Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Evaluation of the Transition Phase

Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations

The following table lists the acronyms and abbreviations used in the report:

Acronym/
Abbreviation
Meaning
ADM Assistant Deputy Minister
AECL Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
CAC Community Advisory Committees
CCME Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
CMP Construction Monitoring Program
CNSC Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
COPC Contaminant(s) of Potential Concern
DFO Department of Fisheries and Oceans
EA Environmental Assessment
ECR Engineering Change Request
EMP Environmental Monitoring Program
EPA Effective Project Approval
IWM Interim Waste Management
IWRA Intra-company Work Requisition Authorization
LLRWMO Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office
LTWMF Long-Term Waste Management Facility
MOE Ministry of the Environment of Ontario
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MPH Municipality of Port Hope
MTRL Municipal Tax Revenue Loss
NRCan Natural Resources Canada
PCP Property Compliance Program
PGP Port Granby Project
PGWMF Port Granby Waste Management Facility
PHAI MO Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office
PHP Port Hope Project
PPA Preliminary Project Approval
ppm Parts Per Million
PVP Property Value Protection Program
PWGSC Public Works and Government Services Canada
RFP Request for Proposal
RPP Report on Plans and Priorities
SCRA Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Cost Assessment Project
SED Strategic Evaluation Division (of NRCan)
URWD Uranium and Radioactive Waste Division
WWMF Welcome Waste Management Facility
WNSL Waste Nuclear Substance Licence

Executive Summary

Background

This report comprises an evaluation of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) focussing primarily on Phase 1A.Footnote 1

The PHAI is located in sub-activity 2.2.4 of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Program Activity Architecture for which the Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Sector is the effective project authority.Footnote 2  The evaluation covers expenditures of $43.8 million over the 2007-08 to 2010-11 timeframe.Footnote 3  Of the $43.8 million, $1,250,000 in grants has been paid through the Property Value Protection Program of the PHAI over the 2007-08 to 2010-11 timeframe to compensate property owners for loss of property value attributable to PHAI-related activities. The PHAI has no contribution element.

The PHAI is a community-based initiative established to develop and implement a safe local long-term management solution for the historicFootnote 4 low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope Ontario area, specifically within the Municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington.  The search for reaching mutual agreement regarding cleanup of the waste among all parties involved has been underway since the 1980s. The ~2.0 million cubic metres (m3) (1.2 million m3 in Port Hope and 0.5 million m3 in the Port Granby facility) of Port Hope area wastes constitute over 90% of all historic low-level radioactive waste in Canada - wastes for which the current owner cannot reasonably be held responsible and for which the federal government has accepted responsibilityFootnote 5.

The PHAI is comprised of two major projects – the Port Hope Project and the Port Granby Project – which are located along the north shore of Lake Ontario approximately 100 kilometres east of Toronto. Both projects involve the clean-up, construction and monitoring of long-term management facilities for the low-level radioactive waste. Of the two projects, the Port Hope Project involves higher uncertainty regarding the location and characteristics of the low-level radioactive waste, more direct stakeholders (since the low-level radioactive waste is located on residential properties in addition to other areas), and a larger volume of waste from a variety of sites.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) granted a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for the Port Hope Project in 2009, valid until December 31, 2014. The licence carries conditions related to routine reporting requirements, clean-up criteria and a set of design documents and plans for subsequent phases. As of March 31, 2011 (the end date of this evaluation), the submission for the Port Granby Project licence had yet to be scheduled.

In addition to the two projects, the PHAI has a number of components. These are:

  1. Programs delivered by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO), a division of AECL – these are, among others, the Environmental Monitoring Program, the Construction Monitoring Program, and Property Compliance Program (which comprise the Interim Waste Program);Footnote 6
  2. The Property Value Protection (PVP) Program (grant component);Footnote 7
  3. The Municipal Tax Revenue Loss (MTRL) Program (grant component);Footnote 8
  4. Communications and Consultations (C&C);
  5. Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT); and
  6. Complaints Resolution Program (CRP).

The PVP Program compensates owners of residential, commercial or industrial properties for financial losses encountered (e.g., on sale or rental of property, mortgage renewal difficulties) incurred as a direct effect of the PHAI. The MTRL Program compensates the municipalities for diminished municipal tax revenue resulting from property values being reduced as a result of the PHAI.

Since the PHAI is delivered cooperatively among various parties and levels of government, the consultations and communicationsFootnote 9 component of the PHAI is fundamental to the success of the Initiative.

Governance

The governance of the PHAI is founded on a Legal Agreement among the Government of Canada and the municipalities involved, and a Project Charter, which provides the operational framework for the PHAI.  NRCan is ultimately responsible for the PHAI and receives annual appropriations for it from the fiscal framework.

The Legal AgreementFootnote 10 commits the Government of Canada and the municipalities involved to work cooperatively, communicate openly and regularly consult to complete the projects with success. The Legal Agreement also commits the federal government to make payments of $10 million to each of the three signatory municipalities as host community fees; and established a three-phased approach to delivery of the PHAI (which has since expanded).  Phase 1 was the planning phase; Phase 2, the implementation phase; and Phase 3 was to be a longer-term monitoring and maintenance phase. Phase 1A was established in 2007 as a transition phaseFootnote 11 that would allow the work required to implement Phase 2 (e.g., regulatory and planning) to be completed.

The Project Charter provides the framework under which the PHAI operates. According to it, NRCan is responsible for strategic oversight and for ensuring that the appropriate approvals and authorities, including funding, are provided. Implemented in response to a recommendation of a previous evaluation of the PHAIFootnote 12, it created a Steering Committee chaired by NRCan that is intended to oversee delivery of the PHAI. Chaired by NRCan’s Director of the Uranium and Radioactive Waste Division (URWD), the Committee reports to the ADM, Energy Sector of NRCan. The PHAI Steering Committee is comprised of senior representatives from NRCan, AECL and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). Footnote 13  In 2001, NRCan designated AECL’s Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office as the proponent for the PHAI.

In 2008, a revised governance framework was proposed in response to emerging project needs: AECL was asked to form a dedicated PHAI Management Office for project delivery that included representatives from AECL (as the project manager and proponent for the environmental assessment and licensing), PWGSC (as the contract authority for the upcoming major design and implementation requirements), and NRCan representatives (to manage governance issues).Footnote 14

PHAI Resources

The original $50 million allocated to Phase 1 was almost expended ($47.7 million) by the end of 2007-08.  Amended Preliminary Project Approval was obtained in February 2008 with additional financing of $30 million to complete Phase 1A activities. The timeline for completion was extended by three years to March 2011 and then later extended to September 2011. The costs were validated through an Independent Verification and Validation study.

The PHAI has a small grants component for the Property Value Protection Program and the Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program totalling $250,000 for each fiscal year from 2008-09 through to 2011-12, and $30,000 in 2007-08.  Consistent with the current stage of the PHAI, there have been no claims made on the Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program.  Claims have been made through the Property Value Protection Program (see Table 2) starting in 2002.

Evaluation Scope and Approach

Although the main focus of this evaluation is Phase 1A, some of the evaluation issues also address the PHAI as a whole.

The objectives of this evaluation are to assess the relevance and performance of the PHAI in meeting its objectives; make recommendations for consideration by NRCan program and senior management; and present an accurate and timely verification of the initiative’s activities and outcomes.

Data collection encompassed the following five lines of evidence and incorporated input from a subject matter expert throughout:

  • key informant interviews (47 individuals);
  • document review (200 documents);
  • literature review (22 articles/publications reviewed);
  • international comparison (34 source documents, articles or web sites); and
  • four case studies: water treatment; granting programs; site survey and remediation trial; and communications.

Findings and Conclusions

Relevance and Performance

The overall conclusions are that the PHAI is relevant and that there is a continued need for the initiative. It is aligned with government priorities and is a federal role. Phase 1A has been reasonably effective, meeting most of its objectives and outcomes without generating any negative unanticipated outcomes. The initiative has tried to be cost efficient where possible, and its costs appear to be comparable to costs experienced in other projects of similar size, scope and risk. Its project management functions (e.g., risk assessment) are well carried out.

The initiative is addressing needs related to public confidence (regarding safety, property values and municipal revenues). Public confidence remains high according to survey data.Footnote 15

The PHAI continues to work with the municipalities; however, interview and file review data revealed that a number of issues have been raised by the municipalities, six of which have not been fully resolved, particularly with respect to the Municipality of Port Hope and for which the Municipality of Port Hope is seeking resolution. They are:

  • determination of the applicable clean-up criteria;
  • consideration of municipal and Peer Review Team inputs;
  • incorporation of issues raised by the municipality and Peer Review Team during the environmental assessment into the detailed design and PHAI implementation;
  • clarification/definition of municipality roles and responsibilities in the initiative;
  • adherence to the Legal Agreement; and
  • increased detail in designs, plans and protocols.

According to interview and document review data, all except the first of the issues rely largely on communications among the municipality(ies) and the PHAI; however, the first of these issues is a technical issue that requires action in the short term to ensure implementation of the PHAI. Some of the issues involve policy decisions that are being addressed by NRCan senior management.

Clean-up criteria were finalized in 2006.Footnote 16 The criteria were accepted by the CNSC as the regulator for federal sites and were incorporated into the licence conditions for the Port Hope Project. These criteria were also accepted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for all sites in Port Hope under its jurisdiction. These would apply to the numerous contaminated sites, including large municipally-owned sites such as the ravines and small-scale sites such as houses in the community.

The MOE, however, introduced new provincial clean-up criteria, referred to as generic site condition standards (hereafter referred to as ‘standards’),Footnote 17 in 2010 that came into effect on July 1, 2011. The new standards are more rigorous than the 2006 PHAI clean-up criteria, specifically in the case of uranium and other contaminants of potential concern such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, copper, and lead.Footnote 18

As of March 2011 (i.e., the end of the data collection process for this evaluation), the proposed clean-up plan met the requirements defined in the Legal Agreement which requires that the waste management facilities meet or exceed the regulatory requirements that applied at the time when the work was undertaken.Footnote 19   As of July 2011, the change in MOE standards could potentially impact the clean-up because the MOE standards are more stringent than the 2006 clean-up criteria.  The need to remediate to a higher standard could increase costs to PHAI.

The CNSC and MOE entered into discussions on this matter starting in January 2010. At the time of writing of this report (August 2011), technical assessments were being carried out by the CNSC at a third-party site using a testing protocol that encompasses both test methods and the laboratory to be used to carry out the testing. The goal of this effort is to develop harmonized standards between the MOE and CNSC for the areas in question. Clarification regarding situations where remediated lands change category (e.g., from public to private) is also being addressed by the two regulatory bodies.

The PHAI 1A is managing resources in an efficient and effective manner given that criteria for decision-making are based primarily on regulatory obligations, the use best available technology, risk management and public acceptance. In some instances, what appear to be economic and/or efficient alternative means have been deferred owing to such considerations.

The CNSC-MOE clean-up criteria/standards decision could have an impact on the volume of waste to be stored, which in turn could affect costs. Several options were identified by interviewees that would increase the effectiveness of soil testing at a lower cost. The international comparison data did not allow definitive cost-effectiveness conclusions to be drawn because of the variability of soil conditions (and contaminants) and cannot be presented in this report due to commercial confidentiality concerns. However, it can be concluded that the PHAI costs were comparable to those of other countries based on the estimated cost per volume of soil remediated.

Interview data indicates that there may be a potential cost issue regarding the Property Value Protection Program’s appeals process, in that there is no disincentive to making repeated (beyond a reasonable point) appeals since all of the costs of making appeals are paid by the PHAI. Analysis of appeals documentation shows that there is a need to clarify some definitions (e.g., what the term “project effect” means in terms of what appealers need to demonstrate as the cause of property value losses) as well as some roles and responsibilities to support the appeals process, making it clearer and more efficient.

