Home

Publications
Shortcuts
FAQ's
FAQ - The NWMO
FAQ - Adaptive Phased Management
FAQ - Designing the Process for Selecting a Site
FAQ - Seismic Events
FAQ - Fukushima
FAQ - Rock Solid
NWMO Fact Sheets
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions - Adaptive Phased Management

What is Adaptive Phased Management?

Do Canadians support Adaptive Phased Management? How do you know?

How will a central site be chosen?

Won’t transportation of used nuclear fuel be risky?

Does this plan allow for new nuclear plants? Or different types of used fuel?

Does this plan legitimize new nuclear build?

Why don’t we recycle used nuclear fuel?

How much will the long-term management of used nuclear fuel cost? Who will pay for it?

How does Adaptive Phased Management compare with what others are doing?

What are the NWMO’s next steps?

 


 

  

What is Adaptive Phased Management?

 

Adaptive Phased Management is both a technical method and a management system, with an emphasis on adaptability. Technically, it is centralized containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel in a deep geological repository. The management system involves realistic, manageable phases – each marked by explicit decision points with continuing participation by interested Canadians.  It is flexible, allowing for go, no-go decisions at each stage to take advantage of new knowledge or changing societal priorities.
 
Adaptive Phased Management provides an option for shallow underground storage at the central site if some or all of the used fuel needs to be moved before the deep repository is available.  It also provides for continuous monitoring throughout implementation and for retrievability for an extended period.

   Top
 


Do Canadians support Adaptive Phased Management? How do you know?

 

The Adaptive Phased Management approach emerged from the three year dialogue the NWMO had with Canadians and is responsive to the priorities they said were important.  In dialogues after the recommendation was released in draft, most participants – except those who feel no long-term management approach is appropriate without first phasing out nuclear power – told us that overall Adaptive Phased Management is a reasonable and appropriate approach for Canada.

During the study individuals and groups with diverse perspectives proposed values and objectives to guide NWMO decision making.  The majority of those we engaged recognized the need to move forward and begin the process of implementing a long-term management approach for used nuclear fuel.  APM has a clear direction with flexibility built in to explore areas where citizens wish to gain greater confidence.

   Top
 


How will a central site be chosen?

 

The process for selecting a central site will be developed collaboratively with Canadians. 

During the study phase Canadians were clear about a number of siting principles.  Among them was the belief that the location must be acceptable to an informed and willing host community.  The site must also be technically sound; suitable for a deep geological repository and for optional shallow underground storage and a characterization facility.

Siting efforts will be focused in the four provinces directly involved in the nuclear fuel cycle: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.  Should communities in other regions express an interest, they will also be considered.

   Top
 


Won’t transportation of used nuclear fuel be risky?

   The NWMO will need to demonstrate the safety of any transportation system prior to its implementation. Our research and discussions with authorities in Canada and abroad suggest that used nuclear fuel can be transported safely. Internationally, many nations have been regularly transporting used fuel for decades. Robust transport containers are designed to withstand severe accidents and transport conditions, and must meet high standards which are continually reviewed by regulatory and licensing bodies.
   Top
 


Does this plan allow for new nuclear plants? Or different types of used fuel?

 

The NWMO has a legal obligation to manage all of Canada’s used nuclear fuel – that which exists now, and that which will be produced in the future. 

Adaptive Phased Management was primarily designed for the fuel from Canada’s existing reactors.  We have tested APM against many future used fuel scenarios and it was found to be technically capable of dealing with additional quantities and different types of used nuclear fuel.  It has the potential to accommodate many of the changes that are likely to be required as Canadian energy policy develops, science and technology advance, and societal expectations and values evolve.

The NWMO will continue research and testing to ensure that its plans and programs address new circumstances and remain robust.

   Top
 

Does this plan legitimize new nuclear build?

   It is not the intent of the NWMO to advocate one energy source over another. Used fuel exists and must be managed. Adaptive Phased Management addresses the need of Canadians for safety, security and protection of the environment.  The NWMO is committed to protecting both this and future generations in this regard.  The organization has no view on energy choices.
   Top

Why don’t we recycle used nuclear fuel?

 

Used nuclear fuel is reprocessed in some parts of the world.  In Canada, any decision to reprocess would have to be made by the nuclear operators in conjunction with government and the regulators.  Consideration would have to be given to other types of radioactive wastes which would be produced, the potential for separating out material that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons and the expense of reprocessing.

Nevertheless, the NWMO would be responsible for the long-term management of high level wastes resulting from reprocessing and we continue to monitor ongoing research in the area of recycling used nuclear fuel.

   Top

How much will the long-term management of used nuclear fuel cost? Who will pay for it?

 

A conservative view of the cost is approximately $6 billion, present value.

The used fuel owners are responsible for the costs.  The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act requires them to contribute annually to trust funds to ensure that the NWMO has the money necessary to implement the Adaptive Phased Management approach.   With contributions made by the owners in 2006, deposits to the trust funds since their establishment in 2002 totalled $990 million. 

The NWMO may access the trust funds only for the purpose of implementing Adaptive Phased Management once a construction or operating licence has been issued under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.  

As of January 2, 2007 the committed liability associated with the long-term management of the current inventory of used nuclear fuel was about $4.4 billion.  The total value of waste owners segregated funds (including the NWMO trust funds) dedicated to the long-term management of used nuclear fuel was $3.3 billion as of December 31, 2006.

   Top

How does Adaptive Phased Management compare with what others are doing?

 

Similar plans have recently been approved in the UK and France and are already well advanced in other European countries such as Finland and Sweden. 
After a site selection process and agreement by a host community, Finland has begun underground characterization of a site for a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel and is preparing for the licensing process.  Citizens are engaged throughout the process.

Sweden is also proceeding on a stepwise path towards final site selection for a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel.

In October, 2006 the UK Government accepted the recommendation of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) which called for Phased Deep Geological Disposal of higher activity radioactive waste.

   Top

What are the NWMO’s next steps?

 

Adaptive Phased Management is a long-term program which will be conducted in an open and transparent manner.  The path forward will involve:

  • Continuing to engage Canadians in formulating detailed plans and in making decisions; 
  • Advancing technical and social research in Canada and through international partnerships and collaboration;
  • Developing a proposal to ensue this generation pays for the waste it produces;
  • Continually updating our plans to align with ongoing technical and social developments;
  • Building an organization with  capabilities to implement Adaptive Phased Management; and
  • Begin the collaborative design of a siting process.
    Top

 

 

 

 

 
     

Triennial Report 2011 to 2013


Backgrounder


Site Selection Process

 


 

NWMO Dialogue

 

 

Contact Us
Nuclear Waste Management Organization
22 St. Clair Avenue East, Sixth Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4T 2S3 Canada
Tel: 416.934.9814
Toll Free: 1.866.249.6966
Fax: 416.934.9526
Email: contactus@nwmo.ca

 

 

SITEMAP
TERMS OF USE
PRIVACY NOTICE
CONTACT US

Oct-02-2014 04:23:35 AM EDT

© 2010 Nuclear Waste Management Organization