Port Hope Radioactive Waste Capital of Canada

Historic radioactive waste capital of Canada located in
Port Hope, Ontario

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Nuclear History



Eldorado Nuclear



Enriched and Depleted Uranium


Secret Documents



Nuclear Weapons



K-65 Residues



Toxic Contamination


35% Clean-up or a
65% Cover-up?



Nano Particles



Adverse Health Issues


Secret Lead Protocol


Lead Health Risks


Crazy Caverns



Welcome Waste Management Facility



Monkey Mountain

Residue Area



Ganaraskč and Monkey Mountain






We remember













There is no independent watchdog or peer review...

Government of Canada -
  previous owner of Eldorado, a federal crown corporation responsible for LLRW contamination

also funder, overseer and regulator of itself in the largest radioactive cleanup(LLRW) in Canadian history...






Government of Canada
Family Tree
is complex:


Natural Resources Canada
ultimately responsible for

Atomic Energy of
Canada Limited
(a federal crown corporation)

Canadian Nuclear
Safety Commission
of AECL)

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
(implements both PHAI Projects - Welcome & Port Granby -  for AECL & CNSC)

Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office

Port Hope
Area Initiative

Historic Waste Program Managment Office































The uranium mining tailing piles contain Polonium, which is about 2 billion times more toxic than cyanide.















The toxic and/or cancer causing effects of low dose radiation take 2 - 20 years to show up.














 As the uranium atoms slowly disintegrate over billions of years, a host of radioactive by-products are formed: thorium-230, radium-226, radon-222 and the infamous ‘radon daughters,’ including lead-210 and polonium-210











About a ton of ore is required to extract two pounds of uranium













Uranium tailings
(pulverized rock) remain dangerously radioactive for millions of years.















Dust from uranium tailing piles contains uranium and other radioactive substances such as radium and radon gas - both  known cancer causing agents. 















The tailings contain 85 per cent of the original radioactivity in the ore and give off at least 10,000 times as much radon gas as the undisturbed ore.
















The radiation amount and toxicity from these substances actually increases over time, as the breakdown and decay products are generated from the original materials.










































Hanford is in the midst of America's largest nuclear waste clean-up operation, which has already cost $40 Billion and is expected to continue for decades, including:

- 100 sq miles (259 sq km) of contaminated groundwater

- 56 million gallons (254 million litres) of liquid waste, in tanks buried just below ground























Radioactive particles
 are hundreds of times
more dangerous inside your body than outside. 






































































In 1988, Eldorado Nuclear Limited merged with Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation to form Cameco (Canadian Mining and Energy Corporation).











"A two-pound turkey and a fifty-pound cranberry - that's Thanksgiving dinner at Three Mile Island."

Johnny Carson
























































The Trucker

"A truck driver who had been delivering radioactive waste for the local reactor begins to feel sick after a few years on the job. He decided to seek compensation for his ailment. Upon his arrival at the workers' compensation department, he is interviewed by an assessor.

I see you work with radioactive materials and wish to claim compensation.

Yeah, I feel really sick.

Alright then, does your employer take measures to protect you from radiation poisoning?

Yeah, he gives me a lead suit to wear on the job.

And what about the cabin in which you drive?

Oh yeah. That's lead lined, all lead lined.

What about the waste itself? Where is that kept?

Oh, the stuff is held in a lead container, all lead.

Let me see if I get this straight. You wear
a lead suit, sit in
a lead-lined cabin and
the radioactive waste is kept in a lead container.

Yeah, that's right.
All lead.

Then I can't see how you could claim against him for radiation poisoning.

I'm not. I claiming for
lead poisoning."
































Groundwater moves. 

There is always a risk of recontamination.









































































































































































The scientific community generally agrees that
there are no “safe” levels of exposure to ionizing radiation, and that any exposure carries
the risk of harm.

























































































































































































































































































































































































Welcome to:


(a history of the largest money-sucking black hole of
radioactive waste in Canada)

BLACK HOLE: A cosmic body of extremely intense
gravity from which nothing can escape.

Port Hope is a  small charming town to visit with a past - unlike any other urban place on earth - it is the radioactive waste capital of Canada. 

Nobody knows for sure exactly how much radioactive and lead  material was buried in and around Port Hope since the 1930's. 

For decades, Canada's longest  and most expensive radioactive and nuclear cleanups in Port Hope and  the recent construction of the country's largest  historic nuclear waste storage mound (est. completed by 2023) have been studied by scientists around the world.

There is no guarantee that the town can ever be fully cleaned up or 100% safe for various reasons (groundwater movement,  existing structures and infrastructure, limited storage space , inadequate testing methodology,  lack of adequate government  funding , etc. )


About 96% of Canada's historic nuclear waste is hidden below Port Hope's surface or moved to the waste management  site located by the corner of town (off Toronto Rd. ) - the giant mound  is seen from Canada's busiest highway (401) like a blimp on the landscape.

"96% of all Canada’s historic low level radioactive waste  (LLRW) was dumped throughout Port Hope by the Eldorado Nuclear refinery from 1930's to 1980's..."

The story of historic low-level radioactive waste
in Canada, Port Hope Area Initiative, 2015

There is no other  alternative storage site for this nuclear waste available - no other place on earth wants it and there is no other permanent storage solution.


For decades, stored radioactive waste from Eldorado Nuclear (Port Hope) leached into Lake Ontario - the drinking water supply source of millions of people. History is said to repeat itself - the new nuclear sewage dump site is located on the very same radioactive waste site previously closed by the Canadian government . 

"Can we do anything to protect ourselves and future generations from the lethal legacy of nuclear sewage? At present, the answer is no. Nor can technology alone ever provide the answers we seek. For even if unbreakable, corrosion-resistant containers could be designed, any storage site would need to be kept under constant surveillance by incorruptible guards, administered by moral politicians living in a stable warless society, and left undisturbed by  earthquakes, natural disasters, or other acts of God for no less than half a million years -- a tall order, which science cannot fill."

Dr. Helen Caldicott, Nuclear Madness, 1994
Founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility
and the Nuclear Policy Research Institute

Nuclear History

One of the most pivotal periods in human history, World War II marked the beginning of the nuclear age with the development of the atomic bomb.

In 1932 a new industry came to Port Hope as described in the local newspaper of the day:

"ELDORADO STARTS PLANT TO REFINE RADIUM HERE - By the simple signing of a lease, Port Hope has acquired new standing in the scheme of things as the centre of an industry destined to bring incalculable benefit to suffering humanity.  Following months of careful investigation of various locations, officials of Eldorado Gold Mines Ltd. have taken over the plant on John Street formerly occupied by the Morrow Seed Company and are gathering equipment for installation of the first commercial-scale radium extraction plant in Canada, Gilbert LaBine, managing director, announced Friday..."

The Evening Guide , Port Hope, July 30, 1932

Port Hope became the birthplace of the nuclear industry in Canada. Eldorado Nuclear became the leading supplier of refined uranium for the world's first nuclear bombs produced in United States.

By 1940, United States and Nazi Germany were working in absolute secrecy - each country trying to be first to have the ultimate weapon. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Canada and Britain joined the United States in the largest top secret project in history. Code named the "Manhattan Project" (or A-Bomb project), it employed about 500,000 workers.

Uranium was a vital wartime material and Eldorado in Port Hope became essential to the supply of uranium for the top-secret experiments taking place south of the border.

"Uranium is the mineral of the apocalypse." 
Donald Weber


Canada not only possessed one of the world's largest uranium mines (Eldorado, NWT) but the largest uranium refinery (Eldorado, Port Hope).  Eldorado was also the refinery closest to the Americans - who ordered all the uranium Canada could supply.

In 1942, the Government of Canada officially took over Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. after the shift from radium to uranium began. The uranium oxide that had been Eldorado's waste in the radium extraction process - became its survival. In 1944, Eldorado was nationalized and became a Crown Corporation.

Under the Manhattan Project, the U.S. Government built three secret cities and production sites for the bomb project - the uranium enrichment facilities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the plutonium production facility at the Hanford Site in Washington State and the weapons research and design laboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The refined uranium from Eldorado in Port Hope was shipped to the U.S. for use in the making of the atomic bomb. Some of the refined uranium was enriched for the Hiroshima bomb; the rest was irradiated in the world's first nuclear reactors to produce plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb.


Shrouded in utmost top secrecy, Eldorado, most of it's workers and the townspeople had indirectly and/or unknowingly become complicit in one of the most unspeakable crimes in history - the loss of 250,000 civilian lives. 


Governed by international law, the illegal atomic bombings of Japan in 1945 were widely seen as "not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity." Years later, many atomic scientists of the time were still disturbed by the atomic bomb project:

"I feel that at least several hundred scientists trained in the biomedical aspect of atomic energy – myself included – are candidates for Nuremberg-type trials for crimes against humanity for our gross negligence and irresponsibility. Now that we know the hazard of low-dose radiation, the crime is not experimentation – it’s murder."

Dr. John Gofman, former Manhattan
Project Scientist, Berkeley, CA. 1979

Debate on the use of the bomb still continues. There can be no doubt the world's first atomic bombs shortened the duration of history’s greatest war and altered the fate and destiny of millions of people.

"Debate on the use of the bomb will continue but it can be argued that it brought the Second World War to a sudden end and may have saved the lives of millions of people in so doing. One of the incidental effects of this abnormal wartime programme was the early involvement of Canada on a scale highly improbable under other circumstances. The greatest scientific project of research and development in Canada's history followed..."

Hurst, D.G. et al
Canada Enters the Nuclear Age
, 1997

In October 1942, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began acquiring more than 60,000 acres in the Oak Ridge area of Tennessee, for the U.S. Manhattan Project and the future site of a pilot uranium enrichment complex for its defense programs. It was known as Site "X" or the "Secret City". The location provided security and containment in case of accidental explosions. Vast areas of marginal farmlands were also set aside for conservation purposes.

A similar pattern seemed to have emerged north of the border when in the middle of WW2, the Canadian Government co-sponsored an unprecedented study of the Ganaraska watershed where Eldorado was located.

Of special interest was a large block of poorly vegetated, sparsely populated and sub-marginal land north of Port Hope on the Oak Ridges Moraine. No where else in Canada was such a study conducted, especially during the middle of the war years when all resources were focused on the war effort abroad. The Ganaraska region was important for some special reason and it was probably tied, directly or indirectly, to Eldorado and the war effort.

A special Committee was formed in 1941 to study the Ganaraska Watershed and the Canadian Government appointed Dr. R. C. Wallace (1881-1955), one of the country's foremost geologists to head it. His passion for field geology and resource prospecting contributed much to the early science of mineralogy and geology in Canada. His pioneering spirit also made him one of the first to unearth some of the great pitchblende deposits in the far north.


In 1942, Dr. Wallace also toured Oak Ridge, Tennessee for two weeks  - it was one of the "secret cities" on 60,000 acres in the U.S. Manhattan Project. Unfortunately, government records and purpose of his tip remain classified in the Canadian Archives.

In December, 1943, Dr. Wallace wrote the Introduction to the Ganaraska study which included a key recommendation that 20,000 acres be set aside on the Oak Ridges Moraine north of Port Hope for conservation and reforestation purposes. No matter what the real wartime plan was, a conservation document was seen as more acceptable and a easier sale to the general public - who would have to approve and hopefully support it.

In 1944, the Canadian and Ontario Governments jointly published The Ganaraska Watershed report - resulting from the first conservation study of its kind in Canada. After the war, the interest of the Canadian government in the area which would become known as Ganaraska Forest faded.

Historians may one day uncover a war related plan for the region, one kept top secret, that never materialized before the war ended the following year (1945).

