CNSC renews Whiteshell Laboratories nuclear research and test establishment decommissioning licence

News release

Whiteshell Laboratories
Whiteshell Laboratories

December 19, 2019 – Ottawa

Following a public hearing held on October 2 and 3, 2019, in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced today its decision to renew the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Limited (CNL) nuclear research and test establishment decommissioning licence for the Whiteshell Laboratories located in Pinawa, Manitoba. The licence will be valid from January 1, 2020, until December 31, 2024.

In making its decision, the Commission considered submissions from CNL and 11 intervenors, as well as recommendations from CNSC staff. The Commission made participant funding available through the CNSC’s Participant Funding Program, and invited interventions from Indigenous groups, members of the public and other stakeholders. Five requesters received participant funding to assist with interventions.

CNSC staff will report annually on the performance of Whiteshell Laboratories. CNSC staff will present these reports at a public Commission meeting.

The Commission wishes to note that this proceeding did not consider the in situ decommissioning of the WR-1 reactor proposed by CNL. This will be reviewed at a separate public Commission hearing at a future date.

The record of decision is available on request to the Commission Secretariat. It will be posted in both official languages on the CNSC website at at a later date.

Hearing transcripts can be obtained on the CNSC website or by contacting the CNSC. The hearing webcast is available on the same site.

The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment; to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public.

Quick facts

  • Whiteshell Laboratories is a former nuclear research and test facility located near Pinawa, Manitoba that was established by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in the early 1960s.

  • The WR-1 reactor was permanently shut down in 1985.

  • Decommissioning of the Whiteshell Laboratories commenced in 2003.

  • Decommissioning will be completed by 2027, with plans for a subsequent 200-year period of institutional control.


Isabelle Roy
Media Relations
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Tel: 613-996-6860 or 1-800-668-5284


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