Port Hope Area Initiative

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Ranking for 2014: 36

Industry Sector: Other

Specific Sector: Environment

Range: $1 billion - $5 billion

Project Value: $1,280,000,000

Federal: Natural Resources Canada: $1.28 billion

Government Funds Involved: N/A

Funding Source: Public

Location: Port Hope, Ontario

Estimated End Date of Substantial Completion: 2023


The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is a federal environmental cleanup program. Its mandate is the remediation and local, long-term, safe management of approximately 1.7 million cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington in southern Ontario. The historic waste resulted from the radium and uranium refining operations of the former Crown corporation, Eldorado Nuclear Limited, and its private sector predecessors, which operated from the 1930s to 1988.

The PHAI has two projects: the Port Hope Project and the Port Granby Project. The Historic Waste programs Management Office, led by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, is implementing these projects on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, a federal Crown corporation.

The Port Hope Project involves the construction of an engineered above-ground mound and supporting infrastructure for the safe, long-term management of approximately 1.2 million cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste, cleanup of the waste from various major sites and small-scale sites in Port Hope, and transportation of the waste to a new long-term waste management facility currently under construction. After the facility is capped and closed, anticipated to be in 2023, ongoing maintenance and monitoring will continue for hundreds of years.

The Port Granby Project involves the relocation of approximately 450,000 cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste, located at an existing site on the shoreline of Lake Ontario in southeast Clarington, to a new, engineered above-ground mound at a long-term waste management facility being constructed approximately 700 metres north of the lake.

In August of 2018, a turbidity curtain was installed in the approach channel of Port Hope Harbour to limit the movement of sediment in the harbour. This work is part of the five-year cleanup of contaminated sediment in the harbour, which also includes rehabilitating the aging harbour walls and suction dredging approximately 120,000 cubic metres of sediment.

Substantial completion of the entire Port Hope Area Initiative is expected by 2023.

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