Commission revokes Orano Canada Inc.’s uranium mine licence for the decommissioned Cluff Lake Project to facilitate its transfer to Saskatchewan’s Institutional Control Program
May 11, 2023 – Ottawa
Today, following a virtual public hearing on March 1, 2023, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced the Commission’s decision to revoke the uranium mine licence held by Orano Canada Inc. (Orano) for its decommissioned Cluff Lake Project. The Cluff Lake Project site is located in northwestern Saskatchewan, within Treaty 8 (1899) territory and the Homeland of the Métis and within the traditional territories of the Dene, Cree, and Métis peoples.
Orano intends to transfer the Cluff Lake Project site to Saskatchewan’s Institutional Control Program (ICP), which requires the Province of Saskatchewan to be exempted from licensing under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA). Therefore, as part of its decision on this matter, the Commission also exempted the Province of Saskatchewan from licensing for the Cluff Lake Project site, enabling its acceptance into the ICP.
In making its decision, the Commission considered oral and written submissions from Orano, CNSC staff and 12 intervenors. The CNSC also made participant funding available through its Participant Funding Program and invited interventions from Indigenous Nations and communities, members of the public and stakeholders. A funding review committee, independent of the CNSC, reviewed the funding applications received and made recommendations on the allocation of funds. Based on the committee’s recommendations, the CNSC awarded up to $201,699 to 6 applicants.
After reviewing all submissions, the Commission concluded that the decommissioning objectives and criteria established for the Cluff Lake Project have been met, that the site is passively safe, and that the site will remain passively safe for the long term. The Commission further concluded that exempting the Province of Saskatchewan from licensing under the NSCA for the Cluff Lake Project site will not pose an unreasonable risk to the environment, to the health and safety of persons, or to national security, nor will it result in a failure to achieve conformity with measures of control and international obligations to which Canada has agreed.
The record of decision is available upon request to the Commission Registry at email@example.com. All submissions and the hearing webcast are available on the CNSC website or on request. The hearing transcript is also available on request.
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. The Commission is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal set up at arm’s length from government, independent from any political, government or private sector influence.
- Orano applied for a licence revocation and licensing exemption on February 28, 2020.
- In August 2022, the CNSC made funding available through its Participant Funding Program to support Indigenous Nations and communities, members of the public and stakeholders in presenting their views to the Commission.
- The Commission held a virtual public hearing on March 1, 2023.
- Mining activity commenced at the Cluff Lake Project site in 1979 and ceased in 2002.
- Decommissioning activities began at the site in 2004 and were largely completed by 2006, with minimal infrastructure remaining to support post-closure monitoring. In 2013, the remaining structures and facilities were decommissioned.
- The Province of Saskatchewan’s ICP is designed to ensure that the properties in the program are monitored and managed in perpetuity.
- Information about CNSC oversight of uranium mines and mills waste
- Hearing submissions
- Hearing transcript, available upon request to the Commission Registry at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Archived video webcast of the hearing
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
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