered above-ground mound and supporting infrastructure for the long-term management of approximately 1.2 million cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste, cleanup of the waste from various sites in Port Hope and its transportation to the waste management facility, located south of Highway 401 and west of Baulch Road.
“The removal of historic waste from the harbour is one of the most complex aspects of the PHAI,” said Harvey Seto, CNL’s director of major sites remediation, in the statement. “We’re all excited to have reached this milestone; however, it’s important that we work at a measured pace, keeping safety top of mind and adjusting our plans as required.”
Most material removed from the harbour will be transported to the Port Hope Long-Term Waste Management Facility for safe storage.
Two types of dredging, mechanical and hydraulic, will be used to remove sediment from the harbour. Mechanical dredging will also be used to remove large objects previously identified through mapping of the bottom of the harbour.
The remediation of the harbour area, which is being undertaken by Milestone Environmental under contract to CNL, includes the cleanup of the Centre Pier and is expected to be completed in 2023. Activities include electrofishing of the inner harbour to remove fish, installation of a wave attenuator to isolate the work area from Lake Ontario, and shoring, bracing and rehabilitation of the harbour walls.
As the cleanup continues, public access to the Centre Pier and the harbour will remain restricted. After the cleanup is completed, the Port Hope Harbour will be returned to the Municipality of Port Hope for its use, the statement explained.
The community is invited to a public information session being held on Nov. 21 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lions Recreation Centre, 29 Thomas St., Port Hope.