However, the Ganaraska study during the middle of a major war and the establishment of Ganaraska Forest which followed  It not only laid the foundation, it set in motion a whole series of events which eventually led to one of the greatest conservation achievements in Canadian history - the creation of the world's largest greenbelt (Ontario's Greenbelt). 

Eldorado Nuclear Ltd.  


Eldorado Nuclear (1932-1988) in Port Hope was one of the largest and oldest radium and uranium refineries in the world. During WW2, it played a key role in the Manhattan Project.

In 1930, the first Canadian commercial mine was discovered by Gilbert LaBine in the N.W.T. which he named Eldorado. To refine the ore, Gilbert LaBine (and his brother Charlie) established the Eldorado refinery in Port Hope.  It was one of the first radium and uranium processing industries in the world - and one of the town's largest employers.

 Eldorado Refinery, Port Hope (circa 1982)

Uranium was initially seen as a by-product of radium production with only limited uses, primarily in the ceramics industry (for pigments, ceramic glazes, and a yellow-green fluorescent glass).


Uranium ore then became a source of trace amounts of radium which was in great demand for medical treatment at the time. Several thousand tons of uranium ore were required to get a single gram of radium. At the height of the market, radium sold for the equivalent of several million dollars an ounce.


Kept in the dark, the people of Port Hope were led to believe Eldorado's activities were focused on producing the world's latest healing miracle.

The first manager of the Eldorado refinery was a French atomic scientist named Dr. Marcel Pochon. He was the only scientist still alive who had worked with Madame Curie in developing a secret radium extraction process.

Dr. Pochon was more outspoken about the dangers of radium then anyone else and tried to warn the townspeople. In 1933, he told a local newspaper reporter: "Radium is highly dangerous... the slightest fraction of a milligram taken into the system leads to cancer, anemia, and disease of the hip bones. Not a doctor on earth can save the unfortunate person who is affected."  (Dr. Pochon retired from Eldorado in 1945. After his death in 1958, his red brick house named 'Muidar' (radium spelled backwards) overlooking Eldorado was monitored for decades by the Atomic Energy Control Board.)

The federal government was also told of the dangers of radioactive material and repeatedly warned by Canada's Department of Mines about "radon's poisonous effects on the lungs and danger from inhalation of radioactive dust".


Eldorado continued to sell uranium for nuclear weapons until 1959 when United States stopped purchasing uranium from Canada. Production slowed but continued under the Canadian government’s uranium stockpiling program until the mid 1980s.


In 1966, Eldorado finally stopped the practice of giving away radioactive waste after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had requested Dr. D. G. Andrews:

"to undertake investigative measurements in order to answer the question of potential illegal weapons production in Canada. Clearly the first need was to establish whether or not there was enough free uranium lying around in Port Hope or elsewhere."

Dr. D. G. Andrews, Professor Emeritus,
Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, University of Toronto, 1996
 (Subsequent report of 1966 findings)

Concerns about the potential for the illegal creation of nuclear weapons were later proven unfounded. However, the investigation of Dr. D.G. Andrews brought public attention to the lack of adequate geographical barrier (buffer zone) to separate and insulate Port Hope residents from Eldorado's activities.


While Eldorado’s operations in Port Hope certainly contributed to the contamination problem of radioactive and toxic waste, another source also contributed.  Eldorado had a friend next door. (See: Crane) 


Nuclear Weapons

Eldorado was an integral part of the Manhattan Project during WW 2 and refined vast amounts of uranium ore for the U.S. Army - needed for the world's first atomic bombs and nuclear weapons.

The first order for eight tons of uranium oxides was made by the U.S. Government in 1941.  Eldorado started full-scale production of uranium oxides late in 1942 after receiving contracts for another 700 tons of uranium oxides.  The U.S. orders for Eldorado's uranium multiplied to many thousands of tons in the years which followed.

In addition, U.S. shipped another 7,000 tons of previously imported ore from the Belgian Congo to Port Hope for processing.  From 1942, hundreds of tons of uranium ore also came from Eldorado's re-opened mine by the Great Bear Lake, NWT. The remainder of uranium ore came from radium dump sites from the 1930's scattered around Port Hope (in essence this was the first cleanup attempt).

"The boom that started in Port Hope in 1942… supplying uranium for the research at the University of Chicago and then at Los Alamos under Dr. Robert Oppenheimer... culminated in mid-1945, in the explosion of an atomic bomb on the desert flats of Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few weeks later, another bomb was dropped on the people of Hiroshima."

Penny Sanger, Author 
Blind Faith, 1981

"Most of the remainder of the uranium ore processed for the Manhattan Project came from the radium dump sites in Port Hope. The authorities scoured Port Hope and collected the waste uranium ore from the radium extraction process that had been dumped around town from 1932 -1940.  Port Hope supplied the uranium that killed 140,000 people of Hiroshima."

 Pat McNamara, Petition - Port Hope's
Radioactive Waste Cleanup, 2008

While Port Hope's citizens were kept in the dark about the dangers of radiation, in the early 1950s, contaminated areas of the town and Eldorado's dump sites were used to train soldiers on the dangers of nuclear waste and nuclear detection techniques. There was so much widely dispersed radioactive waste in Port Hope, the Canadian Army came back two years later for more training.

Canada continued to be a supplier of uranium for military purposes for two decades after the war. The practice of selling Canadian uranium for use in nuclear weapons was officially terminated in 1965, when Prime Minister Pearson told the House of Commons that henceforth any uranium exported from Canada "is to be used for peaceful purposes only." From 1965, all exports and transfers of nuclear materials for non-peaceful purposes were halted - or so it seemed.

Once refined uranium from Eldorado was exported outside of Canada, there was no guarantee how it would be used - or by whom.

"Until 1965, all Canadian uranium was used exclusively for American nuclear weapons, including the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.  After this, the Canadian government decided that Canadian uranium was only to be used for civilian purposes, such as electricity generation. Unfortunately, there is no effective way to track or enforce this once uranium leaves our borders. Canada does not reclaim the > leftover depleted uranium after the enrichment process. The American military now uses some of it in the production of armour for tanks and for armour-piercing bullets... These weapons have been used in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and other theatres of war. This material, and its radioactive daughter products, will remain mobile in the environment for a very long time. Canada is implicated indirectly in this situation, as it supplies the U.S. with uranium."

Human Health Implications of the
Nuclear Energy Industry
Dr. Cathy Vakil M.D., C.C.F.P., F.C.F.P. and
Dr. Linda Harvey B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D.


 “Canada is one of the world's largest suppliers and processors of uranium... since 1965 Canada has insisted that its uranium is not to be used for military purposes. Nevertheless, by continuing to sell uranium to countries with nuclear weapons programs - the United States, Britain and France - Canada is undoubtedly helping them to make bombs… Directly or indirectly, therefore, Canada is helping to sustain three nuclear weapons programs - and, perhaps more importantly, to justify those programs by lending them a veneer of respectability.”

Canada's Nuclear Industry and the Myth of the Peaceful Atom
by Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Canada and the Nuclear Arms Race, Ernie Regehr
 and Simon Rosenblum (1983)


"There is no process whereby exported Canadian uranium can be separated from uranium derived from other sources. Therefore no proven method exists for preventing incorporation of Canadian uranium into military applications... Current Canadian limitations on end uses of uranium provide no reassurance to the public that Canadian uranium is used solely for non-military applications by purchasers."

Joint Federal-Provincial Panel
Report (1993) Chair: Don Lee


 Secret Documents

The full history of Canada's involvement in the Manhattan Project remains to be told. Most of the history of Eldorado and the early Canadian nuclear industry during WW2 remains top secret and classified.

U.S. has de-classified most of its wartime documents - but not Canada. 

 "Unlike Ottawa, the U.S. recently declassified 250,000 documents on its atomic weapons and energy program, which revealed that government officials and scientists in both countries actively discussed uranium's hazards in secret, yet publicly, they remained mute."

Andrew Nikiforuk, Journalist
Calgary Herald,  March 14, 1998


Not only are Canadian students, researchers and members of the public barred from accessing historical information about Eldorado ands its role in the Manhattan Project from the federal archives - but so are university professors, historians and authors in the field, including Professor Peter Van Wyck of Concordia University:

"A complete history of Canada's involvement in the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb has been thwarted by restrictions on classified documents."

Peter C. van Wyck, Author
The Highway of the Atom (2010)


Homeowners in Port Hope are also reporting restricted access to documents on their own properties. The town's peer review team also appears unable to see the radiological files on all properties they administer.

"The nuclear/uranium industry has operated in a blatantly anti-democratic and secretive manner, and the struggle for sustainability will require a renewed social movement for democratization. For the most part the Canadian public still doesn't know much about this hidden, manipulated history."  

Jim Harding, Author
Canada's Deadly Secret, 2007


Enriched and Depleted Uranium

The Port Hope facility processed enriched uranium from 1966 to 1987  It produced depleted uranium metals until 1992. Eldorado also blended enriched and depleted uranium powders to specific isotopic concentrations.

Less well known was Canada's involvement in research to produce and extract plutonium as part of the Manhattan Project which ended in 1946. Canada also sold irradiated (used) nuclear fuel to the U.S., from which plutonium was extracted between 1959 and 1964.

Eldorado not only provided refined uranium for the production of American nuclear weapons, it was also a source of polonium. Polonium was used to initiate a neutron flux in the atomic bomb. By mass, polonium-210 is one of the deadliest toxins - around 250 billion times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. Polonium also decays into a new, stable metal - lead.


Under Dr. Charles A. Thomas, an American scientist and chemist who had a key role in the 

development of the atom bomb in WW2, much of the early research and experimentation by

the Monsanto Company was directed toward various methods of extraction of polonium from

lead dioxide which was immediately available in residues left from the Eldorado refinery in

Port Hope, Ontario. (In 1950, Dr. Thomas became head of the Monsanto Company.)


Hired to recover polonium during the radium recovery operation in Port Hope, Bertrand Goldschmidt (considered France’s “Father of the atomic bomb”) also used the “dregs” left over by Eldorado's extraction of uranium from imported Belgian ore.

Depleted uranium was very useful to those in the nuclear weapons business and Canada did little to control its disposition.

"When Israeli jets leveled Iraq's OSIRAK reactor near Baghdad in 1981...Just about a year before the Israeli bombing raid, Eldorado Nuclear Limited was engaged in a bizarre transaction set up by the West Germans. After chemically refining some depleted uranium from Britain, Eldorado sent the material to a firm in the U.S. to be fabricated into metal rods and then returned to Port Hope, Ontario. American officials became extremely curious and began asking questions. What on earth did Eldorado want with depleted uranium? It soon emerged that the ultimate destination for the material was Iraq."

Canada's Nuclear Industry and the Myth of the Peaceful Atom
by Gordon Edwards, CCNR

In 2008, the Americans also secretly moved “tens of millions of dollars” worth of Saddam Hussein's uranium yellowcake (the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment) from Iraq to Canada. The huge shipment of 550 tonnes uranium oxide (U3O8) to the port of Montreal - was then transported by truck to Port Hope to be refined. The people of Port Hope had no advance warning.

K-65 Residues


Refined by Eldorado in Port Hope, K-65 residues were supplied for the top secret U.S. led Manhattan Project and used in the world’s first atomic bombs.


These highly radioactive ore residues dubbed "K-65" because of its record 65% uranium content. The residues resulted from a uniquely concentrated and very high grade uranium ore discovered before WW II in Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly called the Belgian Congo).


Imported by the Americans and initially stored on Staten Island, several thousand tonnes of the K-65 uranium ore was secretly moved for processing at Port Hope - the only uranium refinery in the Western Hemisphere.


