History of The Port Granby Site
In the 1930s, a radium refinery was established in Port Hope by Eldorado Gold Mining and Resources. Ore was transported from Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories to Port Hope by barge and rail. In the 1940s the refinery switched from refining radium to uranium and Eldorado became a Crown Corporation when it was purchased by the Government of Canada. In the 1950s some of the contaminated buildings on the Eldorado site were demolished and the materials disposed of locally.
The waste from the Eldorado operation in Port Hope was deposited at the Port Granby site between 1955 and 1988. The facility was closed in 1988, when maintenance and monitoring became the responsibility of Cameco Corporation, under a licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Although Cameco made many environmental improvements, the instability of this site makes it unsuitable for long-term waste storage, which must be designed for safety for hundreds of years.
Situated along 30 m high bluffs on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, the current site is 17.5 hectares in size. The new facility will be located on a 50-hectare site, 700 metres north of the lakefront.
Approximately 450,000 cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste and contaminated soil are located in the East Gorge, West Gorge and the Central Plateau as pictured below.