Recommendations

The following recommendations are based on the data gathered by this evaluation. Some of the recommendations (1, 2, and 3) address findings at a strategic level; others (recommendations 4, 5 and 6) are more technical and are intended to address specific needs found in some of the Initiative’s elements:

RECOMMENDATIONS, MANAGEMENT RESPONSES AND ACTION PLANS
Recommendation Management Response Action Plan
1. NRCan should continue to support the CNSC in its efforts to resolve the clean-up criteria/standards question raised by the Ontario MOE’s new, more stringent requirement. Agreed. NRCan and CNSC staff continued to work with their Ontario counterparts to come to an agreement on the appropriate clean-up criteria/standards. These efforts began with senior management discussions, facilitated by Environment Canada staff, and the resultant action plan is now being carried out at the technical level.   Prior to the next CNSC hearing for the Port Hope Project, anticipated to be scheduled in early 2012:
  1. additional testing will be completed by the CNSC to confirm project specific criteria acceptable to both CNSC and MOE;
  2. NRCan, CNSC, MOE and PHAI MO will assess regulatory and other tools to support PHAI’s objective to clean-up sites to foreseeable unrestricted uses and define a preferred approach; and
  3. NRCan will consult with municipalities on the outcomes of a and b.
2. To further enhance its  management, NRCan should  work with the PHAI MO to resolve the remaining PHAI technical issues identified by the municipalities. Agreed. The new governance approach established by NRCan during the Transition Phase has improved project management.
NRCan and the PHAI MO have engaged the Municipality of Port Hope in a concerted effort to resolve outstanding issues.
NRCan, AECL and PWGSC are committed to supporting the current project management practices of the PHAI MO in Phase 2.
  1. NRCan and the PHAI MO will work with Port Hope to resolve outstanding issues, with a completion target of December 31, 2011;
  2. by the end of January 2012, NRCan, the PHAI MO, and Port Hope will establish an agreement providing:
    • clear principles related to respective roles and responsibilities in Phase 2;
    • a framework for effective dialogue among the parties, and
    • a framework to establish a municipal expediting team for Phase 2.
3. NRCan should work with the PHAI MO to ensure that more effective communications ties with the municipalities are established and maintained. Agreed. NRCan and the PHAI MO have begun discussions with the municipality aimed at improving communications. The action plan provided for 2, above, includes the establishment of a framework for effective dialogue among the parties, by the end of January, 2012.
4. NRCan should ensure that more small-scale remediation trials or pilots are conducted to test new processes used to identify and remove all contaminants of potential concern. This work would include validating cost estimates and testing the proposed revisions to soil testing. Agreed. NRCan supports a second small-scale site pilot remediation to confirm testing protocols and further validate cost estimates related to the remediation of the residential sites. NRCan will ensure that the PHAI MO conducts further remediation trials early in Phase 2 and that the results thereof will be factored into the clean-up and remediation protocols as well as the cost estimates prior to seeking approval for the remediation of residential sites.
5. NRCan should ensure that a resurvey is conducted by the PHAI MO as soon as possible to allow the estimates for low-level radioactive waste soil volumes and the concentrations of chemical and radionuclides to be identified more precisely for small-scale sites. Agreed. A comprehensive resurvey of properties within the Municipality of Port Hope will be initiated early in Phase 2, prior to NRCan seeking approval to remediate the Port Hope sites and construct the Port Hope facility. NRCan will require that the PHAI MO initiate a comprehensive resurvey of the properties in Port Hope at the outset of Phase 2 in order to ensure a higher level of certainty on the volume of soil requiring removal, the extent of remediation required, and the resultant implications on the Project.
6. With respect to the Property Value Protection Program, NRCan should modify the mechanism for managing appeals under the Property Value Protection Program to incorporate a disincentive to continued appeals; clarify the definition of the term “project effect” and the role of the Compensation Officer, and improve the communication of the requirement for, and description of, arms-length transactions. Agreed. The current Terms and Conditions of the Property Value Protection Program are due to expire March 31, 2012. The issue of modifying the appeals process will be considered as a part of a broader assessment of the program. NRCan will complete, prior to the expiry of the PVP Program, an independent assessment of the terms and conditions of the PVP Program for the purpose of assessing:
  • the eligibility criteria;
  • the definition of “project effect”;
  • the role of compensation officers,
  • the dispute mechanism or appeals process, and
  • possible improvements to communications.

NRCan will share the results of the assessment with the municipalities.

 

1.0 Introduction

The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is a community-based initiative established to develop and implement a safe local long-term management solution for the historicFootnote 20 low-level radioactive waste (hereafter referred to as ‘waste’ or ‘low-level radioactive waste’) in the Municipalities of Port Hope (the Port Hope Project) and Clarington (the Port Granby Project).

Terms of reference for the management of the low-level radioactive waste within each of the respective communities have been defined by a Legal Agreement which commits the Government of Canada and the municipalities to work cooperatively, communicate openly and regularly consult to complete the (Port Hope and Port Granby) projects with success. According to the arrangements made, above-ground low-level radioactive waste management facilities are to be designed and constructed in each community to contain the waste.

The area’s connection to the nuclear industry began in the 1930s when the former Eldorado Gold Mines Limited (Eldorado) built its first facility in the area. Pitchblende ores, rich in radium and uranium, from the Northwest Territories were shipped to the Town of Port Hope. The waste (residue) from refining of these ores became a source of contamination within the community during the plant’s early years of operation. The contaminated waste was dispersed within Port Hope from 1933 to the 1970s. From 1948 to 1955, the waste was placed and stored outside the town at the Welcome Waste Management Facility. In 1955, a new waste management facility was opened in Port Granby and operated until 1988 when Eldorado was dissolved and its assets were merged with those of a Saskatchewan Provincial Crown Corporation to form Cameco Corporation (hereafter referred to as Cameco).

The PHAI was launched in 2001. The period of time between 2001 and 2007-08 is described as ‘Phase 1’ of the PHAI, and consisted of taking initial measures to launch the PHAI. The period of time between 2008-09 and 2011 is referred to as the PHAI’s ‘Transition Phase’, or Phase 1A. The Transition Phase extended Phase 1 to allow the final preparations to be made for Phase 2, which is the implementation phase of the PHAI. The evaluation addresses the PHAI as a whole, as well as PHAI 1A in particular. It also encompasses fiscal year 2007-08 since that year was not encompassed by the previous evaluation and because funds were approved and allocated in 2007-08 to both phases.

This report is divided into six major sections:

  • Section 1 introduces the evaluation and the Port Hope Area Initiative;
  • Section 2 provides a program profile for the PHAI;
  • Section 3 describes the methodology for the evaluation;
  • Section 4 examines the relevance of the PHAI;
  • Section 5 examines the effectiveness of the PHAI Phase 1A;
  • Section 6 examines the efficiency of the PHAI and Phase 1A; and
  • Section 7 provides conclusions and recommendations.

2.0 Program Profile

2.1 Background

General Description

Dating back to the 1930s, this waste consists mainly of past process residues containing uranium and radium, and associated contaminated soils. Over 90% of Canada's historic radioactive waste is located in the Port Hope Ontario area, the result of activities of a former federal Crown corporation (Eldorado Nuclear) and its private sector predecessors. Approximately, two million cubic meters of waste are located in the area, at two large licencedFootnote 21 facilities, and at various smaller licenced and unlicenced sites within the Municipality of Port Hope.

After attempts by the industry, and later by the federal government, failed to identify a site to locate and manage the wastes for the long-term during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the local communities, (now the Municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington), approached the federal government with concepts for a local solution. The government accepted these concepts as a basis for moving forward, and in 2001, An Agreement for the Cleanup and the Long-Term Safe Management of Low-Level Radioactive Waste situated in the Town of Port Hope, the Township of Hope and the Municipality of Clarington was signed by the Crown and the municipalities.

The low-level radioactive waste encompassed by the PHAI is mainly soil contaminated with waste from the refinery, containing the isotope radium-226Footnote 22 as well as uranium and arsenic in various proportions, along with trace amounts of other heavy metals. Currently, the waste in the Port Hope area is consolidated at two licenced waste management facilities, four licenced interim consolidation sites, and nine unlicenced contaminated sites, in addition to being present at a larger number of miscellaneous sites throughout Ward 1 of the Municipality of Port Hope. AECL,Footnote 23 through the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office and the PHAI MO, conducts regular inspections and ongoing monitoring of the known sites and updates its records to reflect sites that are discovered during routine construction (under the Construction Monitoring Program).

Previous Evaluation 2006-2007

A 2006-07 evaluation of Phase 1 of the PHAIFootnote 24 found that while the PHAI was being carried out in a cost-effective manner, milestones were not being achieved within the planned timeframes, and the reporting structure was not clear. The evaluation determined that the resources required to complete the planned work were underestimated from project inception and that the work required in order to begin Phase 2 had not been completed.

The evaluation made the following recommendations:

  1. NRCan and the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office should produce up-to-date cost estimates for Phase 2 as soon as possible;
  2. NRCan should define the project management, contracting model, and involvement of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office for Phase 2 as soon as possible;
  3. a transition period of 18-24 months should be used to prepare for Phase 2; and
  4. the roles and responsibilities of NRCan, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office and other government departments involved should be clearly defined by developing detailed formal agreements addressing the various issues identified in the evaluation.

Management agreed with those recommendations and presented an action plan as part of the management response. The action plan provided a starting point for the present evaluation of PHAI activities.

The initial planning for PHAI in 2000-01 had three phases: Phase 1 for Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Affairs; Phase 2 for Implementation; and Phase 3 for Management and Monitoring of the waste facilities. Timelines have shifted for a variety of reasons (as shown in the following diagram) and a supplemental transition phase was added between Phases 1 and 2. This evaluation report covers the period April 2007-08 to 2010-11, as amended.Footnote 25

Original and Adjusted PHAI Time Frames

Original and Adjusted PHAI Time Frames

Transition Phase 1A

The following table provides a summary of the milestones added to the PHAI 1 and 1A, which were the basis of the PHAI budget increase requests. The status of the milestones was updated through this evaluation (as of March 2011) and is contained in Appendix D. It should be noted that these milestones and their status continue to be updated regularly.

Table 1: Summary of PHAI Milestones and Commitments
Original (2001) Amendment 2008 Amendment 2009
  • Legal Agreement is signed and Phase 1 begins (Spring 2001)
  • Selected elements of communication plan are initiated (Spring 2001)
  • Responsible federal authorities release environmental assessment scoping guidelines (mid 2001)
  • Completion of environmental assessment process with decisions on how to proceed (mid 2004)
  • Submission for Effective Project Approval (2005-06)
  • Issuance of CNSC construction licences, start of Phase 2 and transfer of lands to Canada (2005-06)
  • Beginning of actual construction (2006)
  • Completion of construction phase and start of long-term monitoring (2013)
  • Receipt of Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for Port Hope and Port Granby
  • Interim waste management in Port Hope (ongoing*)
  • Municipal administrative cost recovery (ongoing*)
  • Federal property management (ongoing*)
  • Communications and consultation (ongoing*)
  • Operational costs (ongoing*)
  • Resurvey program defined (protocol, criteria) (2009-10)
  • First year of resurvey program completed (2010-11)
  • Land acquisition option for PH facility exercised (2009-10)
  • Land acquisition option for Port Granby facility exercised (2010-11)
  • Signature of Project Charter, governance framework (2008-09)
  • Transition to new governance framework (2008-09)
  • Design work for substantive cost estimate for the major work packages (construction) (2009-10)
  • Design work for substantive cost estimate for remaining work packages (remediation) (2010-11)
  • Cost estimate for implementation finalized (2010-11)
  • Amendment or Status Report on Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for Port Hope Project (2011-12)
  • CNSC public review of Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for Port Hope Project (2011-12)
  • Design and preconstruction activities related to access to Port Hope Waste Management Facility (PHWMF (2009-10)
  • Maintenance and upgrades to existing water treatment facilities at Port Hope (PH) and Port Granby (2009-11)
  • Water treatment facility technology investigation at Port Hope and Port Granby (2009-11)
  • Design for water treatment facilities – new for Port Hope expanded for Port Granby (2010-11)
  • Water treatment design at Highland Drive South Ravine (2009-11)

Source: Compiled from PHAI Annual Project Status Reports 2008-09, 2009-10, original program documentation; Audit and Evaluation Branch, NRCan, Phase I of the Port Hope Area Initiative Evaluation, AEB Project: EV0703 2007; and interview data.

* “Ongoing” refers to activities identified in the Legal Agreement and carried out since 2001. They are included in the Amendment 2008 column to reflect where they are specifically mentioned in the program documentation amendments.

2.2 Description

Elements of PHAI

The PHAI is comprised of two major projects: the Port Hope Project and the Port Granby Project, which are along the north shore of Lake Ontario, approximately 100 kilometres east of Toronto. The following map shows the location of key sites:

The following map shows the location of key site

Both projects involve the clean-up, construction and monitoring of long-term storage facilities for the low-level radioactive waste. The Port Hope Project differs from the Port Granby Project in that the Port Hope Project involves more uncertainty regarding the location and characteristics of the low-level radioactive waste, more direct stakeholders (since some of the low-level radioactive waste is located on residential properties), and larger volume of waste from a variety of sites.