The very high concentrations of long-lived radionuclides present in these wastes (including extremely toxic thorium, radium and their decay products (radon gas retained in the tailings and residues) prompted the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council in a 1995 report to categorize them as indistinguishable in hazard from High-Level Waste. 


Widespread Toxic Contamination


No cleanup project of this complexity and magnitude has ever been done in the world before in an occupied urban environment.

"Port Hope is sitting on a carcinogenic time bomb that residents can only escape by moving out of town, a renowned doctor and anti-nuclear activist warns. Historic low-level radioactive waste buried in parks, ravines, streets, industrial sites, the harbour and hundreds of backyards poses a “life or death” threat and can’t be safely remediated, according to Dr. Helen Caldicott. “It’s a disaster. You can’t clean it up. Transferring it just exposes more people to radioactive material... "

Warning Port Hope a toxic time bomb; the only solution? Move 
Toronto Star, Carola Vyhnak,  November 9, 2010

Port Hope has one of the largest inventories of historic low level radioactive waste (LLRW) in the world and by volume is the largest nuclear waste site in Canada. Low-level waste can be as toxic as high-level waste.


96% of Canada’s historic LLRW was generated between the 1930s and 1980s by the former Eldorado Nuclear plant is in Port Hope. (The story of historic low-level radioactive waste in Canada, PHAI 2015).


A huge amount of residues and by-products from uranium processing resulted from the refined uranium Eldorado supplied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the production of American nuclear weapons.  During WW II, it was reported one Eldorado contractor alone had dumped 200,000 tonnes of radioactive waste as landfill on over 100 sites around the town.


Initially, the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada (AECB) took a "hands-off" approach to the unregulated radioactive waste disposal practices of Eldorado - with a minimum of controls.


There are 13 primary contaminated sites in Port Hope and 400 to 500 smaller sites.  About 800 properties are undergoing a radiological survey, along with 150 municipal road bed sites.


The contaminated material contains uranium, radium-226, thorium-230, arsenic and other heavy metals, including toxic lead.


The careless and unregulated waste disposal practices of Eldorado through the widespread dumping of radioactive waste as fill, sloppy transportation, stack emissions and erosion of nuclear waste storage areas also saw toxic waste  carelessly dumped in Lake Ontario, the harbor, parks, schools, industrial properties, roads, ravines, fields and up to one thousand residential properties.


The most important natural areas of the town are also the most contaminated – the harbour lands, Monkey Mountain (also a historic site), Ganaraska River and the Lake Ontario waterfront.


Port Hope once had one of the most beautiful natural harbours on Lake Ontario. Today, the harbour is a toxic cesspool designated as one of the 43 most contaminated sites on both sides of the Great Lakes.


The harbour was first used as a dumping area by Eldorado in 1943 when Canada started supplying uranium for the American nuclear weapons program. According to a federal government report at the time, the highly radioactive sediment was not considered dangerous. However, according to a 1981 study by the Canadian Government: "the harbour is 25 times as contaminated as the tailings pile at a uranium mine."


Since the material in the harbour area is granular (including beach sand), it probably allowed for an accelerated flow rate of contaminants all the way to bedrock 50 feet down.

Ganaraska River which flows through and drains the town has also carried radioactive, chemical and heavy metal contaminants into Lake Ontario for decades.

Compounding the nuclear waste problem, the Government of Canada tore down most of Eldorado's buildings in the early 1950s to rebuild a better nuclear refinery. The used highly radioactive building materials were then given away to anyone who wanted them without warning of the dangers - or any record keeping. The free building material was used under, in and around homes, driveways, businesses, roads, parks, schools and other public buildings in Port Hope and surrounding communities.

The School Boards were one of the main beneficiaries of the used radioactive materials.  F
rom 1975 to 2004, about a dozen schools in Port Hope and Cobourg were built or expanded during this period - many on radioactive waste – including St. Mary’s School, Dr. L.B. Powers School, George Hamilton School, John Bosco School and Burnham School.

On the east side of the playground at Burnham School, the School Board had the playground covered with asphalt to contain the gamma radiation.

In 1975, St. Mary's Elementary School in Port Hope was found to have radon levels 21 times higher than the allowable levels:

“… in 1975, high levels of poisonous gas was detected (at St. Mary’s School)... The discovery sparked a scandal, and by 1982 almost every property in Port Hope had been surveyed, foundations of homes and buildings dug up, and 200,000 tonnes of the most severely contaminated soil and materials removed from 400 properties and transported to Chalk River, where the federal Crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) has its research station. At that point, in 1982, the cleanup stopped. The Chalk River site was full, and the federal government could find no other willing host… Contaminants that had already been excavated were simply left —some in tarp-covered piles around town, others fenced off in dumps and ravines—and considerable waste remained in the ground and trapped in the harbour’s sediment.”  

Kate Harries “Nuclear Reaction:  Accusations of cancer fallout”
The Walrus Magazine,
March, 2008

In 1978, testing conducted by AECL at Dr. Powers Elementary School showed radon concentrations in areas of 506 pCi/L or 125 times higher than the allowable level. Despite its own findings to the contrary, the AECB wrote to the Dr. Powers Principal on January 29, 1980 stating: "All readings are within the criteria established by the Federal Provincial Task Force on Radioactivity".

Almost three decades after the St. Mary’s incident, residents learned in 2004 that Dr. L.B. Powers Public School was built on radioactive waste. The school was permanently closed.

Older properties were the most likely to be contaminated with LLRW (especially those built between 1933 and 1955 in the town's core area) - from uncontrolled backfilling during construction and stack emissions from the Eldorado plant.


In 1966, spring floods ravaged part of the town's main shopping area, also exposing an estimated 15,000 tons of Eldorado waste on an open, undeveloped road allowance.


No warning was given to the people in Port Hope until the 1970's - before then few residents knew anything about radioactive waste or the dangers associated with it.


In July of 1976, it was discovered that areas of Port Hope were built on uranium waste landfill and that radiation levels in some buildings were 100 times more than safe. Bone marrow abnormalities were found in town residents.  


In 1980, a radioactive waste cleanup attempt failed when contaminated material from Port Hope filled up the Chalk River site. No other host site could be found and the cleanup of Port Hope was abandoned.

“…By the end of 1980, more than 100,000 m3 of historic waste had been transported 350 kilometres to a designated waste management area at AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories in northeast Ontario.  Because the designated area at the Chalk River site only had a limiting capacity of 100,000 m3, the remaining 235,000 m3 of contaminated waste that had been found in undeveloped areas, various ravines, the municipal landfill site, and sediments within the harbour turning basin could not be shipped to the Chalk River Laboratories site.” 

G. C. Case, G.G. Vandergaast, R.L. Zelmer  

aking Conceptual Design Choices for a Long Term Waste Management Facility,
Environmental Impact vs. Environmental Performance", Atomic Energy

of Canada Limited, Conference Phoenix, AZ, February 24-28, 2008

For almost a century, toxic contamination has leached into the groundwater of Port Hope from numerous sources. Radioactive contaminants in groundwater can migrate over long distances and contaminant plumes can persist for several hundreds of years.> The risk of re-contamination is real - there is no way to eliminate it and no way to keep it completely contained.


The reality is no agency or public official can say with absolute certainty how much radioactive waste exists in Port Hope or how how much will remain after the current clean-up. 



 35% Cleanup or a 65% Cover-up?


Around the time the Legal Agreement was signed in 2001, Port Hope residents were sold a fake Bill of Goods by public officials at public meetings .


Again and again, concerned residents were told that there would be "a full cleanup" and that the town would be rest to "a pristine state" and "background conditions". Later they learned it would be a limited and partial cleanup only.  


In 2005, public officials from the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) confirmed at a Port Hope Council meeting that its original estimate of 1.2 million cubic metres of radioactive waste was less than half of the actual amount of contamination in Port Hope.


Residents were then told the updated volume of radioactive waste was 3.5 million cubic metres of contaminated material and that this pile would cover 5 football fields to a height of 140 metres (460 feet).


Port Hope's Mayor Rick Austin re-iterated the public understanding at an international workshop later that same year:

 “We also understood the statement from the Legal Agreement “used for all current and foreseeable unrestricted uses” to mean a cleanup to background conditions.  And some federal politicians stated upon the signing of the Agreement in 2001 that Port Hope would again be “pristine”... (and) require the removal of an estimated 3.5 million cubic metres of material – about 350,000 truck loads of contaminated material through the community and almost as many trucks of clean fill returning on our streets.” 

Rick Austin, former Port Hope Mayor - “Protecting Present and
Future Generations: Reaching Agreement on Cleanup Criteria”
International Workshop in Salamanca, Spain  Nov. 16-18, 2005

At information sessions which followed, LLRWMO officials confirmed that there was 3.5 million cubic metres of contaminated material in Port Hope.  Residents were also told the final amount would probably be even higher as they had not yet finished testing the whole town.

“A Federal estimate suggests there are 3.5 million cubic metres of low-level contamination hidden underground in Port Hope, and Ottawa has earmarked money to help clean it up.” 

City News - “Uranium Plant Sparks Community Concerns
over Radioactive Poisoning
” - November 12, 2007

Shortly afterwards, the federal government unilaterally changed its mind. The contaminated land restored to natural background levels which had been agreed to by members of the community prior to the Legal Agreement being signed in 2001 was replaced by newly defined standards.

From 2007 onward, the estimated size of the cleanup was incrementally reduced by government officials from 3.5 million cubic metres (m3)... to 2 million m3... to 1.5 million m3 ... and then to 1.2 million m3 (or only one third of the original cleanup estimate!)

“Glenn Case, manager of engineering and operations for Atomic Energy of Canada, said if every piece of contaminated soil in Port Hope were to be cleaned up, there would be 3.5 million cubic metres, but a cleanup of only 1.5 million is required to meet the highest national standards.” 

Joyce Cassin, “Action wanted on soil cleanup
Northumberland Today, November 16th, 2007

The "highest national standards" was not the same standards as originally represented to the town. The cleanup criteria was unilaterally changed - without public input or a referendum. Words like "pristine" and "background conditions" were forgotten.

It was also a physical impossibility that a revised cleanup of only 1.2 million cubic metres could excavate “deep enough to reach natural background levels” as originally represented by officials (a 65.7% decrease from the original federal estimate).

"the figure being quoted in the press of 3.5 million cubic metres of contaminated soil was an estimate from back in 2005. Since then, AECL has determined that there are 1.5 million cubic metres of contaminated soil in Port Hope".

Port Hope Evening Guide,
November 14, 2007

“It will be the biggest radioactive waste cleanup in Canadian history. An estimated 1.2 million cubic metres of soil contaminated with historic low-level radioactive waste and industrial toxins – enough to fill almost 500 Olympic-size pools – will be dug up in Port Hope and trucked to a new storage facility north of town, where it will be sealed up for centuries…"

Carola Vyhnak, Ground for concern about radioactive
waste cleanup, Toronto Star, September 19, 2009


Public officials then admitted the new storage site could only handle 2 million m3 (including the LLRW from the previous dumpsite on the same location) – but would not say what would be done with the remaining waste scattered around the town.

“The Port Hope Project involves higher uncertainty regarding the location and characteristics of the low-level radioactive waste, more direct stakeholders… and a larger volume of waste from a variety of sites.”

Natural Resources Canada Evaluation Report –
the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI), 2011

Once digging starts, there is evidence to show that the volume of contamination at some sites will far exceed original estimates -  i.e. King St. test project (by railway tracks) revealed  five times the volume of contamination as originally predicted.  Other estimates could similarly skyrocket.

As any family member knows, a "cleanup" does not leave some of the messy waste under their family room carpet and transfer the rest to the property line for the next 500 years or more - as seen with Port Hope's radioactive waste.

