Nuclear legacy liabilities have resulted from 60 years of nuclear research and development carried out on behalf of Canada by the National Research Council (1944 to 1952) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL, 1952 to present). These liabilities are located at AECL research and prototype reactor sites, and consist of shutdown reactors, research facilities and associated infrastructure, a wide variety of buried and stored waste, and contaminated lands. In 2006, the Government of Canada adopted a new long-term strategy to deal with the nuclear legacy liabilities and initiated a five-year, $520 million (Canadian dollars) start-up phase, thereby creating the Nuclear Legacy Liabilities Program (NLLP). The objective of the long-term strategy is to safely and cost-effectively reduce risks and liabilities based on sound waste management and environmental principles in the best interests of Canadians. The five-year plan is directed at addressing health, safety and environmental priorities, accelerating the decontamination and demolition of shutdown buildings, and laying the groundwork for future phases of the strategy. It also includes public consultation to inform the further development of the strategy and provides for continued care and maintenance activities at the sites. The NLLP is being implemented through a Memorandum of Understanding between Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and AECL whereby NRCan is responsible for policy direction and oversight, including control of funding, and AECL is responsible for carrying out the work and holding and administering all licences, facilities and lands. The paper summarizes achievements during the first three years of program implementation in the areas of decommissioning and dismantling; waste recovery and environmental restoration; the construction of enabling facilities to analyze, handle and store the legacy waste; and, planning for the long-term management of the radioactive waste.

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