Separate environmental assessments were carried out for the two projects. The decision for Port Hope was issued in 2007 and for Port Granby in 2009. Separate licences will be issued by the CNSC for each project.

The CNSC granted a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for the Port Hope Project in 2009, valid until December 31, 2014.  The licence carries conditions related to routine reporting requirements, clean-up criteria and a set of design documents and plans for subsequent phases. As of the end of data collection for this report, the submission required for the Port Granby licence was being prepared, and the hearing had not yet been planned.

Port Hope Project

The Port Hope Ontario area contains the vast majority of Canada’s historic LLRW, in excess of 90%. The waste dates back to the 1930s when radium was extracted from pitchblende ores for medical and industrial applications at a refinery in the municipality. The LLRW is primarily soil contaminated with waste material from the refinery.Footnote 26

The Port Hope Project involves the construction of a new long-term waste management facility at the closed Welcome Waste Management Facility and adjacent property, south of Highway 401 and west of Baulch Road, in the Municipality of Port Hope.  Existing waste at the site will be excavated and placed in a new, long-term management facility which consists of an engineered above-ground mound where the waste is intended to be managed for hundreds of years.Footnote 27

Other low-level radioactive waste and specified industrial waste from various sites in the urban area of Port Hope will be removed and transported to the new facility.  The capacity of the Port Hope Project facility is approximately 2 million cubic metres of waste (including contingencies and daily clean soil cover materials).Footnote 28 The Port Hope Project also involves a resurvey and remediation of residential properties in Ward 1. The resurvey is necessary to confirm which properties will require remediation and to better characterizeFootnote 29 the waste material at those sites.

Port Granby Project

The Port Granby Project involves the transport of low-level radioactive waste from an existing but inactive licenced waste management facility to a new long-term waste management facility. The site location was changed through input received during the environmental assessment process. The concern expressed focused on the proximity of the proposed site to the waterfront and the potential for contaminant leeching into Lake Ontario. The new site is situated on stable till 700 metres away from the steep bluffs, receding shoreline and sandy soils that characterize the existing waste site.Footnote 30

The Port Granby process is slightly less advanced than the Port Hope process due to the extra technical reports requested by the community during the environmental assessment.

For the Port Granby Project, a staged-development two-cell configuration was established to accommodate the target capacity of approximately 500,000 m3 of waste material from the existing waste management facility

Other Elements of PHAI

Other elements of the PHAI are carried out in accordance with the Legal Agreement, namely:

  1. The Property Value Protection Program;
  2. The Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program;
  3. Stakeholder communications and community outreach; and
  4. The Interim Waste Management activities.
Property Value Protection ProgramFootnote 31

The Property Value Protection Program, outlined in Article 8 of the Legal Agreement, was launched in October 2001. It is designed to compensate owners of residential, commercial or industrial properties for financial losses realized (e.g., on sale or rental of property, mortgage renewal difficulties) as a consequence of the PHAI in designated parts of the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. The Property Value Protection Program has played a major role in maintaining property values, stabilizing the local real estate market, and maintaining local support for the clean-up. The Terms and Conditions supporting the Property Value Protection Program were renewed in 2008 until March, 2012.

The Property Value Protection Program will have paid out $1.2 millionFootnote 32 in claims by the end of March, 2011.Footnote 33

Municipal Tax Revenue LossFootnote 34 Program

The Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program compensates the municipalities for diminished municipal tax revenue resulting from property values being reduced as a result of the PHAI. No claims have been received or awarded under this program, which is capped at $65,000 per year for Port Hope and $5,000 for Port Granby. The Terms and Conditions supporting the Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program expire in March 2012.

Communications and ConsultationsFootnote 35

The continued support of the municipalities is critical for the success of the initiative; hence, maintaining positive relations with the affected communities is important. To facilitate this, the PHAI maintains an outreach office in Port Hope, and has located the PHAI MO in Port Hope to ensure that direct management of the PHAI occurs in the local area. Communications materials are produced by the PHAI MO, and the office has dedicated staff to respond to enquiries from the public and media regarding PHAI activities. While the Legal Agreement makes provision for a community advisory committee (CAC), both municipalitiesFootnote 36 have chosen to carry out these activities themselves.Footnote 37

PHAI MO staff present regularly to municipal councils and the general public. As well, an Agreement Monitoring Group – chaired by NRCan and composed of representatives from each municipality, PHAI MO – meets regularly to discuss issues arising from PHAI activities.

Interim Waste ManagementFootnote 38

Over the past approximately 30 years, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) has provided Interim Waste Management, which has three components:

  • the Construction Management Program (CMP);
  • the Property Compliance Program (PCP); and
  • the Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP).

These programs were established prior to the start of the PHAI and are part of the LLRWMO’s national mandate. The ongoing Interim Waste Management activities will continue until the waste clean-up is complete. Support under these three programs will continue to be provided by the LLRWMO as new facilities are constructed and final remediation of sites is completed during future phases of the Port Hope Area Initiative. The funding for these ongoing activities is not considered to be part of the PHAI.

Activities

The major activities of the PHAI Phase 1A are:

  • establishment of the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office (PHAI MO) governance structure;
  • licensing for the Port Hope and Port Granby Projects;
  • detailed design of long-term waste management facilities for Port Hope and Port Granby projects;
  • preparation of schedules and excavation plans for cleanups in Port Hope and at Port Granby Waste Management Facility;
  • implementation of the environmental assessment (EA) follow-up programs to reduce and monitor project effects on people and the environment;
  • construction of the access road to the proposed Port Hope facility;
  • pilot testing of the water treatment plants;
  • Port Hope Project Trial Resurvey;
  • design of the upgrades needed to municipal infrastructure (to support safe transportation);
  • ongoing delivery of the programs set out in the Legal Agreement; and
  • Receipt of necessary approvals to begin Phase 2.Footnote 39

2.3 Authorities

The authority for the PHAI is provided by subsection 7(2) of the Resources and Technical Surveys Act, paragraphs 10(b) and (c) of the Nuclear Energy Act, as authorized by Order-in-Council (OIC) 1977-2738 as amended by OIC 1983-663, and Federal Real Property Regulations, section 4.(1).

2.4 Governance, Roles and Responsibilities

The LLRWMO, a division of AECL, is authorized by an Order-in-Council to carry out radioactive waste management functions, and was named by NRCan as the project proponent and manager in 2001. This role changed in 2009 when the PHAI MO was established.

In 2001, the PHAI’s objectives and scope were identified in the Agreement for the Clean-up and the Long-Term Safe Management of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Situated in the Town of Port Hope, the Township of Hope and the Municipality of Clarington (also referred to as the Legal Agreement). It has been amended three times, the most recent being in 2009.Footnote 40

In 2009, the PHAI MO was created and assumed operational management of the PHAI from the LLRWMO. A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning implementation of the Port Hope Area Initiative for the Transition Phase was signed by NRCan, AECL, and PWGSC in 2009.  It identified the roles and responsibilities of the participants during the Transition Phase, and clarified the relationships among them for the purposes of the initiative’s delivery.Footnote 41

NRCan is ultimately responsible for the PHAI. The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Energy Sector of NRCan is the effective project authority, and this authority has been delegated to the Director of the URWD, who also chairs the PHAI Steering Committee.Footnote 42

The Project Charter provides the framework under which the PHAI operates. NRCan, as the project sponsor, is responsible for strategic oversight and for ensuring that the appropriate approvals and authorities, including funding, are provided. AECL is responsible for the overall conduct of the PHAI. It is also the proponent for the environmental assessments and licensee; PWGSC is the contract authority on behalf of the Government of Canada and is responsible for the major contracts and acquisition activities associated with the PHAI (note: the MOU also identifies roles and responsibilities of the involved parties).Footnote 43

The Project Charter created a Steering Committee chaired by NRCan to oversee delivery of the PHAI. Chaired by NRCan’s Director of the URWD, the Committee reports to the ADM Energy Sector of NRCan. The PHAI Steering Committee is comprised of senior representatives from AECL, NRCan and PWGSC as follows:

  • from NRCan: the Director, URWD;
  • from AECL: the Vice President and General Manager, Decommissioning and Waste Management; and
  • from PWGSC: the Ontario Regional Director of Professional & Technical Programs.Footnote 44

The PHAI MO is a limited term project organization charged with the responsibility for planning and managing the implementation of the PHAI on behalf of the tripartite (NRCan, AECL, and PWGSC) MOU signatory organizations.

The PHAI MO is led by a Project Director who reports administratively to AECL (AECL Vice-President and General Manager of Decommissioning and Waste Management) and is accountable to the PHAI Steering Committee.Footnote 45 The Project Director is responsible for PHAI MO operations as well as AECL’s contributions to the PHAI. The Major Contracts Program Manager, PWGSC and the NRCan Program Advisor are responsible for PWGSC’s and NRCan’s respective contributions.Footnote 46 The PHAI MO is a matrix organization with staff which includes employees from AECL, PWGSC, and NRCan.Footnote 47

In addition, the municipalities, the PHAI MO and NRCan have established an Agreement Monitoring Group to review project commitments made through the Legal Agreement and facilitate communications between the PHAI and the municipalities. This group has been meeting regularly since 2001.

2.5 Resources

In March 2001, Preliminary Project Approval was obtained for the PHAI including funding for $260 million for all phases of the initiative. This included $30 million in grants to the municipalities which was disbursed immediately (host community assistance grants), and expenditure authority to proceed with the initiative’s definition phase (Phase 1) of $50 million. At that time, Phase 1 was expected to last five years.

The original $50 million was almost expended ($47.7 million) by the end of 2007. In 2007, it was agreed that a transition phase was required in order to complete Phase 1 and prepare for Phase 2 of PHAI (Phase 2 being the phase where implementation of the initiative would start, with the actual construction and remediation work taking place). Amended Preliminary Project Approval was obtained in February 2008 with the approval of the additional $30 million to complete what were defined as transition phase (Phase 1A) activities in the original program documentation. The costs of the PHAI planning phase (i.e., Phases 1 and 1A) were validated through the Independent Verification and Validation Study completed in 2009.Footnote 48 The timeline for completion was extended by three years to March and later, September 2011.

In late 2009, another amendment was made to the Preliminary Project Approval, and additional funding of $17.8 million was approved to address regulatory and municipal issues that had been identified through a number of initiative activities. A final amendment was made in 2010 for $4.7 million to address the building of the access road to the Welcome Waste Management Facility in Port Hope.

In summary, spending authority of $103 million was provided to complete all activities now defined as Phase 1 and Phase 1A.

Table 2 summarizes PHAI expenditures as submitted to central agencies from 2001 to 2011:

Table 2: Port Hope Area Initiative Expenditures by Vote (in $’000) to March 31, 2011
Phase Fiscal
Year
Community Claims
(vote 1)
Grants & Contributions
(vote 5)
Property
Acquisition
(vote 10)
Operations
(vote 1)
Total
Phase 1 2000-01 0 0* 0 1,300 1,300
2001-02 109 8 765 5,118 6,000
2002-03 330 3 420 7,682 8,435
2003-04 529 5 0 8,577 9,111
2004-05 962 12 700 7,069 8,743
2005-06 542 22 85 5,762 6,411
2006-07 539 8 0 4,354 4,901
2007-08+ 283 0 0 2,517 2,800
sub-total** 3,294 58 1,970 42,379 47,701
TransitionPhase 2007-08+ 94 0 0 1,091 1,185
2008-09 519 74 0 4,394 4,987
2009-10 629 575 0 6,122 7,326
2010-11*** 1,347 601 0 28,340 30,288
sub-total 2,589 1,250 0 39,947 43,786
PHAI Total 5,883 1,308 1,970 82,326 91,487

Source: internal AECL documentation.
* Community host fees of $30 million excluded from this table.
** Adjusted to reflect a reallocation totaling $2.248M of expenditures made by NRCan in FY 2003-04, 2004-05, and 2005-06 and prior to evaluation period.
*** The amount expended in 2010-11 came from PHAI funding in reference levels and funding cash managed internally by NRCan including the reallocated Phase 1 funds.
+ Phase 1A was approved by central agencies at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2007-08. Thus expenditures for both Phase 1 and 1A occurred during 2007-08.