The extent of the cleanup will depend not on the actual volume of contamination - but the limited amount of storage space available. If the waste storage site can only store 2 million m3 of LLRW, 1.5 million m3 of radioactive waste will remain buried around the town. 

Partial cleanup is estimated to be about 35% of actual toxic waste known to be present. Full range of radioactive isotopes, heavy metals (toxic lead) not tested - widely dispersed contamination at lower depths, hot spots & contaminated groundwater plumes remain.

In other countries, such volume of LLRW radioactive waste left in the ground would require the whole town to be licensed as a nuclear waste site.

* * *  

No other permanent radioactive waste storage site has been found in Canada. Without a single guarantee, the exorbitant cost of an unexpected future environmental cleanup could bankrupt the town.

What insurance policy will protect Port Hope and its residents from all unforeseen events, future claims and liabilities after the current partial cleanup is completed?

"Ottawa is looking at $7.7-BILLION in cleanup costs for contaminated sites, but has only set aside a fraction of the necessary funding… The biggest sites – including Port Hope are at the top of the government's priority list for cleanup, but they are devouring the federal funding…"  

Heather Scoffield, “As Tories rewrite rules, Watchdog
details cost of lax environmental regulation…”
The Globe and Mail, May 8, 2012

Secret Lead Protocol

Aside from arsenic, another potential health hazard exists in Port Hope - lead levels have tested 500 times over provincial standards (Ministry of Environment)


No independant peer reviewed health study has ever been carried out to follow the health of  town residents for at least 30 years.



Lead is a stabile heavy metal and remains in the ground forever unless it is physically removed. It is listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and considered a probable health hazard and carcinogenic.  Plants are exposed to lead through the uptake of water.

Historically, uranium ore waste and residues from the Eldorado refinery and toxic heavy metal lead waste from the Crane plant next to it were stored on site or carelessly dumped in the Ganaraska River, harbour and Lake Ontario - in addition to parks, ravines and even hardening many driveways - leaving a sizable lead "footprint" on the town. 


A similar waste disposal pattern on land seemed to emerge with waste from Cameco (Eldorado's successor):

“An area that received Cameco waste was likely just as attractive a site for the disposal of Crane waste, although the Crane waste would have been dumped first.”

Follow-up Soil Investigation at Lions Park, Caroline St.
Park, and St. Mary's School - Port Hope (1997)

For decades, numerous residential driveways in Port Hope were covered with radioactive rubble from Eldorado - often commingled with toxic lead from the Crane site. Commingled together, the radioactive waste and lead waste were also freely discarded and made available for public use.

* * *


"Port Hope homeowners in the dark about
dangerously high levels of
on their property..."
Global News, November 28, 2017

("The findings point to a troubling lack of openness and up front disclosure by a company that is being paid federal tax dollars from every Canadian to handle the cleanup responsibly.")

"Port Hope homeowners worried by toxic soil"

Global News, November 29, 2017

"Lead contamination vs. Port Hope Area Initiative:
who's responsible?"

Northumberland News, December 14, 2017

"Low level radioactive waste produced by Eldorado also contained toxic lead, a heavy metal. A federal crown corporation of the Canadian Government, Eldorado was the heaviest polluter and therefore the most responsible.

Once contaminated properties have been remediated, property owners should receive a Compliance Letter from the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI), confirming that their property meets the PHAI Clean-up Criteria."

“Once that compliance letter is issued…
We’re done.”

Craig Hebert as quoted in
Northumberland News, December 14, 2017

* * *

Reliable sources confirm and it is the opinion of this website that other serious concerns may remain outstanding:

  • Clean-up Criteria on all contaminated properties does not  comply with the new provincial clean-up criteria of the MOE which came into effect on July 1, 2011 for uranium and other contaminants of potential concern such as lead 37% failure rate in Campaign 1 data.

  • Testing methodology used did not confirm whether lead contamination was commingled with LLRW.

  • "Signature parameters" to find the waste were reduced by 80% to four parameters  only (uranium, arsenic, radium and thorium). Sixteen parameters have not been tested. 

  • Full testing for lead and other metals not completed - lead removed from the Remediation Verification Standard Operating Procedure.

  • X-ray fluorescence (XRF) equipment results of preliminary scanning did not provide CNL with adequate data for correct lead results.

Homeowners have not been provided with a written Guarantee (a compliance letter is insufficient) as to the quality of clean-up and indemnity against any and/or future claims.

The foregoing manner of testing for lead is unacceptable and unreliable. A full peer review by outside experts is strongly needed.

* * *

Since public officials are no longer testing for lead, it is impossible to estimate the total amount of lead especially on historically lead covered driveways around the town. The lead footprint on the town could be huge.

“A large percentage of this residue fill material was indiscriminately dumped in areas throughout the town where clean fill material was required. Low lying backyards, driveways, marshy areas, ravines, etc. all were candidates for the radioactive fill… Such was the case of St. Mary's School, where the side of an existing ravine was extended with all types of fill material from many of the local industries including the refinery. An addition to the school was later built on this fill material… The residue material in addition to its use as fill, also made an excellent subfloor drainage medium, especially when combined with waste material from the Crane sanitary casting plant…”


Glenn Case, Summary and Historical Review of
the Radioactive Clean-up in Port Hope, 1980 

According to the terms of the 2001 Cleanup Agreement, commingled toxic waste is supposed to be cleaned up by the Government of Canada:

"Through the cleanup process, other contaminants may be found

commingled with the Historic Low-Level Radioactive Waste, and in such cases, Canada shall clean up the commingled waste material."

2001 Legal Agreement - signed by ASOs for
Federal and Municipal Governments


Land contaminated with lead only will not be cleaned up.  Contaminated sites may not always be identified correctly.

"The presence of industrial operations in Port Hope near the former Eldorado refinery confounds the identification of the source of environmental contaminants. The  foundry that existed on the Port Hope harbour centre pier was also a source of heavy metal contamination as a result of waste management operations practised at that time. These historic sources, combined with other historic societal practices which led to soil contamination, present a challenge to the recognition and partitioning of historic LLRW from Eldorado."

Port Hope Area Initiative Clean-Up Criteria

December 2006



Health studies funded by Health Canada to determine if there were adverse health effects caused by the radioactive waste in Port Hope indicated higher than average mortality rates in a number of areas, all of which can be caused by lead exposure.


However, the health studies never considered the possibility that severe lead contamination could be present - so the link between the high mortality rates and lead exposure was never made.

"The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization. Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer. The IARC has classified inorganic lead compounds as "probably carcinogenic to humans..."

 American Cancer Society

When the Legal Agreement was signed in 2001, the Clean Up Criteria (aka generic site condition standards) maximum limit was 200 ppm for lead - reflecting MOE standards of the day. 

Effective on July 1, 2011, the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) introduced new provincial clean-up criteria (aka generic site condition standards) which decreased the maximum limit of acceptable lead on residential properties from 200 ppm to 120 ppm.

More stringent provincial standards by MOE in 2011 improved public safety - but also significantly increased cleanup costs for the federal government. 

In Port Hope, the lead levels have tested much higher - 61,700 which is over 500 times the acceptable level (120 ppm). (By comparison, arsenic is almost as bad - 376 times the acceptable level).

Lead levels are dangerously high in Port Hope -
upwards of
500 times over MOE standards

  MOE max (ppm) Port Hope (ppm)



Dangerously high levels of lead have been found on many sites including the Lions Recreation Centre Park, Port Hope Harbour Centre Pier, Monkey Mountain and numerous residential properties. Road beds are also contaminated ie. Pine Street extension and Highland Drive.

Debris believed to be Crane's was encountered in two of three study areas only lead poses a health concern... This park was used as a play ground for St. Mary’s School... How the waste came to be deposited in the park is unknown, although it is suspected that the area currently occupied by Lions Park was a municipal dump at the turn of the century, which would have been an attractive location for the disposal of foundry... showed heavy metals concentrations associated with low-level radioactive waste clearly well above those which would be safe for the public." 

Follow-up Soil Investigation at Lions Park, Caroline St.
Park, and St. Mary's School - Port Hope (1997) 

The 2001 Legal Agreement between the Government of Canada and Port Hope stated that when lead is found on residential properties which is not commingled with LLRW, then residents are to be notified immediately of the contamination on their property and advising them that Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is not responsible for the clean-up.  

Ignoring the terms of the 2001 Legal Agreement, test results showing high lead are no longer disclosed to property owners.  CNL even issued a Protocol that justified not disclosing lead contamination when found to landowners in order "to avoid leaving a property owner with the burden of knowing about the presence of non-LLRW soil contamination remaining on the property." (Port Hope Area Initiative Clean-up Criteria 4-27 Revision 5 December 2006) 


In 2009, heavy metal concentrations were found to be at very dangerous levels -- but a CNSC document assured the public that heavy metals were not at harmful levels.


Elevated mortality rates in Port Hope can be attributed to lead exposure. Health Canada's numerous health studies only considered the radioactive components and reported that toxic heavy metal concentrations are below safe limits. However, soil results have shown dangerously high levels of heavy metals, including lead.

The symptoms of toxic lead poisoning are not always apparent - but its effects are irreversible.  A blood level test for lead is easily arranged through your family doctor.

Unless LLRW is known to be present, the Canadian Government is no longer testing for lead - especially where high lead concentrations are suspected.


It also appears senior government officials are concerned that if residents were informed of the lead contamination on their properties, they would sue the Canadian Government and CNL - to make them clean it up. The clean-up project is already over budget and there is no money to cover legal fees in such events.


It also appears public officials in the nuclear industry did not want to see any lead results they would have to communicate to higher levels - so they told the local subcontractors not to send them. 


From the original testing program which included 20 Contaminants of Potential Concern, the testing program (and cleanup criteria) was reduced to only four "signature parameters" - with mixed results which don't always work.

"The testing program included 20 Contaminants of Potential Concern... although only four are considered “signature parameters” which can be used to reliably and indisputably identify the LLRW...  invariably includes elevated concentrations of 226Ra, 230Th, As and/or U above normal background concentrations... Since the PHAI mandate is to only remediate properties containing LLRW, including other waste types co-mingled with LLRW, consideration should be given to reducing the list of analytes to be tested to the signature parameters so as not to raise expectations on the part of the property owners that the PHAI will remediate other waste types. "

The Challenges of investigating and Remediating
Port Hope’s small-scale urban properties - Phoenix,
 Arizona Conference February 24 – 28, 2013, by
Walter van Veen, Glenn Case, John Benson, Judy Herod




  • As shown above, of the original 20 Contaminants of Potential Concern - only four search parameters used in the government's testing program (radium, uranium, thorium, arsenic) - or a 80% reduction in number of search parameters !

  • Failure rate of fieldwork data unacceptably high.

  • Incomplete testing done for all the metals - X-ray fluorescence (XRF) equipment used in preliminary scanning obtained data for uranium and arsenic only - but not lead.

  • Laboratory certificates do not reflect all results of metals scans - especially lead.

  • Incomplete testing for lead commingled with LLRW.


Toxic lead contamination throughout Port Hope will only be partially cleaned up. According to the 2006 Clean-up Criteria:

 "The waste products generated by other industrial processes, local foundries for example, will not be remediated as part of the PHAI. With the exception of the acceptance of non-LLRW from the four designated industrial waste-contaminated sites in Port Hope, the PHAI long-term radioactive waste management facilities will not be accepting materials other than Eldorado’s historic wastes and associated contaminated soils or other materials."

PHAI Clean-up Criteria, 2006


An internal Port Hope Area Initiative Special Circumstances Protocol (page 18) in 2015 by the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories again justified not disclosing lead contamination and provided a reason why owners of contaminated lands were not notified in accordance with the terms of the 2001 Legal agreement “to avoid leaving a property owner with the burden of knowing about the presence of non-[radioactive] soil contamination remaining on the property”.

