PORT HOPE, ONT. — Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has announced the termination of an agreement with Milestone Environmental Contracting under which the firm was performing harbour remediation work as part of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI), a project to clean up radioactive waste in the Ontario municipality.
Milestone’s departure was effective June 30. CNL did not offer an explanation for the termination. Communications manager Bill Daly said in an email, “This contract is being discontinued based on a mutual decision between our two organizations. CNL is incorporating all of the lessons learned from this experience as we prepare to award a new contract to complete the PHAI harbour work.”
Milestone did not respond to messages asking for more information.
Non-essential work at the Port Hope Harbour and Centre Pier, suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will remain paused until a new contract is in place, stated a June 23 release.
During the transition period, CNL staff will continue to ensure that the site is maintained in a safe and secure state while inviting bids for the remaining work, the statement said. The new contract will include completing the rehabilitation of the harbour walls, dredging the harbour to remove sediment contaminated with what is termed low-level radioactive waste, continuing to collect and treat contaminated water on site, and cleaning up and restoring the Centre Pier.
CNL said it is hoped the new contractor will be in place by no later than the start of the 2021 construction season.
CNL is undertaking the PHAI on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, a federal Crown corporation. Soils were contaminated from radium and uranium refining and processing operations of the former Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear and its private sector predecessors, which operated from the 1930s to 1988.
The pandemic-related work stoppage and the change in contracting strategy is expected to extend the PHAI presence in the harbour area by an additional year, CNL said.
All other PHAI work by CNL contractors at residential and larger sites, including other sites in the waterfront area, is continuing to ramp up in phases according to the pandemic-related directives and guidance of government and public health authorities.