3.0 Evaluation Approach and Methodologies

3.1 Evaluation Objectives and Scope

The objectives of the evaluation were to:

  • assess the relevance and performance of the PHAI in meeting its objectives with a focus on the Transition Phase (1A);
  • make recommendations for consideration by NRCan program and senior management; and
  • present an accurate and timely verification of the initiative’s activities and outcomes.

The scope of the evaluation includes activities that are taking or have occurred during the four-year period 2007-08 to 2009-10 (later expanded to include up to March 2011 with the exception of later developments with respect to the standards). Some issues address the PHAI as a whole.

3.2 Evaluation Issues

The following are the evaluation issues explored during this evaluation. A full evaluation framework is found in Appendix C, including sub-questions.

Relevance

  1. Is there a continued need for the PHAI?
  2. Is the PHAI aligned with government priorities?
  3. Is the PHAI aligned with federal roles and responsibilities?

Performance: Effectiveness

  1. To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of PHAI 1A?
  2. Have there been unintended (positive or negative) outcomes of PHAI 1A?

Performance: Efficiency

  1. Is the approach being used by the PHAI the most economic and efficient means of achieving outputs and progress toward outcomes?
  2. How could the PHAI be improved?

3.3 Evaluation Methodologies

Data collection was collected for the following lines of evidence:

  • PHAI and stakeholders interviews (47 individuals);
  • document Review (200 documents);
  • literature Review (22 articles/publications reviewed);
  • international comparison (34 source documents, articles and web sites); and
  • four case studies: water treatment, granting programs (e.g., PVP), site survey and remediation trial, and communications.

Interviewees were selected using the criterion of area of responsibility in order to represent all partner and other PHAI stakeholder groups. A census approach was taken to represent all areas of responsibility in the PHAI organizations at the senior management and senior staff levels.  All senior managers of all areas of responsibility (based on the PHAI organization chart) were interviewed, as well as senior staff (to avoid selection bias).  Sub-categories of interviewees were:

  • partners (NRCan, AECL, PWGSC excluding PHAI staff) – 14;
  • regulators (CNSC and Ontario MOE) – 6;
  • PHAI staff – 8;
  • municipality representatives – 7;
  • public interest groups – 3; and
  • contractors/private sector – 10.  

A subject matter expert was engaged to provide technical advice on matters related to radioactive waste throughout the evaluation.

Case study selection criteria were: representation of the major requirements of the Legal Agreement; existence of data; opportunity to illustrate key aspects of PHAI operations and experience to date; coverage of evaluation issues; opportunity to identify lessons learned; and senior program management need for information.

Document selection was based on standard evaluation practice (e.g., initial program documentation, annual reports, program files, etc.) as well as documents identified through interviews and by the subject matter expert.

Selection of international comparison countries was based on the document and literature reviews, interview data and subject matter expert guidance.

3.4 Evaluation Limitations

Timing: The evaluation used the date of March 31, 2011 as the cut-off for the scope of activities. Many significant Phase 1A activities resulted in delivery of documents, plans and cost estimates after March 31, 2011. In some instances, findings could become dated in the time between evidence gathering and the production of the final evaluation report as new evidence emerges. Due to key developments in the PHAI following March 31, 2011 with respect to the standards issue, the decision was taken by evaluation leaders to extend the scope to August 2011 to allow inclusion of the standards developments.

Interviews: In many instances, the evaluation team interviewed contractors or staff who were directly involved in the efforts to achieve PHAI objectives. Questions related to the effectiveness and efficiency could result in a bias from the interviewees should they fail to objectively consider their efforts. The PHAI has a long history and is a complex undertaking. Some interviewees’ interaction with PHAI was limited to certain project activities, and therefore could only provide a limited perspective on some evaluation issues. Interview data is by nature subjective.  The use of multiple lines of evidence and drawing on a relatively large number of interviewees were used to mitigate against this risk.

Document Review: The findings of the document review may become superseded by new information produced by the PHAI MO. Where recent events outside of the scope of this evaluation address points raised in this report, (for example as identified by the evaluation’s advisory committee), they are noted as footnotes.

Literature Review: Due to the uniqueness of the PHAI world-wide, it was difficult to locate articles or publications that were directly relevant to the particular and unique circumstances of the PHAI. To mitigate the impacts of these limitations, the literature review was aligned to evaluation issues rather than particular indicators as such level of specificity was found to be unlikely. In addition, the advice of the subject matter expert was sought to prioritize the material.

International Comparison: It was difficult to identify international situations that were comparable to the situation in Port Hope. The Port Hope clean-up is unique in that it is being carried out within a municipality and is cleaning up historic waste from a variety of contaminated sites. Due to time and financial resource limitations, the international comparison did not include contacting officials in other countries. Publicly available documents, web sites and published literature were used and these could have a self-selection bias (e.g., government web sites may decide not to post information that highlights any challenges).

Case Studies: For the Water Treatment Case Study, a visit to the Granby waste management facility site was not possible as this site was not under PHAI control yet and was a private site (thus presenting access difficulties for the evaluation team that could not be resolved within the study’s time frame).

In the case of the granting programs, the team did not interview any unsuccessful initiative/program users (i.e., someone whose claim was denied) due to potential litigation. Material used in this evaluation was assembled from comments provided by claimants.

With respect to the Site Survey and Remediation Case Study, the Resurvey and Remediation Trial final report was still under development by the contractor and was not expected to be finalized until June 2011 – after the finalization of this evaluation report. It was therefore not possible to validate comments made during the interviews with the final report in terms of budgets and costs. Due to privacy concerns, it was also not possible to collect reports on the individual sites, although two site reports were viewed at the PHAI MO offices.

For the Communications Case Study, it was not possible to assess communication needs across all the various partners. The focus was limited to a selection of entities in Port Hope that directly relate to the PHAI MO.  

4.0 Evaluation Findings - Relevance

To address the question of relevance the evaluation examined three evaluation issues:

  • Is there a continued need for the Program?
  • Is the Program aligned with government priorities?
  • Is the Program aligned with federal roles and responsibilities?

The relevance of the Transition Phase of the PHAI is directly related to the relevance of the entire initiative. In addressing the three evaluation issues related to relevance, the evaluation team considered the entire Port Hope Area Initiative as opposed to only Phase 1A.

4.1Evaluation Issue 1: Need for the PHAI

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
1. Is there a continued need for the PHAI? Document review;
literature review; and
stakeholder interviews
Yes. The original objectives have not been met for the PHAI or the Transition Phase.

 

Summary:

Several outcomes of the Transition Phase had not been met as of the end of March 2011, notably the two final outcomes of: (a) completing the regulatory review process for implementation; and (b) putting in place a governance framework, designs and cost estimates for implementing the Port Hope Area Initiative.

 The finding is based on the data gathered for the following indicators:

4.1.a.  What needs are the PHAI Transition Phase and its components addressing?

The Phase 1A needs are contained in the logic model for Phase 1A (Appendix B) and are listed in Table 3:

Table 3: Phase 1A Planned Outcomes
Timeframe Outcome
Immediate Community support and confidence in PHAI maintained
Immediate Roles and responsibilities of project related authorities defined
Immediate Governing technical design authority engaged
Intermediate EA for Port Granby and licensing decision for PH and PG made and regulatory obligations defined
Intermediate Project related risks and liabilities are reduced
Intermediate Procurement approach established and defined
Final Regulatory review process complete for implementation
Final Governance framework, designs and cost estimates in place to implement the PH area clean-up

Project status reports are clear on the continued need for the initiative given that the purpose of the PHAI as a whole has not been fulfilled – namely establishing and maintaining a long-term solution to the long-term management of low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and Port Granby.

After attempts by the industry – and later the federal government – during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s failed to identify a site to manage the wastes for the long-term, the local communities of Port Hope, Hope Township, and Clarington approached the federal government with a local, municipally-driven solution. In October, 2000, the Minister of Natural Resources negotiated a Legal Agreement with the three communities toward a Port Hope area solution.Footnote 49

The Principles of Understanding, Legal Agreement, and Project Charter outline the needs that the PHAI is addressing – namely the clean-up and long-term safe management of an estimated two million cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste situated within the Municipality of Port Hope and Municipality of Clarington. These documents, along with initial program documentation, established the PHAI and its components. These components include the Property Value Protection Program, to address the needs of property owners who may be adversely affected; and the Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program, to address the needs of the municipalities if tax revenue is lost due to the initiative.

A Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office was established in 1982, and further supported by the Government of Canada’s repeated commitments in the Principles of Understanding, the Legal Agreement and all activities stemming from those commitments. The move to the Principles of Understanding and the subsequent Legal Agreement was made possible by the municipalities’ decision to allow the waste situated within their respective municipal boundaries to be stored for the long-term within their own boundaries.

A previous evaluation of the PHAI, conducted in 2006-07, identified a need for better communication of roles and responsibilities and improvements in management techniques. Phase 1A was established in order to allow steps to prepare for Phase 2 to be completed.

In the screening reports that resulted from the environmental assessment process, the CNSC and NRCan considered that the need for relocating wastes and managing them in a suitably constructed, environmentally safe, socially acceptable and appropriately controlled state over the long term was well demonstrated.

Interviewees reported that the PHAI was addressing needs related to public confidence regarding their personal safety from radioactivity and the likelihood that the clean-up would not negatively impact the property values or the municipality financially. Interviewees also felt that public concerns would increase as the PHAI entered the construction phase.

The literature review identified that it was generally internationally accepted that historic low-level radioactive waste required remediation for a variety of reasons. The United Kingdom, United States, Australia and France, for example, have specific programs to deal with the clean- up of historic low-level radioactive waste.

4.1.b.  To what extent are the identified needs being met?

Table 3 above lists the objectives of the Transition Phase. The needs addressed by these objectives are being met to various degrees, and as of the end of March 2011 were projected to be met by September 2011, when the Transition Phase is scheduled to end.

PHAI quarterly progress reports provide the best overview of where the initiative stands in terms of meeting its objectives. As of September 2010, the quarterly progress reports noted that the PHAI was making progress, but the final resolution, the completion of the long-term waste facilities and the remediation of all sites, was still at least 10 years in the future.

4.1.c.  To what extent do these needs continue to exist?

According to the Legal Agreement, business pans and project progress reports, the initiative has not been completed so the need still exists. The needs will not begin to be fully met until the end of Phase 2 when the sites designed in Phase 1A are built. Phase 2 requires Effective Project Approval by Treasury Board of the plans developed in Phase 1. Future project management needs will increase as the initiative enters the construction phase (Phase 2). During this phase, the two Waste Management Facilities and their associated water treatment facilities will be built and waste will be reclaimed from the various sites and located in the newly constructed mounds.

The initiative is addressing needs related to public confidence regarding safety, confidence that the cleanup will not impact property values and assurances that the Initiative will not impact the municipalities financially.  Public confidence remains high according to survey data.Footnote 50  Other information gathered by the evaluation also supports this finding (e.g., community communication events are conducted and well attended, and PHAI staff maintain a strong visible presence in the communities).

4.2 Evaluation Issue 2: Government Priorities

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
2.  Is the PHAI aligned with government priorities? Document review. Yes.

 

Summary:

The initiative is aligned with government priorities. The clean-up of federal contaminated sites was first identified as a priority in the 1999 Speech from the Throne and reiterated in 2004 and 2007.   The 2010-11 NRCan Report on Plans and Priorities elements regarding managing radioactive waste, and the PHAI itself are directly linked to environmental leadership and stewardship, which are ongoing strategic objectives for NRCan.

The finding is based on the data gathered for the following indicators:

4.2.a.  To what federal government priorities are the PHAI linked?

The PHAI, including Phase lA, is linked to the following federal government priorities and policies:

  • the 1999 Speech From the ThroneFootnote 51 – clean-up of federal contaminated sites;
  • the 2004 Speech from the Throne;Footnote 52
  • the 2007 Speech from the Throne;Footnote 53
  • the Policy on the Management of Major Capital projects (2007);Footnote 54
  • the Policy on the Management of Projects (2010);Footnote 55 and
  • NRCan RPP 2010-11: Managing Nuclear Issues.Footnote 56

4.2.b To what strategic departmental objective is the PHAI 1A linked?