In 2015, the CNL was advised that Port Hope residents were not being informed of lead contamination found on their properties. CNL responded that changes must be made to the protocol and residents must be informed of lead contamination. The protocol comments sent to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) contained false information that residents would be notified of lead contamination.


In 2016, the protocol was changed to inform residents of contamination when it is not related to radioactive waste. After the protocol was re-issued, the subcontractor obtaining the analytical data was notified not to send to CNL the lead concentrations where they exceed limits without the exceedance of a radioactive element.


XRF units fault when arsenic and lead are both present in the soil. The fault only happens when lead values are elevated and the fault results in failures in the detection limit reporting for arsenic - which the unit shows in its results. Therefore, even by telling subcontractors not to send CNL the lead results, the lead exceedances would still be obvious. Nothing other than lead can cause the XRF equipment to report this type of fault.


The wording in the protocol under the Decision Process for Application of Non-LLRW Constraint Special Circumstance (page 18) was then changed from:  “screening level samples indicate presence [of lead]… to “results of laboratory analysis indicate presence [of lead]….


By using the screening level data, officials have purposefully avoided sending samples to the laboratory that contain high levels of lead without any radioactive component. Accordingly, the laboratory would never have the situation of “laboratory analysis indicate presence…” of lead. 

Despite the new wording of the protocol, residents are still not being notified of lead contamination found on their properties - when it is not accompanied by radioactive waste.
After a lengthy delay, homeowners are provided with written confirmation that makes them feel their property is safe - but have no idea that high levels of toxic lead may still be present.


As to lead testing disparities, unofficial responses of public officials have included: “Rules and reality don’t always marry”, “We have no lead results. I know nothing” and "Toxic lead is not radioactive and therefore is not part of the clean-up."

Lead contamination found on residential and other property types will not be cleaned up by the federal government unless the lead waste is mixed with LLRW. This is of significant concern because lead does not break down over time and remains in the ground forever - unless it is physically removed or cleaned up. 

There is also concern that if residents are informed of the lead contamination on their property, they will sue the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to make them clean it up. The Port Hope Area Initiative project is already over budget and there is no money to cover legal fees should this occur.

Unlike the other by-products associated with low level radioactive waste, the very high lead concentrations of lead in Port Hope can also be attributed to the Crane plumbing and porcelain factory located next to Eldorado which closed in 1967.

When the Crane factory closed, Eldorado Nuclear (a crown corporation) leased the Centre Pier from the Town of Port Hope as a storage area for excessive LLRW which was commingled with the toxic lead waste from the previous tenant (Crane).t

The Federal Government is responsible for cleaning up the commingled waste (incl. lead) according to the terms of the 2001 Legal Agreement.

Without public knowledge, the new reality is toxic lead and LLRW will NOT be remediated to background conditions (as originally represented by public officials to the community) - or in accordance with provincial MOE standards and international guidelines. 

Without warning of the risks and potential dangers, the health of Port Hope residents and even human lives, have been compromised.

Lead - Health Issues

Lead poisoning is an environmental and public health hazard - even in small amounts, it can be dangerous to humans, animals and wildlife.

The symptoms of LLRW and lead poisoning can be very similar.  Without blood level testing for the presence of lead - the symptoms between the two toxic poisons (LLRW and lead) can be hard to distinguish.  Women and children are especially vulnerable.

(especially Mothers and children)


High lead in the human body can cause dramatic increases in heart attacks, strokes, cancer, kidney failure and death. In children, high lead can also cause ADHD, developmental and learning problems, and autism.

Other Important reasons to have your blood tested for lead:

  • High lead levels can seriously affect health. The longer level of high lead, the greater the risk of health problems.

  • Once lead gets into your body, it stays there for a long time (especially bones where it is stored).

  • Even if exposed to small amounts, lead can build up in your body over time. 

  • Increased soil lead levels constitute a health risk for children.

  • Damage done by lead may be permanent.

  • Lead  exposure can affect blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes (cardiovascular, coronary heart disease, etc.) Too much lead can damage your brain, nerves, kidneys, and blood cells.


Past health studies have tested for the presence of low level radioactive waste (LLRW) - but NOT the presence of toxic heavy metal (lead). These studies never considered the possibility that lead contamination could be present.  Because the presence of lead was never tested - the link between the high mortality rates and lead exposure was never made.


The only way the effects of high lead levels can be confirmed are a blood level test for lead and an extensive (30 years) independent health study.

Nearly 40 percent of all Americans are estimated to have blood levels of lead high enough to cause serious health problems.  In one American study, researchers found that:

"a blood level of lead over 2 micrograms/deciliter (that’s 2, not 10 or 40) caused dramatic increases in heart attacks, strokes, and death. In fact, after controlling for all other risk factors, including cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and inflammation, the researchers found that the risk of death from all causes in people with a lead level that high increased by 25 percent, deaths from heart disease increased by 55 percent, risk of heart attacks increased by 151 percent, and risk of stroke increased by 89 percent."

Studies Show Any Lead in Your Body May be Unsafe
Circulation Medical Journal, 2006


Canada is currently considering making blood lead levels (BLLs) above 1 ug/dL the new action level:

“Health effects have been associated with BLLs as low as 1–2 μg/dL… It is considered appropriate to apply a conservative approach when characterizing risk; accordingly, additional measures to further reduce exposures of Canadians to lead are warranted.”

Health Canada - Final Human Health
State of the Science Report on Lead

Most experts believe - any lead is too much.  If lead exposure is causing elevated mortality rates in Port Hope, then it needs to be addressed immediately.

Other Health Issues

For generations, the health of the town's citizens have been compromised for the health of the nuclear industry.  Not only were an untold number of residents seriously affected by mysterious health conditions - but so were Eldorado's workers.

A well documented case was Bill Young, a chemical engineer who worked for Eldorado and was contaminated with alpha particle radioactivity in the summer of 1954. Two years later he died suddenly at 34 years of age of reticulum cell sarcoma, leaving four young children behind without a father.  It was a type of cancer with symptoms similar to the cancer that killed thousands of Japanese victims two to eight years after the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings. Eldorado refused to accept responsibility for his death but his wife fought for 43 years and finally in 1999, a tribunal ruled in her favour awarding her $400,000.(A full account is found in the book Nuclear Family, 1991 by Joanne Young).

“Nuclear power… creates massive quantities of radioactive waste. There is no way to put it on earth that’s safe. As it leaks into the water over time, it will bioconcentrate in the food chains, in the breast milk, in the fetuses, that are thousands of times more radiosensitive than adults. One x-ray to the pregnant abdomen doubles the incidence of leukemia in the child. And over time, nuclear waste will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease, and random compulsory genetic engineering. And we’re not the only species with genes, of course. It’s plants and animals. So, this is an absolute catastrophe, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

 Dr. Helen Caldicott


Over the years, the Canadian  Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) have continued to state that there are no adverse health effects or danger to people's health in Port Hope from the nuclear industry. CNHC has also stated that more than 40 studies indicate residents have low levels of exposure to all types of contaminants. However, in the opinion of some medical professionals, the categories of health indicators in some of those health studies such as cancers, congenital anomalies and stillbirths may have been modified. There is no independent watchdog.


CNSC has also stated that death rates, including cancer deaths, are no higher in Port Hope than elsewhere in Ontario and that there is no undisputed evidence that radioactive materials released into the environment have harmed a single person in Port Hope.


If radioactive waste is so safe, many residents are left wondering:


If Port Hope is so safe, why is the Canadian Government
 spending over a BILLION $$ to clean it ?


Various health studies to determine if there were adverse health effects caused by the radioactive waste in Port Hope have indicated higher than average mortality rates in a number of areas -  all of which could be caused by low level radioactive waste (uranium, arsenic, etc.) and also lead exposure.


In November, 2007 the Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee outlined the results of a small study of nine residents which showed that in addition to higher than normal concentrations of uranium concentration found in their bodies, four of the subjects had traces of U-236 (non-natural uranium), indicative of reprocessed reactor fuel and that one of  those subjects had a higher U-238 ratio, indicative of depleted uranium. These test results were obtained from samples analyzed at the Institute for Mineralogy, J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany in a specialized radiochemistry laboratory.

"The study found small levels of radioactive elements in the urine of four of nine people who were tested, including a child under age 14. "You've got almost 50 per cent of the people showing contamination," Weyman said. "You'd think (federal regulators) would see this as an alarming statistic and do further studies."

Port Hope radiation tests 'alarming' by Peter Gorrie
Toronto Star, November 14, 2007


The unexplainable 2007 test results remains a mystery including: “dirty” uranium that had passed through a nuclear reactor; enriched uranium 234; and depleted uranium (used in nuclear weapons).

“It’s not the quantity;  it’s the specific signature,
the type...  It’s not supposed to be there.”

Tedd Weyman, Deputy Director
Uranium Medical Research Centre


Andy Johncox had worked for Eldorado for 14 years (until 1982) and was one of those tested. Non-natural uranium (spent nuclear fuel) was still found in small levels in his urine almost 25 years after he left Eldorado. 


AECL claimed only low-level waste was present in Port Hope. However, Johncox had tested positive for U236 - a "high-level" radioactive waste from spent nuclear reactor fuel. An AECL official publicly admitted at the time they had not tested for U236.

AECL made no allowances for the presence of high-level waste in Port Hope. It has not tested for U236 and other high-level waste because of cost and other factors. Clean-up of high-level waste would require a more sophisticated and expensive method of excavation - in addition to a much more complex storage facility.

“No one knows how it got into our systems.

It's a mystery, and no one ever investigated.”

Andy Johncox, former Eldorado worker


Furthermore, according to Andy Johncox “There is low-level radioactive waste everywhere in town... but the government has continuously refused to do an extensive health study...”  He wasn't the only one to question Health Canada's findings.

In 2000, epidemiologist Eric Mintz, in a 20-page critique of a cancer study, gave a different twist to the numbers. He argued that federal data show higher than normal rates of leukemia and childhood deaths, as well as an elevated incidence of brain, lung and colon cancers for certain demographics and time periods. Mintz further said there were “several areas of concern that warrant further investigation.”

Epidemiologist Rosalie Bertell, author of No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth, critiqued a Health Canada study of cancer incidence in Port Hope. Dr. Bertell responded to Health Canada Health Studies in Port Hope (1998 & 2000) which found:

»  13% more deaths than expected; 
»  48% excess childhood leukemia;
»  38% excess female deaths from colorectal cancer;
»  double the expected female brain cancers;
»  four times the expected brain cancers in children;
»  nasal cancer in men five times higher than expected; 
»  esophageal cancer in men twice the expected rate;
»  300 excess deaths from circulatory diseases.

Health Canada stated none of these results are “significant” and would do no follow-up.

“Health Canada’s claim of “no problem” to area residents from 70 years of exposure is fraudulent and not supported by the data presented in the report...”

Dr. Rosalie Bertell 


The CNSC hired epidemiologist Dr. Eric Mintz, to analyze the studies and he concluded:

“The patterns of several cancer rates show cause for concern in that the patterns are consistent with environmental contamination and certainly the raised leukemia rates, which were even higher before remediation, are not reassuring. Along with the brain cancer, colon cancer and some of the rare cancer results, the available evidence points to there being problems in Port Hope”.

The CNSC refused to accept Dr. Mintz’s analysis. The excess illnesses and deaths were caused by LLRW being indiscriminantly dumped by Eldorado and the Canadian Government who owned the Port Hope nuclear facility.


Both CNSC and Health Canada covered up federal liabilities in Port Hope by refusing to conduct comprehensive health studies first promised in 1978.  

