The Government of Canada’s 1996 Policy Framework for Radioactive Waste Management establishes that waste owners are responsible for the management of their radioactive wastes. This includes the planning, funding, and implementation of long-term waste management initiatives. Within this context, the Government has established three separate programs aimed at addressing the long-term management of radioactive waste for which it has accepted responsibility. The largest of these programs is the Nuclear Legacy Liabilities Program (NLLP). The objective of the NLLP is to address radioactive waste and decommissioning liabilities resulting from 60 years of nuclear research and development at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) sites in Canada. In 2005, the Government increased the value of this liability in its Public Accounts based on a new, 70-year long-term strategy and, in 2006, it implemented a $520 million 5-year work plan to initiate the strategy. The cost of implementing the full strategy is estimated at about $7 billion (current-day dollars). Canada’s Historic Waste Program is a second program that is designed to address low-level radioactive wastes across Canada that are not managed in an appropriate manner for the long-term and for which the current owner can not reasonably be held responsible. These wastes mainly emanate from the refining and use of radium in the 1930s and the very early days of the nuclear industry in Canada when radioactive ores were mined and transported long distances for processing. While the Historic Waste Program has been in place since 1982, the Government of Canada launched the Port Hope Area Initiative in 2001 to deal with the bulk of the waste. Finally, the Government of Canada has entered into two agreements with Canadian provincial governments on roles and responsibilities relating to the decommissioning of uranium mine and mill tailings sites. These agreements, one with the Province of Ontario and one with the Province of Saskatchewan, establish the responsibilities of each level of government to address circumstances where further decommissioning work is required and the producer can no longer be held responsible. The paper will provide an overview of these environmental remediation programs for radioactive waste and will describe recent progress and future challenges.

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