In the NRCan Report on Plans and Priorities 2010-11, Managing Nuclear Issues is identified as a departmental priority, including the management of low-level radioactive waste. The clean-up of contaminated federal sites continues to be a priority for the government. The PHAI is fully integrated into the work of NRCan, documented as a sub-sub-activity within the NRCan Program Activity Architecture (Strategic Outcome 2, Program Activity 2.2, Sub-activity 2.2.4, Sub-sub-activity 2.2.4.2).

4.2.c To what extent (and how) does the PHAI 1A carry out the Strategic Outcome of Environmental Stewardship?

The PHAI fulfills the responsibilities for the management of low-level radioactive waste which is in complete support of the Strategic Outcome of Environmental Stewardship. Under Program Activity 2.2 Ecosystem Risk Management, NRCan has established the objective of managing nuclear issues. PHAI contributes by “continuing progress on the long-term management of the federal responsibility of radioactive waste.Footnote 57

4.3 Evaluation Issue 3: Is the Program aligned with federal roles and responsibilities?

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
3. Is the Program aligned with federal roles and responsibilities? Document review;
literature review;
stakeholder interviews; and  
international comparison.
Yes.

 

Summary:

The PHAI is aligned with federal roles and responsibilities. The Government of Canada accepted responsibility for the management of low-level radioactive waste. In 1982, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office was established to deal with the low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and other parts of Canada. The Government of Canada (Minister of Natural Resources) signed a Legal Agreement with the municipalities that outlined the parameters of managing historic low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope and Port Granby area. All phases to date received effective project approvals from central agencies. Further, matters dealing with nuclear processes fall under federal jurisdiction in Canada under the Nuclear Energy Act and the Canada Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

This finding is based on the data gathered for the following indicators:

4.3.a Should the Government of Canada be involved in implementing and managing a low- level radioactive waste clean-up project?

The federal government accepted responsibility and a federal role in the clean-up of low-level radioactive waste.  In 1982, it established the LLRWMO. This was reinforced by the Principles of Understanding developed in1999 and the Legal Agreement of 2001. The Nuclear Energy Act is the legislative authority.

Governments in other countries also take responsibility for historic waste or waste that is the result of government operations. The United States has programs such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund which maintains a national priority list for the remediation of nuclear waste sites. The United Kingdom has the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which is charged with management of historic low-level radioactive waste found in sites that are being decommissioned. The Belgian National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials, created in 1980, is responsible for managing all radioactive waste in Belgium.  Similar organizations exist in France, Germany and Spain.

4.3.b.  Are the appropriate authorities engaged in the initiative?

All of the parties that should be involved in the PHAI are active in it although the roles and responsibilities of some (e.g., the municipalities) are not entirely clear according to interview and file review evidence.

The regulatory bodies involved are the CNSC and MOE. Interview data indicates that the role of the CNSC as regulatory authority for nuclear waste processing by-products is recognized and deferred regarding the waste management facilities as appropriate. MOE interviewees noted that the MOE plans to participate in the CNSC hearings as an observer and advisor. The CNSC is in discussion with the MOE on how to harmonize regulatory oversight of the PHAI.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans was involved in the PHAI due to the harbour remediation. It withdrew, once the decision was made to move the site of the new Port Granby Long Term Waste Management Facility inland. Other federal government departments that have been involved include Health Canada, Environment Canada, and Transport Canada.  Interviewees could not identify any federal agencies that should have been engaged and were not.

Both the Municipality of Port Hope and Municipality of Clarington are engaged and receive financial support from the PHAI for PHAI activities, such as the Peer Review Teams. However, interview data and file review clearly indicate that there are differing impressions between the municipalities and the PHAI as to the role of the municipalities, and how their input is considered.Footnote 58 AECL [as the project manager, licencee, proponent for the environmental assessments and deliverer of the community programs assured in the Legal Agreement]; and PWGSC [as the procurement specialists] are engaged in the PHAI, consistent with the Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Project Charter.

5.0 Evaluation Findings - Performance: Effectiveness

The Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation 2009 defines effectiveness as the “extent to which a program is achieving expected outcomes”. This evaluation defined and assessed outcomes of the PHAI Phase 1A using outcomes defined in the PHAI 1A Logic Model found in Appendix B and Table 3 of this report. To address the question of effectiveness, the evaluation focused on two evaluation issues:

  • To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of PHAI 1A?
  • Have there been unintended (positive or negative) outcomes of PHAI 1A?

5.1 Evaluation Issue 4: To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the PHAI 1A?

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
4. To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the PHAI Transition Phase? Document review;
stakeholder interviews and
case studies.
All immediate outcomes have been achieved.  The remaining intermediate and final outcomes are either not achieved or partially achieved.

 

Summary:

Of the eight program outcomes, all three immediate outcomes have been achieved; one intermediate outcome has been achieved and two have been partially achieved. One of the two final outcomes has been partially achieved, and the other is not yet achieved. Program officials and other stakeholders expect that the outstanding outcomes will be realized by the end of Phase 1A in September 2011 (amended date). Significant issues need to be resolved in the short term such as the MOE standards, municipal issues and completion of the regulatory process.

The evaluation work plan developed a range of indicators and sub-indicators to assess this evaluation issue. This report presents the findings by sub-indicator:

  1. What progress has been made by the PHAI and its elements towards achieving its objectives?
  2. Have the recommendations of the previous evaluation been implemented?
  3. How and to what extent do the signatories of the Legal Agreement support the PHAI and its elements?
  4. Does the proposed long-term waste management plan meet the requirements identified?
  5. Is the Transition Phase being implemented as intended by the preliminary project approval amendment?

5.1.a Progress towards achieving outcomes

The PHAI 1A Logic Model (see Appendix B) identifies three immediate outcomes, three intermediate outcomes and two final outcomes. The following table summarizes the extent to which these outcomes had been achieved as of March 2011.

Table 4: PHAI Phase 1A (Transition Phase) Outcomes and Their Status as of March 2011
Outcome Timeframe Outcome
Description
Outcome Status as of March 31, 2011
Immediate Community support and confidence in PHAI (including Phase 1A) maintained Achieved – Public surveys and interviews indicate that the community and municipalities support the initiative.
Immediate Roles and responsibilities of project related authorities defined Achieved – Roles and responsibilities of NRCan, PWGSC, AECL and municipalities are defined in documentation such as the Legal Agreement, Project Charter and Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding. Operational Protocols also define the role and responsibilities of the CNSC.
Immediate Governing technical design authority engaged Achieved – In phase PHAI 1A two major contracts were awarded for technical design work in 2010. The work has been completed to a Class AFootnote 59 level of specification. As of March 31, 2011, the Port Hope Water Treatment Plant technical design was completed to ~50%.
Intermediate EA for Port Granby and licensing decision for PH and PG made and regulatory obligations defined Partially Achieved – The EA for Port Granby has been completed. The Port Hope Project received a conditional licence in 2009 for the Welcome Waste Management Facility. A second licence hearing is scheduled (anticipated time frame is early 2012).
Intermediate Initiative related risks and liabilities are reduced Partially Achieved – The initiative continues to identify risks on an ongoing basis and manages them through a defined process. Certain initiative risks still remain, such as achieving a final decision in respect to the applicable clean-up criteria/standards for small-scale sites in the Port Hope Project.
Intermediate Procurement approach established and defined Achieved – A procurement options analysis was conducted and a design-bid-build procurement approach was selected. PWGSC was assigned as the procurement authority for major contracts and roles and responsibilities have been defined in the Project Charter and Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding.
Final Regulatory review process complete for implementation Not yet met – Both the Port Hope Project and the Port Granby Project require further licensing hearings as noted above. The results of those hearings will determine if this outcome will be achieved.
Final Governance framework, designs and cost estimates in place to implement the PH area clean-up Partially Achieved – A governance framework is in place defined by the Project Charter and Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding. The design work and cost estimates were partially completed as of March 2011.

Key issues fundamental to the achievement of PHAI outcomes were unresolved as of March 2011. They must be addressed in the very short term (before the end of Phase 1A) and warrant very close monitoring. These issues are:

Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) Standards

Specific standards for the initiative were developed and finalized in 2006. These criteria were accepted by the CNSC, and were incorporated into the licence for the Welcome Waste Management Facility, and by the MOE.

The MOE, however, introduced new provincial standards in 2010 that came into effect on July 1, 2011. These new standards are more rigorous than the 2006 clean-up criteria, specifically in the case of uranium and other contaminants of potential concern such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, copper, and lead.  The PHAI is obliged by the Legal Agreement to clean up to a standard that “will meet or exceed the regulatory requirements that apply at the time when the work is undertaken.”Footnote 60  This would result in the need to remediate to a higher standard, which in turn would result in higher volumes of soil being processed and thus more waste.  

This issue could impact the achievement of the following outcomes: community support maintained; licensing decisions for Port Hope and Port Granby made; Initiative related risks reduced; and regulatory review process complete.

CNSC Licence Public Hearings for Port Granby and Port Hope

Licensing is a key milestone for Phase 1A of the PHAI.  The CNSC needs to either decide whether hearings are needed or to hold the hearings on the licence applications for Port Granby and Port Hope. The decisions arising from such hearings, if and when held, are required for the PHAI 1A to complete its regulatory process and obtain all required licence decisions.

This issue can impact the achievement of the outcomes currently identified as: “community support maintained”; “licensing decisions for Port Hope and Port Granby made”; and “regulatory review process complete”.

5.1.b   Have the recommendations of the previous evaluation been implemented?

The 2007 evaluation contained four recommendations.Footnote 61 Of the four recommendations, the first has not yet been completed (but is targeted for completion by the end of Phase 1A in September 2011). Recommendations 2, 3 and 4 have been completed.

2007 Recommendation 1: NRCan and the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) produce up-to-date cost estimates for Phase 2 as soon as possible.

As noted above, implementation of this recommendation is in progress and is expected to be completed before the end of Phase 1A. As of March 2011, draft Class A cost estimates had been produced for the waste facilities proposed in Port Granby and Port Hope.Footnote 62 Cost estimates for the water treatment plants for both facilities were at Class B estimates. Still pending as at March 2011 are the cost estimates for the small-scale site remediation project. These are expected in June 2011. It should be noted that the decision with respect to the clean-up criteria/standards could impact these estimates.

2007 Recommendation 2: NRCan determine the project management and contracting models and involvement of the Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) for Phase 2 as soon as possible.

This recommendation has been implemented. The PHAI MO has been established, and all stakeholders believe that the roles are well understood and a strong project management approach is now being used. As an example, there is a robust Work Breakdown Structure in place, with identified cost centres for project activities. Change management, scope management, cost management and risk management processes are well documented, understood and reportedly used by PHAI MO staff. The initiative has been actively using project management software to track over 1,800 activities. The LLRWMO continues to provide the Interim Waste Management Program, pursuant to the Legal Agreement. 

2007 Recommendation 3: A transition period of 18-24 months be used to prepare for Phase 2.

This recommendation has been implemented. Phase 1A was formalized and defined in 2008 with an expected duration of three years and cost of $30 million. It has subsequently been amended and extended by an additional six months and budgets have increased to $52 million to accommodate municipal and regulatory issues

2007 Recommendation 4: Most importantly, the roles and responsibilities of NRCan, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) and other government departments be clearly defined through detailed formal agreements addressing the various issues identified in this report.

This recommendation has been implemented. The roles of all initiative parties, NRCan, AECL and PWGSC have been defined in the Project Charter and Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding. The Operational Protocols also set out clear roles and responsibilities of the PHAI MO and the CNSC.

5.1.c How and to what extent do the signatories of the Legal Agreement support the PHAI and its elements?

The signatories of the Legal Agreement are: NRCan for the Government of Canada, the Municipality of Port Hope, and the Municipality of Clarington. Both NRCan and the municipalities fully support the PHAI through the performance of their respective roles. NRCan provides overall oversight and chairs the Agreement Monitoring Group that brings together NRCan with the PHAI MO and senior representatives from the municipalities as well as the Steering Committee that brings together NRCan with senior representatives from AECL and PWGS and the Director of the PHAI MO. Both the Agreement Monitoring Group and Steering Committee meet on a regular basis. The municipalities have formed Peer Review Teams, participate on the Agreement Monitoring Group, recommend compensation officers, and in the case of Port Hope, have hired communications resources.