"In Port Hope, Ontario, where 3.5 million cubic metres of radioactive soil and waste has been dispersed… the children have experienced elevated cases of disease... The people of Port Hope are still waiting for the health studies commitment to be honoured. Independent statistical analysis of two preliminary federal studies released several years ago has shown elevated rates in Port Hope of incidence and mortality from such diseases as lung cancer, brain cancer, colon cancer, lip, nose and pharyngeal cancer, non-Hodgkinsons lymphoma, and circulating disease. It was also found that the water in Port Hope had arsenic levels 11 times the acceptable rate for Ontario, and a contamination of the water with uranium 50 times higher than the Provincial Water Quality Objectives." 

A Response to the UDP Report - Risks for Health and Safety

from Uranium Development, Dr. Bill Adamson, June 23, 2009


"...there has never been a scientifically validated, peer reviewed, epidemiological study of the people. Never. And the CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) claims they've got some studies that say the people in Port Hope are healthy. The studies they've done, which I feel are very partial and not very scientific, do indicate a high incidence of brain cancer in women and children, lung cancer in women, leukemia in children, very high incidence of arteriovascular disease, which can be caused by radiation, and the like... The indication is that such a study should and must be done, number one, by an independent university with independent funding."

Interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott by
Cathryn Atkinson - February 8, 2011

"In November 2007 at a press release at the Waterkeeper offices in Toronto, the Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee (PHCHCC) and the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC) released test results for uranium contamination on 9 Port Hope residents. All 9 showed U235 and U238, natural uranium, and all 9 had U234, a signature of recycled enriched uranium, unnatural, in their bodies. Three of those tested where former nuclear workers who also had U236, spent reactor fuel in their systems, another unnatural species. Eleven to 23 years after employment, it is still being released from our bodies. I am one of those contaminated workers. Consider all the illness, the uranium evidence in my body. Consider the seemingly unconscious silence of the company, union, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Health Canada, our Government and politicians across this country. It all takes on a ghostly image, shadowing unethical, unprincipled, corruption of someplace else, some other, less desirable, country. And it has shaken the very foundation of what it means to me, to be a Canadian."

The Experience of a Former Nuclear Energy Worker
 Dan Rudka, Port Hope, 2008

"Calling Port Hope a “tragedy,” Helen Caldicott says people should never be exposed to radioactive material. Even so-called low-level radiation causes high-level doses when it gets inside the body and turns cells cancerous in a “silent process” that takes five to 60 years, she says.  Drinking water that’s taken from Lake Ontario is also at risk, adds Caldicott. She agrees with residents who have long complained about the lack of a real health study in the area. “There hasn’t been a decent epidemiological study,” Caldicott says. “The whole thing is medically corrupt from beginning to end.”

Warning Port Hope a toxic time bomb; the only solution? Move 
Toronto Star, Carola Vyhnak, November 9, 2010

"The lack of evidence for any harm to health in Port Hope is because no extensive health study has been done... a proper health study would follow residents and their health for at least 30 years...  I am worried about the effects of something that has been around for decades and has never been studied.”

Dale Dewar, 
Physicians for Global Survival

"No cancer identifies its origin. The only way to identify an increased exposed population, like Port Hope, is to follow all of them from birth to death..."

Dr. Helen Caldicott
Dr. Helen Caldicott gives impassioned talk to standing room only
crowd in Oshawa
  Northumberland News, November 17, 2010 

Over the past 20 years, Health Canada has contributed to at least 8 health and environmental studies related to uranium concentrations in Port Hope, none of which showed any health effects from past or present exposure to radiation. Health Canada has also maintained that cancer and mortality statistics in Port Hope are comparable with similar towns and Ontario as a whole.

To date, there has never been an extensive health study of the effects of LLRW or lead contamination in Port Hope. Health Canada reports however contained clear warnings about drawing conclusions from limited population sizes.

The two worlds of Port Hope still aren't on the same page

by Penny Sanger
The two worlds of Port Hope politely stepped around each other in front of the Atomic Energy Control Board at its meeting in the Legion hall on Oct. 7. After citizens described for board members the acute health problems that plague families exposed to toxic emissions from Cameco (formerly Eldorado Nuclear Ltd.), a representative of the Canadian Nuclear Workers Council took the mike to say their workers couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.

"We only see these people every couple of years at these hearings," he said. Questioned by board member Yves Giroux about whether his union, the United Steelworkers of America, had done its own research into the health of past members, given the deaths, cancers and related diseases reported over the years, he said he was not aware of any such research or indeed if any health records were held by the union. United Steelworkers is especially proud of its health and safety standards, he maintained.

But Chris Conti of Port Hope's Environmental Advisory Committee spoke of soil contaminated with arsenic, lead and mercury in the area around Cameco, and poor air quality with no enforceable standards for uranium emissions. He said that 20 to 30 kilos of uranium particulate per month were being emitted from the Cameco stacks.

Faye More of the Community Health Concerns Committee echoed his concerns, noting the lack of any buffer zone around the plant. "Surely," she suggested, "we're seeing a pattern here?"

Other intervenors told their stories of growing up in the shadow of the plant.

Pat [Croft] McMillan's family moved to a house on south John Street, right across from the Eldorado plant, when she was a child. She remembers the thick yellow smoke that billowed out from the stacks:

"We played in the park, on the beach and along the shore... and our eyes would sting. We thought it was normal to have to rub them." She and her siblings also ate her father's home-grown vegetables, "his pride and joy... We just wiped the dust off and ate them unwashed." She's had a brain aneurysm and her sons have a range of health problems, including severe asthma, allergies and Tourette's syndrome.

Pat Lawson said she thought these people represent the tip of an iceberg. Not everyone is willing to go public with their personal tragedies. She urged the board to act on a proposal submitted three-and-a-half years ago from the Port Hope Community Health Concerns group for a wide-ranging epidemiological health survey. It would start by studying the health of people most exposed to the effects of contaminants when emissions were much higher than they are now.  If cause and effect is established between the contaminants and their health, a much larger survey would take place. Every household would be screened.

In a day of carefully shrouded discussion, conducted in the generalities favoured by AECB staff, concrete commitments were as scarce as hen's teeth. Only a report on soil monitoring from David McLaughlin of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, whose work has continued since 1973, delivered clearly practical advances. By sinking pots of clean earth in areas near the plant, he is tracking the amount and movement of certain contaminants.

The verdict on whether Cameco will have its license renewed, and for how long (one of the stated reasons for the meeting), will have to wait. Probably not for five years as Cameco wants, more likely two.

No, its license will not be suspended until its toxic emissions are cleaned up, as some of those intervenors with deadly sickness in their families want. But there will be a health study, of sorts. How soon, how wide-ranging and therefore how effective the study will be, seems, in the wake of the board meeting, to depend on the energy and skill of the Port Hope people who have been lobbying for one so reasonably and for so long.

Penny Sanger*
The Crier, October 21, 1999

(Penny Sanger grew up in Port Hope, and is the author of Blind Faith:  The nuclear industry in a small town (1981) about Eldorado and radioactive waste disposal in Port Hope.)

Nano particles

There are no regulatory standards for release of nanoparticles in the world.

Radioactive particles (nanoparticles) become airborne when the ground is excavated or disturbed. Nanoparticles can travel long distances - the Greater Toronto area is within the sphere of influence of these carcinogenic contaminants. 


During the cleanup operation and excavation, there is no guarantee that minute radioactive contaminants will NOT be re-suspended into the air. Dust suppression may control but not eliminate this hazard. 

There are many dangers with airborne radioactive material - although those in the nuclear industry say it is safe.

"Historic low-level radioactive waste buried in parks, ravines, streets, industrial sites, the harbour and hundreds of backyards poses a 'life or death' threat and can't be safely remediated… You can't clean it up. Transferring it just exposes more people to radioactive material..."

Dr. Helen Caldicott, “Warning Port Hope a toxic time bomb…”
Toronto Star, November 9, 2010

Cleanup of hundreds of sites around town of all sizes by independant contractors in a hurry to finish a complicated job is not 100% safe. Covered trucks, dust suppression and monitoring will not eliminate the risk.

Nano particles

Disturbance of contaminated soil may see re-suspension of minute contaminants into the air which could travel far distances on the wind - potentially affecting millions of people.

"How do you dig up any soil, put it in a truck and move it
to a dumpsite without any dust? ...
Are we just kidding
that they can look after it in perpetuity?"

Louise Barraclough, past President
Families Against Radiation Exposure

Welcome Waste Management Facilities (WWMF)

The largest LLRW radioactive dump site in the country is located next to town's front doorway (Hwy. 401 and Toronto Rd.) - in the same elevated wetland area as previous nuclear dumpsite closed due to radioactive material leaking into Lake Ontario.

Radioactive waste can remain toxic for millions of years - the new facility will be monitored by the Canadian Government for 300 years only. There is is no known permanent storage solution.

The new Welcome Waste Management Facility (WWMF) is situated in one of the worst locations for a radioactive waste dumpsite and storage facility – beside a populated urban area, along Canada’s busiest highway (#401), within the Great Lakes Watershed (Lake Ontario) and on an elevated wetland area.

“You do not put nuclear waste near things like the Great Lakes or
the great rivers in case there’s a leakage that you haven’t expected”.

William Fyfe, Professor Emeritus in Geochemistry,
University of Western Ontario and 
International Consultant on Nuclear Waste

The extent of the cleanup depends not only on volume of actual contamination -- but on the amount of  storage space available - which is LIMITED. The new WWMF will store an additional 1.2 million cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste - in addition to 450,000 cubic metres of Eldorado's waste from the old facility which is already on site.

When completed, it has been estimated the height of the giant containment mound of contaminated radioactive waste may rise up to 200 feet and hold a total volume of 1.9 million cubic metres of waste.

The total storage capacity of the WWMF is fixed. The actual amount of contaminated waste in Port Hope is unknown - but is estimated to be at least double the maximum capacity of the new WWMF.  There is no other alternative permanent nuclear storage solution known.

The former radioactive dump on the same site had to be closed because toxic waste was leaching into Lake Ontario, cattle were mysteriously dying after drinking water from nearby streams, and nearby rural families moved as members became sick or died from poisoned wells.

Agricultural land was replaced by residential development which also became contaminated.

"Clearly there was a steady flow of radioactive effluent leeching out and draining into the Harbour. I commented that no one should ever build a dump on a hill above a Town! It was suicidal! Actually builders came and built a row of houses down to the lower level! In the 1976 crisis, the house basements were found to be high-radon and expensive remedial work had to be undertaken".  

Dr. D.G. Andrews, Professor Emeritus,

Nuclear Engineering, University of Toronto, 1996



The risk of leakage and recontamination remains real even with a new facility. After heavy rains in June, 2017, the new $22-million wastewater treatment plant on the same site failed before the cleanup had even fully got underway. Newspapers were silent on what should have made  front page news.


The new Waste Water Treatment Plant overflowed because of high water levels and the new expensive equipment stopped working properly. Water overflowed from its storm water management ponds to Brand Creek and Lake Ontario.


The situation was serious enough that Environment Canada and the Ministry of Environment with special consultants were brought in. The operation to fix the problems lasted for months - running 24/7. Contractors and sub-contractors on site were made to sign non-disclosure agreements as to their findings.  


Nuclear facilities could also become a potential target for terrorist activities.

"All nuclear power reactors and places where quantities of radioactive material are stored could be as dangerous as nuclear weapon explosions.  If they… become the object of terrorist activity, military bombardment or sabotage, radioactive material could spread on a vast and devastating scale." 

Interview with John Berger, International Physicians,
“Nuclear Tsunami: The Japanese Government and America's Role
in the Fukushima
Disasterby Richard Krooth, et al  2015


Crazy Caverns

In 1995, the people of Port Hope defeated a federal scheme called Crazy Caverns to bury a million tons of radioactive and toxic waste in 19 caverns (each the size of a 12 story apartment building) under the Port Hope waterfront. 


