A variety of sites contaminated with legacy low-level radioactive (LLR) waste materials have been identified across Canada. Many of these sites, associated with former radium and uranium refining and processing operations, are located in urbanized areas of southern Ontario. However, other sites have been discovered at more remote locations in Canada, including northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The diversity of waste froms, ranging from pitchblende ore and processing wastes, to discarded luminescent products, combined with construction and transportation logistical issues encountered at these sites, present ongoing challenges for the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) to overcome in meeting its mandate to resolve these legacy problems. Since its establishment in 1982, the federal government’s LLRWMO has operated programs to characterize and delineate contaminated historic waste sites across Canada. These programs have included undertaking property decontaminations, waste consolidation and interim storage projects at many sites, and participating with federal and provincial government departments and local communities to consider long-term storage and disposal opportunities. This paper compares four specific environmental remediation programs conducted by the LLRWMO within diverse Canadian settings found at Port Hope and Toronto (southern Ontario), Fort McMurray (northern Alberta), and Vancouver (west coast of British Columbia). Contaminant characterization and delineation, and remediation plan design and implementation aspects of these individual programs span the time period from the early 1980s through to 2002. The individual programs dealt with a variety of legacy waste forms that contained natural radioactive materials such as radium-226, total uranium, total thorium and thorium-230, as well as coincidental inorganic contaminants including arsenic, barium, cadmium, cobalt, lead, mercury, vanadium and zinc. Application of the lessons learned during these individual programs, as well as the development of new and innovative technologies to meet the specific needs of these programs, have enabled the LLRWMO to effectively and efficiently implement environmental remediation solutions that address the variety of Canada’s legacy LLR wastes.introduction.

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