The PHAI has been working in collaboration with the municipalities for the past ten years and continues to do so. Nonetheless, there have been certain issues that have been raised by the municipalities that have not been fully resolved, particular in the case of the Municipality of Port Hope. There are currently six issues for which the municipality is seeking resolution. They are:

  • determination of the applicable clean-up criteria/standards;
  • consideration of municipal and Peer Review Team inputs;
  • incorporation of issues raised by the municipality and Peer Review Team during the environmental assessment into the detailed design and PHAI implementation;
  • clarification/definition of municipality roles and responsibilities in the initiative;
  • adherence to the Legal Agreement; and
  • increased detail in designs, plans and protocols.

5.1.d Does the proposed long-term waste management plan meet the requirements identified?

The identified requirements have been defined in the Environmental Assessment Screening Reports, which considered the need for the Initiative to relocate wastes and manage them in a suitably constructed, environmentally safe, socially acceptable and appropriately controlled state over the long term.Footnote 63

The long-term waste management plan is outlined in a range of documents including the environmental assessment reports (16 separate reports for each of the Port Hope Project and the Port Granby Project), the follow-up reports that were produced for the Port Hope Project as a result of the licensing decision (14 reports), and detailed design reports. The plan has been evolving in an iterative manner as new requirements are identified. For example, as at March 2011 the PHAI MO was drafting a comprehensive plan (internal to AECL) for Phase 2. Overall, the plans appear to meet the technical requirements identified.

The literature review and international comparison also indicate that the solution being followed by the PHAI is consistent with other international practices. Extensive experience has been accumulated in many countries (e.g., U.S.A, U.K, Czech Republic, France, Japan, South Africa and Spain) with a large number of near-surface disposal facilities. Such experience shows that in many cases, near-surface disposal has been successful achieving safe isolation of radioactive waste at a cost significantly lower than alternative disposal options.Footnote 64

The literature also points out that the management of waste has to be carried out not only technically, but also socially – it must have a level of acceptability and public support. Not only do scientific and technical engineering aspects have to be included in decision making, but so too does the public perception of risk, risk acceptability and public trust.Footnote 65

As mentioned, the overall plan continues to be developed. For example, the Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Project (SRCA) was conducted to determine the best means and to estimate the costs of resurveying and remediating the small-scale sites in the Municipality of Port Hope.Footnote 66 The SRCA Trials Project had the overall objective of producing lessons learned and cost estimates for small-scale site resurvey and remediation through the resurvey of 35 properties, remediation of five sites and production of cost estimates. Of the 35 properties that were surveyed, one site was remediated and cost estimates are being developed as are lessons learned. Originally, the project was to include the trial remediation of five properties, Footnote 67 However, only one was undertaken, at an approximate cost of $250,000.Footnote 68  Documents show that the original project was for $907,000,Footnote 69 and it was carried out for a total (estimated) cost of $1,357,000.Footnote 70

The trial is complete and lessons learned are being compiled, particularly the need for characterization. The lessons will be used as input into a plan for the small-scale site remediation; however, other parts of the plan were described by interviewees as needing to be developed (e.g., dust management and transportation). Interview data indicates that the initiative’s stakeholders and the PHAI MO are aware of the need for additional planning. One issue identified regarding site remediation is the time required for samples to be delivered to an off-site laboratory and results returned.

The plan met the Legal Agreement’s requirements as of June 2011; however, because the Ministry of the Environment’s new clean-up standards took effect on July 1, 2011, and because no resolution has yet been reached, the plan does not meet the requirements defined in the Legal Agreement to clean-up to a standard that will meet or exceed the regulatory requirements that apply at the time when the work is undertaken. The new MOE standards are more stringent than the PHAI clean-up criteria that were developed in 2006.

The CNSC has been in discussions with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment regarding their oversight (standards) of the PHAI as described earlier. The impact could be on the amount of material to be remediated. More stringent standards require more material to be remediated and disposed of. Table 5 shows the PHAI clean-up criteria currently used, the former MOE standards and the newly revised criteria for the inorganic contaminants of primary concern as identified in the Port Hope Screening Report.Footnote 71

As of August 2011, technical assessments are being carried out by the CNSC at a third-party site using a testing protocol that encompasses both test methods and the laboratory to be used to carry out the testing. The goal of this effort is to develop harmonized standards between the MOE and CNSC for the areas in question.

 Discussions between the MOE and the CNSC are ongoing.

Table 5: Comparison of Old and New MOE Criteria for Selected Contaminants of Potential ConcernFootnote 72 in parts per million (ppm)
Contaminant MOE Generic Standard (2004) PHAI Clean Up Criteria (2006) New MOE Generic Standard (2011)
Antimony 13 13 7.5
Arsenic 20 20 18
Cobalt 40 40 22
Copper 225 225 140
Lead 200 200 120
Nickel 150 150 100
Uranium - 35 23

Source: Soil Contaminants of Potential Concern (COPC) Criteria Comparison, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, 2011

5.1.e Is the Transition Phase being implemented as intended by the Preliminary Project Approval  amendment?

The amendment to the Preliminary Project Approval established the Transition Phase and augmented the milestones against which the initiative reports. The Transition Phase is being implemented as intended. The PHAI MO has been established and sound management processes are being followed. Interviewees from within the PHAI MO and in the municipalities noted the excellent practices used within the PHAI MO. Municipal interviewees appreciated that some of the staff in the PHAI MO were local and knew the region very well. Partners of the PHAI commented favourably on the effectiveness of the risk management meetings held and that the risk registry was being used.

A governance framework is in place including the Project Charter and Tripartite MOU. The roles of NRCan, AECL and PWGSC are clear, and interviews with PHAI MO staff indicate that they are well understood. Each party is fulfilling its role and participates as necessary in the various governance and management bodies such as the Steering Committee and Agreement Monitoring Group. PWGSC is managing the major procurement (design and construction) with AECL managing minor contracting.

The status of the PHAI milestones for the preliminary project approval amendment as at March 2011 is contained in Appendix D.

5.2 Evaluation Issue 5: Identify any Unintended Outcomes

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
5. Have any unanticipated outcomes developed as a result of the program? Document review; literature review; stakeholder interviews; case studies. Several minor unanticipated outcomes were identified, the more notable one being the high profile that the PHAI has developed internationally due to its unique federal-municipal nature. This has attracted attention from the non-government organization and scientific communities.

Several minor unanticipated outcomes were identified through interview, literature review and international comparison data.

According to interview data, discussion is taking place regarding potential broadening of the role of the LLRWMO to include non-radioactive contaminants in the specific case of Port Hope.Footnote 73 This is largely a result of the Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Project Cost Assessment Project and lessons learned from the ongoing Construction Monitoring Program. 

Literature and press articles suggest that there is a high level of radon gas remediation knowledge among local contractors in Port Hope. It has also been suggested that there has been a migration of skilled environmental workers into the community (among contract and initiative staff).

The PHAI is recognized internationally, both positively and negatively. Visits by internationally recognized anti-nuclear activists indicate that the PHAI has become a focal point for some anti-nuclear activities groups, although the messages are blurred about their stance on the clean-up versus the ongoing operations of Cameco Corporation. On the positive side, the environmental and scientific communitiesFootnote 74 are watching PHAI with interest as to its approach to clean-up in an urban environment, and PHAI has been the topic of presentations at international conferences.

6.0 Evaluation Findings - Performance: Efficiency and Economy

In the case of the PHAI evaluation, it is difficult to find comparators to determine efficiency. Much of the PHAI activity is unique and is being carried out for the first time internationally. Its uniqueness arises from the nature of the PHAI: the clean-up and remediation of many radioactively-contaminated sites within an urban environment. Despite its unique nature, it is nonetheless possible that cost-savings and efficiencies will be identified, thereby improving its economy.

To address the question of efficiency the evaluation focused on two key evaluation issues:

  • Is the approach used by the PHAI the most economic and efficient means of achieving outputs and progress towards outcomes?
  • How could the PHAI be improved?

6.1 Efficiency and economy of PHAI

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
6. Is the PHAI the most economic and efficient means of achieving outputs and progress towards outcomes? Document review; literature review; stakeholder interviews; case studies; international comparison. The resources are managed in an efficient and effective manner given that decision-making criteria are based primarily on regulatory obligations and risk management (which are not always based on a cost-only basis).

 

Summary:

The PHAI 1A is managing resources in an efficient and effective manner given that decision-making criteria are based primarily on regulatory obligations and risk management. The key decision making criteria are the use of best available technology, risk management and public perception and acceptability. In some instances, what appears to be more economic and/or efficient alternative means have been deferred owing to such considerations. In addition, the experience of the site remediation pilot suggests that soil characterization and volumes from the small-scale sites are not well known, which had a negative impact on cost-effectiveness.

This evaluation’s finding is based on the following:

Maximize Financial Flexibility: The PHAI MO was established to address the 2007 evaluation recommendation for an improved project management and governance framework, and its establishment has resulted in the introduction of sound project management approaches and principles that benefit the management of schedules and costs. This project management approach is however being implemented within a broader context of federal government financial management, which requires financial and budgetary approaches that are limited in flexibility. As an example, the need for and limits to re-profile budgets from one fiscal year to the next can present challenges to an undertaking as complex as the PHAI, which is expected to require 20 years to implement. The re-profiling limit creates a risk that the initiative may lapse funding. 

Increasing Budgets with Effective Management: The 2007 evaluation indicated that the original PHAI cost estimate of $260 million was not well developed. For Phase 1, the original budget and the time period to complete activities had more than doubled. However, it should be noted that the actual activities undertaken in Phases 1 and 1A were much greater in scope and more numerous than had been contemplated at the beginning of the PHAI in 2001. Land acquisition was a good example of a key initiative activity that was not considered in the original estimate. With respect to Phase 1A, the original cost estimate increased from $30 million over three years to $53 million over three and a half years. All budget increases were justified sufficiently to obtain appropriate approvals and expenditure authorities.  The PHAI MO is managing budgets and expenditures effectively through well established cost, scope, and schedule management processes.

Balance of Cost and Other Factors: Cost has not always been the only decision-making criterion for PHAI due to previous commitments made in response to public input, the regulator’s requirement that the design incorporate best available technology, and a lack of precise information regarding the characterization and delineation of the waste involved. It was decided that procurement risk could be best mitigated by engaging PWGSC to manage large procurement contracts rather than carrying out this function through AECL, the Crown Corporation. 

Also, one of the main objectives of the initiative is to address public concerns directly by engaging the public and municipalities. The literature strongly suggests that the optimal solution for an undertaking such as the PHAI would be a balance between that which is cost effective, scientifically sound and publicly acceptable.Footnote 75 As an example, the community identified a publically accepted, yet costly, decision to build a tunnel under the highway in order to move waste to the new Port Granby Facility. This tunnel has been incorporated into the future plan.  

Another example included the tools and techniques used for the resurvey of small scale properties. Interview data identified a potential approach of trench pitting instead of the actual approach used (“down-the-hole-gamma”Footnote 76). It would have made it easier to develop a profile, and the down-the-hole-gamma approach did not work well.  A third example was the approach to designing the two waste facilities as separate entities.  Interview data indicated that using a single contract for design of the two facilities might have allowed for more efficient work (e.g., could have allowed for cost savings through quantity purchase of parts, allowing the two systems to back each other up) although it was also noted that the work might have been difficult to accomplish within the timeframes without engaging two teams.

Incorporate Local Knowledge: Interviews provided minimal suggestions for cost-savings opportunities for the PHAI. One theme that was repeated by a non-public sector group of interviewees was that more formal municipal-contractor consultations were needed to capture local knowledge, for example, in designing Requests for Proposal for detailed design work that might have produced cost savings.

In general, the PHAI MO is managing the initiative as efficiently as possible. As an example, the Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Cost Assessment Project was intended to generate lessons learned on how best to approach this aspect of the initiative (i.e., removing low-level radioactive waste from people’s property). The actual trial was conducted at a high cost given that only one site rather than the projected five sites was remediated, and would indicate that more characterization data is needed. The trial generated a significant number of lessons learned. It is expected that they will be incorporated into processes that will result in cost savings.

Internationally, it is difficult to draw comparisons given that each clean-up situation is unique in terms of the waste being handled and the location and environment in which the waste is situated.Footnote 77 Site-specific considerations exert substantial influence on the effectiveness and efficiency of the choice of remediation method. Since the mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of the contaminant(s) vary among contaminated sites, remediation methods are not universally effective and efficient.