After Dr. Suzuki spoke in Port Hope in 1995 at the height of the controversial proposal to store radioactive waste in caverns under Lake Ontario, over one thousand people showed up and shortly after his appearance, the caverns plan was abandoned.

"Atomic energy of Canada Ltd., (AECL) spent 15 years and $700 million dollars developing a plan for deep rock disposal. For 8 years the Seaborn Commission held hearings and gathered evidence, but decided in 1998 that the plan for such long lasting wastes was not satisfactory or socially acceptable."

The Problem with Nuclear is the Radiation
Bill Adamson

"The Pirates of Port Hope and their Crazy Caverns" written by Tom Lawson tells the Crazy Caverns story of a town which was bought with cash for another "equally insane plan".  The Port Hope Crazy Caverns was also similar t
o another crazy caverns scheme currently ongoing near Kincardine on the Bruce Peninsula.

“…in 1995 the people of Port Hope defeated what came to be called the Crazy Caverns. It was a government scheme to bury a million tons of radioactive and toxic waste, "out of sight, out of mind" under the Port Hope waterfront. After an agonizing year of fighting without a penny of government support against a million dollar campaign of bribery and blackmail, the townspeople rejected the scheme. The nukes changed their language to "short term and long term management", did away with referendums, and proceeded to buy out communities with cash. Having given up the dream of a nuclear renaissance, they now concentrate on finding a solution for their impossible waste problem. The town has been bought. The equally insane plan now is to dig up all Port Hope's waste and truck it to a "state of the art" facility on a wetland just west of town that drains into Lake Ontario. Kincardine now inherits an equally Crazy Caverns scheme on a grander scale…”

Tom Lawson, Retired Port Hope resident
January 22, 2013


The same Port Hope pirates who had spearheaded the Crazy Caverns plan focused instead on shifting all Port Hope's known radioactive and toxic wastes to the proposed dumpsite just west of town - the next worst possible location.

Monkey Mountain Residue Area

The historic Monkey Mountain Residue Area and Highland Drive Land Fill next to the Ganaraska River is one of the most contaminated areas in Port Hope.

The first residues of the Eldorado nuclear plant were dumped directly on the harbour lands from 1933 to 1939.

From 1945 these residues were reprocessed and dumped at the Monkey Mountain Residue Area by Eldorado.  Until 1948, vast amounts of nuclear waste used for the potent wastes from the radium plant  (radium, uranium, arsenic, etc.) were dumped here.  Former cleanup attempts were not completely successful.


In addition to radioactive waste from the 1940’s of the most dangerous kind in the Monkey Mountain Residue Area,  regular waste from the County landfill was later added.

Cleanup of the historic LLRW at this landfill site is scheduled to begin in 2020 and take approximately 12 to 18 months.  Contaminants found to be commingled with historic LLRW will be cleaned up. The non-LLRW municipal solid waste is not included in the clean-up.

Whether the remediated site in Port Hope after the clean-up will be fit for industrial , residential development  or any other use has not been revealed by all levels of government.

"Three levels of government settle dispute over cleaning
up landfill with radioactive waste, but details a secret"

"Northumberland County has agreed to a mediated settlement between its representative and those for Port Hope and the Federal Government of Canada about the low-level radioactive waste clean up at the Highland Drive landfill in Port Hope.  The county owns the closed dump which contains both low level radioactive waste and garbage.

The settlement resolution, which was moved by Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier and seconded by Cramahe Mayor Marc Coombs at the end of a recent closed county-council session, is not being made public.

However, in a previously published interview with a senior technical advisor for the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Glenn Case, he indicated the matter was over the level of clean-up to take place at the Highland Drive landfill site.

In the original agreement dating back to 2009, the Licence involving the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says the landfill was to be cleaned up to a “column C” level which is “representative of its land use” formerly, and going forward after clean-up, Case explained.

"At this time, the licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says the landfill is to be cleaned up to a "column C" which is "representative of its land use" former and going forward after clean up, (Glenn) Case explained. It is not the same level as column A identified for residential and column B for industrial, he said."

Nuclear cleanup isn't over yet in Port Hope,
Northumberland Today, November 21, 2016

We are in discussions with the County and the Municipality now, but I can’t get into the nitty gritty of it. It is not the same level as column A – which is identified for residential and column B for industrial, he said."

(The only other site in Port Hope with the Column "C" designation is the nuclear dumpsite known as the new Welcome Waste Management Facilities - a site with limited capacity which will be full after the current clean-up according to government's numbers.)

* * *

"Northumberland County transportation and waste director, Mo Pannu, said in an interview at that same time that the County was seeking an increased level of clean-up at the Highland landfill site, and it wanted the Federal Government to pay for that. Otherwise, he said, if there were issues after the clean up, Northumberland County taxpayers might have to pay for it.

 Asked what such a second clean-up might cost, and whether it would be millions of dollars, Pannu said he had no information about it at that time.  There is a mediated settlement on the matter, but the details are being kept secret."

Northumberland Today, February 2, 2017
National Post,  February 3, 2017


Ganaraskč and Monkey Mountain

Monkey Mountain along the Ganaraska River has great historical importance which has not been recognized.

According to early historical maps from the mid 1600’s, Monkey Mountain was the site of a major Cayuga village of the Iroquois Confederacy named “Ganaraskč”. 

The Cayugas of Ganaraskč were the first recorded human occupants of Port Hope - when Ontario was a thick forest and the only road was a foot-path.

J.N.B. Hewitt of the Smithsonian Institute wrote "Ganaraskč probably meant 'the spawning place', as this locality was refuted too 'abound' in salmon." (Toronto during the French Regime, 1933). The river's name is also thought to originate from  this village name.

The historic Ganaraska Trail was also a primary trade route from Port Hope on Lake Ontario to Pemedashcoutayang (“lake of the burning plains”), the Ojibwe name for Rice Lake.

In the Newsletter of the Port Hope Archives (Spring, 2016), Carl Ross, a local resident wrote:


 “When I was 10, I became a paper boy… this after school job allowed me to meet and get to know many old and interesting Port Hope families. One of these families was the Ted Austin family on Cavan Street. Ted Loved to dig up old Native burial grounds in Port Hope, and this started my passion for digging things up. My first area of attack was around the Brewery Pond on Cavan St.”


The late E.W. (Ted) Austin (1925-2001) worked for Eldorado and had the largest known collection of artifacts found in the Port Hope area and reportedly had uncovered many native burial sites. He lived on Cavan Street and his backyard was Monkey Mountain.


Forgotten in time, Ganaraskč should have become the only National Historic Site of Canada in Port Hope - like its sister Iroquoian village sites in Toronto of the same time period.


Letter to Editor:

 (Highland Dr. and Cavan St., Port Hope)


"Public officials of all government levels have taken a myopic view of one of the most important cultural and natural heritage landscapes in Northumberland County (historically known as Monkey Mountain).


According to historical accounts, Monkey Mountain was the location of a village of the Cayuga people of the Iroquois Confederacy and the first recorded human occupation in the county when Ontario was a thick forest and the only road was a foot-path.


Several early French maps (Joliet, Franquelin, Raffeix, Bellin, Danville, etc.) from the mid 1600's show the village named “Ganaraskč” (or close derivation) at the site of modern day Port Hope - more than a century before the arrival of the first fur trader, Peter Smith.


The colonial expansion of the Old World into New, the fur trading ambitions of the Europeans, the workings of the Sulpician missionaries and the strategic role the native people played in the struggle between the French and British for control of the fur trade all occurred during this period of the French Regime.


For all of Northumberland and Peterborough Counties, the Ganaraska Trail was the main carrying, portage and canoe route from Lake Ontario to Rice Lake, Peterborough area and northern interior (chain of Kawartha Lakes). 


Ganaraskč was more than a Cayuga village, it was a trading and missionaries place. The exact location of Ganaraskč remains uncertain but important clues are found in the origin of the Monkey Mountain name. 


A well documented historical legend describes “If you walked on Monkey Mountain at night, you are followed by little red lights and little children can be heard screaming and running around yet there is no one there. This occurs around an area where the natives had their longhouse.” (Port Hope District Historical Society (PHDHS) Newsletter, September, 2015; Little Tales of Old Port Hope, 1966; Port Hope Evening Guide series, 1965/66) 


A longhouse wwas evidence of a village site – the Iroquoian Cayugas were known as “people of the longhouse". 


According to notes from PHDHS/East Durham collection, the Monkey Mountain name may have been a change over time from "Monk's Mound".  The Sulpician Missionaries from France were known visitors.


After Denonville’s expedition in 1687 attacking the villages around Lake Ontario, the village of Ganaraskč was heard of no more.


The late Ted Austin (1925-2001) who lived nearby on Cavan St. reportedly uncovered local native burial sites and had the largest known collection of artifacts found in the Port Hope area.


When control of Canada passed from France to Great Britain in 1763, the French Ganaraskč name changed to "Ganaraska" from which Ganaraska River is named.


The historical importance of Ganaraskč should not be underestimated.  It could have become the only National Historic Site of Canada designated in Port Hope (like a similar Iroquoian village by Rouge River in Toronto).


The large park-like greenspace area with hills, ravines and forested area on Monkey Mountain in Port Hope’s core could have been  like Central Park. (Port Hope has already lost its waterfront crown jewel (central beach) to the nuclear industry)....

Letter to Editor from Marian Martin
Northumberland Today,  March 8, 2017




Port Hope residents were "hoodwinked" by the Government of Canada in 2001 when the original Legal Agreement for Cleanup was signed by public officials.  Many long time residents have since grown tired, confused, skeptical or cynical on all things nuclear.


Despite assurances by public officials at that time to the contrary,  there will never be a full cleanup of the radioactive waste or a pristine town restored to "background conditions". 


As part of the public process, there should have been  full public disclosure, accountability and transparency regarding the quality and quantity of remediation.  After several decades of hazardous nuclear waste contamination, the Canadian Government is responsible  for a full cleanup - not just a movement of nuclear waste from Point A to Point B nearby.


The Ontario Ministry of Environment has not approved clean-up under the Environmental Protection Act,.  The Canadian government  has seemingly claimed jurisdiction over nuclear waste and exempted itself from this process. (The strictest process for environmental review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act does not meet the lowest standards of Ontario’s EA requirements).


The 1.2 BILLION $$ "cleanup" may be good public relations - but without guarantees, Port Hope may still be hostage to the mistakes of the past for which it was not responsible.


Radioactive waste can remain dangerous for millions of years. Port Hope and its massive radioactive "mound" will be monitored for 300 years only -  a timeframe which does not commensurate with the residues' hazardous life. 


In essence, the federal government is regulating itself in the clean up of contaminated soil for which it was responsible. It is also setting its own national standards - when universal standards would better meet the needs of the community untarnished by the Canadian nuclear monopoly.

“... the industry wants the public to accept that they are protecting humans and the environment... But this is not true science, it is an elaborate form of self-assurance and wish-fulfillment — utilizing mathea protect us from any rude realization of what could go horribly wrong once monitoring has ceased and retrievability has become practically impossible...”

Dr. Gordon Edwards, President

Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

Nuclear Free by 2045? June 23, 2014


The landmark Legal Agreement in 2001 between the Canadian Government and the Municipality of Port Hope was a bad deal for the town and a bad deal for the environment. 


The Port Hope cleanup project will be a "limited cleanup" only - with no guarantees... and an over abundant supply of "blind faith" by the people who must live here. As shown in the founding Cleanup Agreement:


"Subject to applicable laws, no Party shall be bound by or be liable for any statement, representation, promise, warranty, inducement, agreement, obligation or understanding of any kind or nature not set forth in this Agreement.” 