A rough comparison of PHAI costs to other countries’ initiatives, not included in this report due to commercial confidentiality considerations, yielded the result that the PHAI’s costs were consistent with similar United States projects, especially given the consideration that the comparable U.S. projects were not located in municipalities. The time to undertake projects also varied, but projects ranging from 10 to 20 years were included amongst those reviewed.

These projects are not easily compared as they have different conditions, types of soil, remediation plans, constraints (e.g. regulatory), etc. The only conclusion that can be made is that the PHAI is reasonably comparable for the estimated cost per volume of soil remediated.

6.2 Evaluation Question: How could the PHAI be improved?

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
7. How could the PHAI be improved? Document review; literature review; stakeholder interviews; case studies; international comparison. There are technical and management areas for improvement with respect to communication and coordination with the municipal level of government, the PVP and small-scale site remediation.

 

Summary:

The evaluation has identified key areas for improvement which will be important as the initiative moves to Phase 2 (because despite the delays in Phase 1, the initiative is now ongoing at a rapid pace, it is possible that actions will already have been taken to address some of these issues prior to finalizing this evaluation report).

Communication and coordination with municipal government is essential to successful implementation of the PHAI; and clearer communication of eligibility criteria for the Property Value Protection Program is also needed. Implementation of the lessons learned from the PHAI’s Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Cost Assessment Project would also be beneficial. Interviewees also identified technologies and processes with the potential to reduce delivery costs.

This finding is based on the following:

Municipality Engagement: It is not a standard occurrence for the federal government to work in such a close manner with communities and municipalities as it has for the PHAI. This is a new experience for many of the PHAI MO staff and to date they have performed well. However, there continues to be areas for improvement in overall coordination.

Improving communication and coordination with the municipalities in Phase 2 was consistently raised as an ongoing need in interviews and the document review. There is a need to maintain the support of both communities in order for the initiative to meet its overall objectives. To date, that support has been well demonstrated, and needs to be maintained going forward. There is a need to better clarify the role of the municipalities in Phase 2, as well as clarify the coordination needs of the initiative and future activities in terms of permits, inspections and remediation.

It was suggested that PHAI should determine and implement ways to better engage the Municipality of Port Hope Public Works staff, including development of protocols for ensuring full consultation with them regarding the issues raised by the municipalities. A possible strategy suggested by several interviewees was co-locating a PHAI MO staff member with the Port Hope Public Works Department (or vice-versa). This approach was used in the case of the co-location of a PWGSC staff member in the PHAI MO, which all interviewees reported as having worked very well.

Resurvey and Remediation Lessons Learned: A Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Cost Assessment (SRCA) Project was conducted to generate lessons learned, and it was successful in doing so. As of March 2011, the lessons from the SRCA Trial Project still needed to be analyzed and incorporated where appropriate into the initiative’s approach, processes and tools. The SRCA Trial Project was also intended to produce cost estimates for the resurvey and remediation component of the Initiative. The Trial Project cost significantly more than anticipated and produced less actual remediation than planned (one property instead of five). This was partially caused by insufficient characterization of soil contaminants on the property remediated.

A different technique for soil testing was proposed by interviewees as more effective and at significantly lower remediation costs. It involves trenching to obtain the soil sample rather than drilling bore holes, a technique that changes the level of effort required. Given that it is expected that the trial will result in significant new protocols and processes, it is unclear how the cost estimates will be reconciled with the new protocols and processes that have not been field tested. A pilot of the new resurvey and remediation protocols and processes would improve the level of accuracy of cost estimates and validate the appropriateness of any new protocols or procedures.

Property Value Protection Program: It is expected that the Property Value Protection Program will receive more applications/claims when construction begins (Phase 2). The PVP eligibility criteria need to be strengthened and better communicated to the public. For example, one criterion is that the person submitting a claim must prove that activities of the PHAI have a direct effect on the market value of the home (this is referred to as “project effect”).

Interviewees indicated that this particular criterion was not well understood and needed to be communicated more clearly. In addition, PHAI MO staff reported concerns regarding the effectiveness of the appeals process in that all costs for appeals were currently borne by the Crown, and there was thus no risk to an applicant in launching an appeal.  Further process design work is needed to ensure that the costs to the PVP of managing appeals can be controlled.

Proactive Communications: Communications play a key role within the PHAI. While a considerable amount of material has been produced, it was a common interview finding that the PHAI MO could take a more proactive approach to media relations specifically and public relations in general. There are indications that the PHAI MO is aware of this need and has taken action to use a more proactive approach such as the development of new communications outreach materials and question and answer sessions with the real estate agent community. In Phase 2, even more proactive communications will be needed to alleviate concerns around such issues as noise and dust.

On-site Laboratory Capacity: The Site Remediation Case Study found that delays in transporting soil and water samples to laboratories in Toronto were expected to hamper efficient site remediation. The PHAI should conduct, in concert with the regulator, a feasibility or cost-benefit analysis of an on-site (mobile) laboratory for soil testing. Such a laboratory facility would have to produce results that would satisfy the CNSC regarding scientific quality management. During the remediation pilot 117 soil samples were taken from 35 sites and shipped to a laboratory in Toronto. Interviewees explained that delays in getting test results resulted in soil removal by contract staff being delayed.

7.0 Conclusions

7.1 Conclusions

The overall conclusions are that the PHAI is relevant and addresses a continuing need. It is aligned with government priorities, as well as NRCan strategic priorities, and is an appropriate federal role. NRCan is the appropriate federal organization to provide the oversight. The Transition Phase 1A has been reasonably effective, meeting most of its objectives and outcomes without generating negative unexpected outcomes. The initiative has tried to be cost efficient where possible. The PHAI’s costs appear to be comparable to costs experienced by other countries’ projects of similar size, scope, and risk.

The following table summarizes the conclusions from the evaluation issues discussed in Sections 4, 5 and 6.

Table 8: PHAI Phase 1A Conclusions Summary
# Issue Conclusion
1 Is there a continued need for the Program? Yes. There is a clear and continuing need for the PHAI because its original objectives of remediating and providing for the long-term storage of low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope area have not yet been met.
2 Is the Program aligned with government priorities? Yes. The initiative is aligned with government priorities. The clean-up of federal contaminated sites was first identified as a priority in speeches from the Throne in 1999, 2004 and 2007. The 2010-11 NRCan Report on Plans and Priorities regarding managing nuclear (or radioactive) waste, and the PHAI itself are directly linked to environmental leadership and stewardship, which are ongoing strategic objectives for NRCan.
3 Is the Program aligned with federal roles and responsibilities? Yes. The PHAI is aligned with federal roles and responsibilities. The Government of Canada accepted responsibility for the management of low-level radioactive waste.  In 1982, it established the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office to deal with the low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and other parts of Canada. The Government of Canada (Minister of Natural Resources) signed a Legal Agreement with the municipalities that outlined the parameters of managing low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope and Port Granby area. Matters dealing with nuclear processes fall under federal jurisdiction in Canada under the Nuclear Energy Act and the Canada Nuclear Safety and Control Act.
4 To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the PHAI 1A? Outcomes are being achieved on an ongoing basis. It is expected that the outcomes not completed as at March 2011 will be realized by the end of Phase 1A in September 2011 (amended date). Key issues need to be resolved in order for this to happen, such as resolution of clean-up criteria/standards to be used by the PHAI. Other issues requiring resolution in order to achieve PHAI Phase 1A objectives include action to resolve municipal issues and accommodate resolution of the regulatory process.
5 Identify any unintended outcomes Some minor unanticipated outcomes were identified.
6 Identify a lower-cost way to achieve results The PHAI 1A is managing resources in Phase 1A in an efficient and effective manner given that the decision - making criteria used are to satisfy (a) the regulator and (b) previous commitments (which are based primarily on regulatory obligations, best available technology, risk management and public perception and acceptability) rather than cost-benefit analysis.
7 How could the PHAI be improved? Technical and management improvement suggestions were identified that could be implemented as the PHAI moves to Phase 2.

Appendix A: Port Hope Area Initiative Overview

The PHAI is located in sub-sub activity 2.2.4 in Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Program Activity Architecture for which the Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Sector is the Effective Project Authority.Footnote 78  The evaluation covers expenditures of $43.8 million over the 2007-08 to 2010-11 timeframe.Footnote 79 Of the $43.8 million, $1,250,000 in grants has been paid through the Property Value Protection Program of the PHAI over the 2007-08 to 2010-11 timeframe to compensate property owners for loss of property value attributable to PHAI-related activities. The PHAI has no contribution elements.

The PHAI is a community-based initiative established to develop and implement a safe local long-term management solution for the historicFootnote 80 low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope Ontario area, specifically within the Municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. The search for reaching mutual agreement regarding cleanup of the waste among all parties involved has been underway since the 1980s. The ~2.0 million cubic metres (m3) (1.2 million m3 in Port Hope and 0.5 million m3 in the Port Granby facility) of Port Hope area wastes constitute over 90% of all historic low-level radioactive waste in Canada - wastes for which the current owner cannot reasonably be held responsible and for which the federal government has accepted responsibilityFootnote 81.

The PHAI is comprised of two major projects – the Port Hope Project and the Port Granby Project – which are located along the north shore of Lake Ontario approximately 100 kilometres east of Toronto. Both projects involve the clean-up, construction and monitoring of long-term management facilities for the low-level radioactive waste. Of the two projects, the Port Hope Project involves higher uncertainty regarding the location and characteristics of the low-level radioactive waste, more direct stakeholders (since the low-level radioactive waste is located on residential properties in addition to other areas), and a larger volume of waste from a variety of sites.

The two projects had separate environmental assessments (now completed – Port Hope in 2007 and Port Granby in 2009 – and will have separate licences from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

The CNSC granted a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for the Port Hope Project in 2009, valid until December 31, 2014. The licence carries conditions related to routine reporting requirements, clean-up criteria and a set of design documents and plans for subsequent phases. As of March 31, 2011 (the end date of this evaluation), the submission for the Port Granby Project licence had yet to be scheduled.

Port Hope Project

The Port Hope Ontario area contains the vast majority of Canada’s historic low-level radioactive waste, in excess of 90%. The waste dates back to the 1930s when radium was extracted from pitchblende ores for medical and industrial applications at a refinery in the Municipality of Port Hope. The low-level radioactive waste is primarily soil contaminated with waste material from the refinery.Footnote 82

The Port Hope Project involves the construction of a new long-term waste management facility at the closed (in 1955)Footnote 83 Welcome Waste Management Facility and adjacent property, south of Highway 401 and west of Baulch Road, in the Municipality of Port Hope.  Existing waste at the site will be excavated and placed in a new, long-term management facility which consists of an engineered above-ground mound where it is planned to be managed for hundreds of years.Footnote 84

The Welcome Waste Management Facility (WWMF) received low-level radioactively-contaminated process residues, scrap equipment and industrial waste from Eldorado Resources Limited, a former federal Crown corporation, from 1948 to 1955. In 1956, collection of surface and groundwater contaminated with uranium, arsenic and radium began. A treatment process was installed in 1979, and the collection system was improved in 1986 and 1987. The main parts of the facility are the waste storage area and the water collection and treatment area. The water collection and treatment area is operated to collect, contain and treat contaminated groundwater and surface water generated in the waste storage area. The WWMF is operated under a licence issued to Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL) by the CNSC.Footnote 85

Other historic low-level radioactive waste and specifiedFootnote 86 industrial waste from various sites in the urban area of Port Hope will be removed and transported to the new facility and the excavated sites are to be remediated.  The capacity of the Port Hope Project facility is approximately two million cubic metres of waste (including contingencies and daily clean soil cover materials).Footnote 87 The Port Hope Project also involves a resurvey and remediation of residential properties in Ward 1. The resurvey is necessary to confirm which properties will require remediation and to better characterizeFootnote 88 and delineateFootnote 89 the waste material.

Port Granby Project

The Port Granby Project involves the excavation and transport of approximately 450,000 m3 of low-level radioactive waste and marginally contaminated soil to a new above-ground mound facility for long-term management. The historic low-level radioactive waste is now contained in the closed Port Granby Waste Management Facility.Footnote 90

The location for the new waste management facility was changed, with community input, through the environmental assessment process. This change addressed concerns regarding the proximity of the originally proposed site to the waterfront and the potential for contaminant leaching into Lake Ontario. The new site is situated on stable till 700 metres away from the steep bluffs, receding shoreline and sandy soils that characterize the existing waste site.Footnote 91

The Port Granby process is slightly less advanced than the Port Hope process due to the extra technical reports requested by the community during the environmental assessment.