An Agreement for the Cleanup and the Long-Term
Safe Management of Low-Level Radioactive Waste, 2001...
(also known as the 2001 Legal Agreement)

The natural location for uranium and radioactive waste is not Port Hope.

The Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium in Quebec City, with signatories from 20 countries on five continents, confirmed the need for a "worldwide ban on ...the irresponsible management of radioactive waste" - but the Government of Canada has not been listening.

"Uranium and its associated radioactive substances
must remain in their natural location."

Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium
 Quebec City on April 16, 2015

Port Hope's nuclear waste storage site  is a huge mound on the landscape - not a deep repository.  This site failed once before. There are also 3 deep geological repositories on the entire planet and all have leaked - a 100% failure rate.

 There are no guarantees.  Without a permanent storage solution - the legacy of future generations will be:

10 MILLION CORRODING DRUMS + of radioactive waste

"No scientist or engineer can give an absolute guarantee that
radioactive waste will not someday leak in dangerous quantities
 from even the best of repositories."

Konrad Krauskopf, Geologist,
Stanford University

Remembered in time...

Patricia (Pat) Lawson
(1929 - 2016)

"When her name was called, Pat walked from the back of the hearing room,
past all the lawyers and company experts and government representatives
the speaker's table before the judges.  She told a story about her hometown: Port Hope. The story of nuclear waste involved secrecy, cover-ups, health impacts, corporate control and government negligence. It shocked me.
It also inspired me… She lit a fire in me that day that still burns.” 

Saying goodbye to Pat Lawson
Mark Mattson, Environmental Lawyer (Waterkeeper)


Penny Sanger
(1931 - 2017)

 Lifelong Peace Educator. Author of Blind Faith (1991), a superb account of people's attitudes and the toxic legacy
left by the nuclear industry in her hometown of Port Hope
(assisted by her sister, Pat Lawson above)


Sanford Haskill
(1943 - 2016)

“One-eighths of the trees standing in Port Hope
will be gone… it will be a blow to the Municipality.”


Sanford Haskill - telephone interview
"After the Cleanup"  March 27, 2015

Past President - Port Hope (East Durham) Historical Society
Past President - Families Against Radiation Exposure (FARE)
 Descendant from one of the first area settlers (Haskills - 1793)

Gordon Downie
(1963 - 2017)

“Heart of a Lake was inspired by ordinary people’s struggles to
win back what they’ve lost: Clean water. Access to their harbours.
The respect of government and industry...”

 Heart of a Lake performance in Port Hope on September 19, 2006

Gord Downie - Frontman of the Tragically Hip rock band (recipient of the Order of Canada in 2017). He was heavily involved in environmental movements - especially issues concerning water rights.  

Recommended Reading:

Blind Faith, Penny Sanger, 1981 - a superb account of Eldorado and the effects of its careless radioactive waste disposal practices throughout Port Hope (also available online)

Highway of the Atom, Peter VanWyck, 2010 - the journey of uranium from Port Radium to Port Hope's refineries, and eventually, to Hiroshima (hardcover)

Comments and/or questions - Email

Researcher - M. Martin
Municipality of Port Hope


Disclaimer: This information compiled is and may be used for personal use. The best effort has been made to verify this information and to correctly cite sources. However, the accuracy of any of the information cannot be guaranteed and should be verified independently.

Rev. August 27, 2019  



Notable Quotes:


"Forty years of blind faith in the uranium refinery had won  Port Hope the reputation of being, not the most beautiful, but one of the most polluted little towns in Ontario."  

Penny Sanger, Author
Blind Faith, 1981












"There's a long history of contamination at Port Hope... The whole siting of this refinery is absurd. It's right in the centre of town, it's on a flood plain and right on the lakefront."

Gordon Edwards,
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility










"Port Hope has been called upon to make itself the national sacrifice zone for Canada..."  

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Environmental Lawyer ,
 Waterkeeper Alliance,  June 18, 2004












"The energy industry is well aware of (ethics) and tries to factor them in.  However, ethics have to be spread evenly and you can't burn benedictions
in the boiler."


Dr. D. G. Andrews,
Professor Emeritus,

Dept. of Nuclear Engineering
University of Toronto

















The most costly radioactive cleanup project in Canadian history is underfunded, reported at

Comparatively, the b
iggest cleanup in U.S. history at Hanford is costing
















"There are only two commercially important uses for uranium: nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. The ultimate products of the uranium industry are therefore bombs and radioactive wastes."

Uranium: The Deadliest Metal, Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, 1992
























“The town's nuclear past is its legacy and its curse.”

Port Hope's nuclear past
pits economic interests against health
April 1, 2011 






















 "The profound and deliberate falsification of nuclear hazards began at the top".

Robert Bothwell
University of Toronto
Historian and Author
Eldorado, 1984


















"Truth is like nuclear waste: it needs to be dealt with carefully. Sometimes it needs to be buried way,
way out of town. And sometimes it should never be uncovered at all.
















''I want to talk about something called mild mutations which is a very subtle undermining
of the gene pool.
It is not talked about,
it is not measured,
but it is occurring.
What you do is to
create a next generation
that is physically less able to cope with hazardous material than their
parents were.
If you do two things at once: you mildly damage the next generation genetic damage and you increase the hazards in the environment, then you can do this for two or three generations and you are finished.''


Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Author

No Immediate Danger?
Prognosis for a
Radioactive Earth



























 "Should the public discover the true health cost of nuclear pollution, a cry would rise from all parts of the world and people would refuse to cooperative passively with their own death…"


Rosalie Bertell, Author
No Immediate Danger





























 "Far from being the passe story the industry's PR hacks and media assets constantly present it as, it is the number-one problem our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great- grandchildren, ad infinitum, will have to deal with for at least the next 240,000 years.
The damage to the integrity of the gene pool
is still being assessed as
well as increased.
And all this has happened in less than the past fifty years. The challenge is paramount. Denial promises extinction
of all our relations."

Dr. Rosalie Bertell, 1989
16 Million Radiation Deaths and Counting













"There is no such thing as a radiation exposure that will not do damage.

There is a hundred per cent possibility that there will be damage to cells.

The next question is: which damage do you care about?"


Dr. Rosalie Bertell











"Is the minor convenience of allowing the present generation the luxury of doubling its energy consumption every 10 years worth the major hazard of exposing the next 20,000 generations to this lethal waste?"

 David R. Brower
























“… there is no safe level of exposure to ionizing radiation...”


 Dr. Rosalie Bertell
























"This is a death process, for which, in the long-term, we are killing ourselves as a species."

Dr. Rosalie Bertell
 The BEIR V Report, Deadly Deceit, Low-Level Radiation High-Level Coverup, 1990
























"Countries around the world have no strategy for monitoring the health of people living near uranium processing plants."

Dr. Helen Caldicott

























"Historic low-level radioactive waste buried in parks, ravines, streets, industrial sites, the harbour and hundreds of backyards poses a 'life or death' threat and can't be safely remediated… You can't clean it up. Transferring it just exposes more people to radioactive material..."

Dr. Helen Caldicott,
“Warning Port Hope a toxic time bomb…”  Toronto Star, November 9, 2010

























"It takes a single mutation in a single cell to kill you. The most common plutonium isotope] has a half-life of 24,400 years. Every male in the Northern Hemisphere has a small load of plutonium in his gonads. What this means to future generations God only knows and we’re not the only species with testicles. What we are doing is degrading evolution, and not many people understand that."


Dr. Helen Caldicott
 "No Nukes is Good Nukes"
interview  on May 3, 2005



















"The risks of transporting deadly nuclear waste, the environmental justice impacts and the long-term health effects of both these projects are untenable... We cannot afford to be silent on these important issues."

James Cromwell















"…the Canadian government has proved to be quite adept at twisting the law to suit its own purpose, ignoring important moral considerations in the process."


Gordon Edwards

Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility















"The wrong people are in charge of what to do with nuclear waste.
Nuclear  engineers,
nuclear  physicists,
nuclear  chemists,
nuclear operators,
nuclear  regulators –
these are not the people to be trusted to put the health and safety of people and the environment first.”

Dr. Gordon Edwards
The Age of Nuclear Waste
is upon us

















"The splitting of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."

Albert Einstein

















“Burying radioactive nuclear waste beside the Great Lakes, the drinking water for 40 million people in two countries, defies common sense.”


Beverly Fernandez,
Stop the Great Lakes
Nuclear Dump






















"We are agreed that it would be irresponsible and morally wrong to commit future generations to the consequences of fission power on a massive scale unless it has been  demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that at least one method exists for the safe isolation of these wastes for the indefinite future."

Sir Brian Flowers,
Nuclear Physicist,
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution "Nuclear Power and the Environment" 1976














“The Nuclear Industry is waging a war against humanity.” 

Dr. John W. Gofman,

























“The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold exposure below which radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless.”

Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation, National Academies Press, 2006
















"The number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard-and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby-who may be born long after all of us have gone-should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics towards which we can be indifferent."

President John F. Kennedy,
Radio and Television Address to the
American People - July 27, 1963


























"It is the inability to see the effects of chronic, low-level toxicities on human health that has been, and remains, our greatest failing as intelligent beings."

Dr. Boyd Haley



























"Nuclear 'development' occurred without any popular knowledge or democratic accountability...

For twenty years, from 1942 to 1962. Canadians had no glimmer of our government's central involvement in the creation of the first nuclear weapons of mass destruction...


While at the war's end the Canadian government told the Canadian public it was only developing nuclear technology for non-military industrial purposes, it continued to directly supply the U.S. military with plutonium...


Jim Harding, 2007
Canada's Deadly Secret
























“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” 

J. Edgar Hoover

























"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach."


Aldous Huxley
























“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” 


The Great Law of the
Iroquois Confederacy 
















“They are literally

 making it up as they

 go  along, and we are

 the Guinea Pigs for

 this science


 Dr. Michio Kanu,





















"… there is no amount of radiation so small that it has no ill effects at all on anybody. There is actually no such thing as a minimum permissible dose... radiation, in its simplest terms – figuratively, literally and chemically –
is poison..."

John F. Kennedy,
U.S. President, 1960


















“Claims from the government and the nuclear industry that uranium refinement is safe are simply untrue.
Uranium is toxic and after its depletion, continues to release radioactive poisons for millennia. Radioactive particles from uranium end up in our air, water, soil and food..." 

Elizabeth May, 2007






















"Port Hope epitomizes the whole nuclear fuel cycle from A to Z --  the refining of uranium all the way through to nuclear power to the production of radioactive waste to the production of nuclear weapons."


Dr. Helen Caldicott, 2011






















"It's a sad irony that the first radioactive waste cleanup in Port Hope supplied the uranium that killed 140,000 people of Hiroshima."

Pat McNamara,
Radioactive Waste Cleanup January 4, 2008























“Here’s an industry with  the capacity for global devastation, with no permanent plan for their garbage, the most dangerous stuff on Earth, and they’re allowed to keep producing it indefinitely.”

Tony McQuail














"Burdening Port Hope: Material releases, human exposure and biological effects remain unclear and unmeasured Port Hope..."


Tedd Weyman
Deputy Director
Uranium Medical Research Centre, October 10, 2006
















"In my opinion, the Welcome Waste site will prove to be nothing but
 an infected, festering boil on the backside of Port Hope into the future."

Derrick Kelly, Resident
Port Hope











"What lies beneath we don't know.
There are always surprises."

Sanford Haskill
(1943-2016), lifetime local resident as quoted in
Ground for concern about radioactive waste cleanup
Carola Vyhnak, Toronto Star,
September 19, 2009