For the Port Granby Project, a staged-development two-cell configuration – was established to accommodate the target capacity of approximately 500,000 m3 of waste material from the existing waste management facility.

Major Activities

The major activities of Phase 1A include:

  • establishment of the Port Hope Area Initiative Management Office (PHAI MO) and its governance structure;
  • licensing for the Port Hope and Port Granby projects;
  • detailed design of long-term waste management facilities for the Port Hope and Port Granby projects;
  • preparation of schedules and excavation plans for clean-ups in Port Hope and at the Port Granby Waste Management Facility;
  • implementation of the environmental assessment (EA) follow-up programs to reduce and monitor project effects on people and the environment;
  • construction of the access to road to the proposed Port Hope facility;
  • pilot testing of the water treatment plants;
  • Port Hope Project Trial Resurvey;Footnote 92
  • design of the upgrades needed to municipal infrastructure (to support safe transportation);
  • ongoing delivery of the programs set out in the legal agreement; and
  • receipt of necessary approvals to begin Phase 2.Footnote 93

Governance

NRCan is ultimately responsible for the PHAI and receives annual appropriations for the initiative from the fiscal framework.

The governance of the PHAI is founded on several documents and decision–making groups. The key documents are a Legal Agreement among the Government of Canada and the municipalities involved, and a Project Charter, which provides the operational framework for the PHAI.

Key Documents

The Legal AgreementFootnote 94 commits the Government of Canada and the municipalities involved to work cooperatively, communicate openly and regularly consult to complete the projects with success. The Legal Agreement also commits the federal government to make payments of $10 million to each of the three signatory municipalities as host community fees.

The Legal Agreement also established a three-phased approach to delivery of the PHAI. Phase 1 was the planning phase; Phase 2 was intended to be the implementation phase; and Phase 3 was to be a longer-term monitoring and maintenance phase. Phase 1A was established in 2007 as a transition phaseFootnote 95 that would allow the work required to implement Phase 2 (e.g., regulatory and planning) to be completed. Components of the Legal Agreement

Beyond the commitments related to the physical undertakings associated with the PHAI, the Legal Agreement defines the PHAI components, which are:

  1. programs delivered by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO), a division of AECL – these are, among others, the Environmental Monitoring Program, the Construction Monitoring Program, and Property Compliance Program (which comprise the Interim Waste Program);Footnote 96
  2. the Property Value Protection (PVP) Program (grant component);Footnote 97
  3. the Municipal Tax Revenue Loss (MTRL) Program (grant component);Footnote 98
  4. Communications and Consultations (C&C);
  5. Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT); and
  6. Complaints Resolution Program (CRP).

The Project Charter provides the framework under which the PHAI operates. According to it, NRCan is responsible for strategic oversight and for ensuring that the appropriate approvals and authorities, including funding, are provided.

The LLRWMO delivers the Integrated Waste Management Program in accordance with its business plan which is approved by NRCan. Other LLRWMO work supporting the PHAI, described in the PHAI Business Plan (also approved by NRCan), took place through an AECL intra-company (between different parts of AECL) work requisition and authorization for radiation protection, contamination monitoring, radiation surveying and environmental monitoring services.

According to the Legal Agreement, the LLRWMO is responsible for continuing with its Interim Waste Management Program activities pending the completion of the historic low-level radioactive waste clean-up or until the government defines an alternative way of carrying out these programs.

The Property Value Protection Program compensates owners of residential, commercial or industrial properties for financial losses encountered (e.g., on sale or rental of property, mortgage renewal difficulties) incurred as a direct effect of the PHAI.

The Municipal Tax Revenues Loss Program compensates the municipalities for diminished municipal tax revenue resulting from property values being reduced as a result of the PHAI.

Consultations and CommunicationsFootnote 99 are fundamental to ensuring the continued support of the municipalities and their citizens. This outreach activity focuses on maintaining positive relations with the affected communities facilitated by a Project Information ExchangeFootnote 100 in Port Hope as well as by the physical location of the PHAI Management Office in Port Hope.

Decision-Making Groups

The Project Charter was implemented in response to a recommendation of a previous evaluation of the PHAI.Footnote 101 It created a Steering Committee chaired by NRCan that is intended to oversee delivery of the PHAI. Chaired by NRCan’s Director of the Uranium and Radioactive Waste Division (URWD), the Committee reports to the ADM, Energy Sector of NRCan. The PHAI Steering Committee is comprised of senior representatives from NRCan, AECL and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). Footnote 102  In 2001, NRCan designated AECL’s Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office as the proponent for the PHAI.

In 2008, a revised governance framework was proposed in response to emerging project needs: AECL was asked to form a dedicated PHAI Management Office for project delivery that included representatives from AECL (as the project manager and proponent for the environmental assessment and licensing), PWGSC (as the contract authority for the upcoming major design and implementation requirements), and NRCan representatives (to manage governance issues).Footnote 103

PHAI Resources

The original $50 million allocated to Phase 1 was almost expended ($47.7 million) by the end of 2007-08. Amended Preliminary Project Approval was obtained in February 2008 with additional financing of $30 million to complete Phase 1A activities. The timeline for completion was extended by three years to March 2011 and then later extended to September 2011. The costs were validated through an Independent Verification and Validation study.

The PHAI has a small grants component for the Property Value Protection Program and the Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program totalling $250,000 for each fiscal year from 2008-09 through to 2011-12, and $30,000 in 2007-08. Consistent with the current stage of the PHAI, there have been no claims made on the Municipal Tax Revenue Loss Program. Claims have been made through the Property Value Protection Program (see Table 2) starting in 2002.

Appendix B: PHAI 1A Logic Model

PHAI 1A Logic Model

Appendix C: Evaluation Framework

Issue Question Sub-
Questions
Data
Sources
Methodology
Document Review Literature Review Interviews Case Studies International Comparison
Relevance
1. Continued need for the Program 1. Is there a continuing need for the PHAI 1.a. What needs are the PHAI and its components addressing? 1.b. To what extent are the identified needs being met? 1c. To what extent do these needs continue to exist?
  • Government policy and priority statements (e.g. speeches from Throne, budget speeches, etc.)
  • Departmental priority and planning statements (e.g. Departmental Performance Report, Report on Plans and Priorities, PAA, etc,)
  • Subject matter experts / special reports
  • Interviewees
  • Other related documents (e.g. program files, public hearing transcripts, etc.)
v v v    
2. Alignment with Government Priorities 2. Is the PHAI consistent with government priorities and NRCan strategic objectives 2.a. To what federal government priorities are the PHAI linked? 2.b. To what strategic departmental objective is the PHAI linked? 2.c. To what extent (and how) does the PHAI carry out the Strategic Objective of Environmental Stewardship?
  • Government policy and priority statements (e.g. speeches from Throne, budget speeches, etc.)
  • Departmental priority and planning statements (e.g. Departmental Performance Report, Report on Plans and Priorities, PAA, etc,)
  • Subject matter experts
  • Other related documents (e.g. program files, public hearing transcripts, etc.)
v        
3. Alignment with federal roles and responsibilities 3. Is there a legitimate, appropriate and necessary role for the federal government in the PHAI? 3.a. Should the Government of Canada be involved in implementing and managing a low-level radioactive waste clean-up project? 3.b. Are the appropriate authorities engaged in the project?
  • Departmental priority and planning documents (e.g. Departmental Performance Report, Report on Plans and Priorities)
  • Subject matter experts / special reports
  • Government policies and strategies (e.g. speeches from the Throne, budget speeches)
  • Program and other documentation (e.g. Legal Agreement, public hearing transcripts)
  • Municipal representatives, department officials
  • Experiences in other countries
v v v   v
Performance: Effectiveness
4. Achievement of expected outcomes 4. To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the PHAI? 4.a. What progress has been made by the PHAI and its elements towards achieving their objectives? What are the chief internal and external factors influencing achievement of objectives and how have they been managed?
  • Program documentation – e.g. progress reports, regulatory compliance
  • Interviewees
  • Performance data (as available)
  • Case studies
v   v v  
Has the initiative maintained community support and confidence?   v   v v  
Are the roles and responsibilities of project related authorities defined, understood and implemented?   v        
How effectively have licensing decisions been made and regulatory obligations defined?   v   v v  
To what extent have risks and liabilities been defined and managed?   v   v v  
Has a procurement approach been defined and implemented, along with risks?   v   v v  
Is the regulatory review process complete?   v   v v  
Are the governance framework, designs and cost estimate in place and ready for implementation?   v   v v  
4.b. Have the recommendations of the previous evaluation been implemented?
  • Program documentation
  • Municipal representatives, departmental officials
v   v    
4.c. How and to what extent do the signatories of the Legal Agreement support the PHAI and its elements?
  • Program documentation
  • Municipal representatives, departmental officials
v   v v  
4.d. Does the proposed long-term waste management plan meet the requirements identified? How are the related decisions being made (e.g. criteria)? How are differences being managed (between best available technology and best practicable technology)?
  •  The subject matter expert provides input on all of the items in this methodology.
v v v   v
4.e. Is the Transition Phase being implemented as intended by the preliminary project approval amendment?
To what extent have the risk management plan and contingency plan enabled PHAI management to effectively mitigate challenges?
How useful were the milestones (and other instruments) as a management tool?
  • Program documentation
  • Interviewees
v   v v  
5. Have there been unintended outcomes (positive or negative)? 5. Identify unintended outcomes (positive or negative)?  
  • Document/literature review
  • Interviewees (e.g. municipal representatives, departmental officials)
  • Subject matter expert
  • Case studies
    International comparison
v v v v  
Performance: Efficiency and Economy
6. Is the approach used by the PHAI the most economic and efficient means of achieving outputs and progress towards outcomes? 6. Identify a lower-cost way to achieve results  
  • Documentation/literature review
  • Interviewees
  • Case studies
  • International comparison
v v v v  
7. How could the PHAI be improved? 7. Identify possible improvements  
  • Program documentation and literature review
  • Case studies
  • International comparison
  • Interviewees
v v v v v

Appendix D: Status of Milestones as of March 2011

Table 6: Summary Preliminary Project Approval Amendment Milestone Status
Amendment (2008) Status as of March 2011
Receipt of Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for Port Hope and Port Granby Partially Completed Conditional licence for Welcome Facility in Port Hope Project obtained in 2010. Decision taken to hold on licensing process for Port Granby Project until 2011.
Interim Waste Management in Port Hope Activity is Ongoing Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office continues to provide services for the CMP, EMP and PCP.
Municipal administrative cost recovery Activity is Ongoing PHAI 1A covers the costs of some municipal administrative expenses related to the Initiative, such as the Peer Review Teams.
Federal Property Management Activity is Ongoing AECL is managing the Welcome Waste Management Facility and Highland Creek Drive Interim Facility.
Communications and Consultation Activity is Ongoing There are communication working groups and ongoing coordination activities.
Define the resurvey program (protocol, criteria) (2009-10) Partially Completed The Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Cost Assessment ProjectFootnote 104 was completed in 2010-11 with the final report expected in June 2011. Final resurvey criteria will depend on the decision with respect to the MOE criteria.
Complete first year of resurvey program (2010-11) Not Completed The resurvey trial was completed in 2011. The actual program is under-development.
Exercise land acquisition option for Port Hope facility(2009-10) Completed Welcome Waste Management Facility transferred to the Government of Canada in 2010.
Exercise land acquisition option for Port Granby Facility (2010-11) Not Completed Decision taken delay acquisition of the Port Granby Project until 2011.
Signature of Project Charter, governance framework (2008-09) Completed Project Charter was finalized in 2008, and Tripartite MOU was completed in 2009.
Begin transition to new governance framework (2008-09) Completed The PHAI MO and Steering Committee were established in 2009.
Design work for substantive cost estimate for the major work packages – construction (2009-10) In Progress Design work has been completed, but reports are draft only as of March 2011. Expected to be completed by end of Phase 1A in September 2011.
Design work for substantive cost estimate for remaining work packages (remediation) (2010-11) In Progress An objective of the Small-Scale Site Resurvey and Remediation Trials Cost Assessment Project was to produce cost estimates. It is unclear how the initiative will reconcile the cost estimates with the fact the trial has produced lessons learned that would result in new protocols and processes.
Finalize robust cost estimate for implementation (2010-11) In Progress The two major components are in progress.