Designing the Process for Selecting a Site
In 2008, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) initiated a dialogue with interested organizations and individuals on important principles and elements for a fair process to identify an informed and willing community to host facilities for the management of Canada's used nuclear fuel for the long term. Guided by this public input, we have developed a Proposed Process for Selecting a Site for your review and comment.
An important feature of Canada's plan for the long-term care of used nuclear fuel is the development of a deep geological repository in a technically suitable site, hosted by an informed and willing community. This will be a $16 - $24 billion national infrastructure project which will safely contain and isolate used fuel through both engineered barriers and the surrounding geology. The system will be designed so that the waste will be continually monitored and retrievable for an extended period of time. The project will also involve creation of a centre of expertise for technical, environmental and community studies related to the design and operation of deep geological repositories. It will become a hub for national and international scientific collaboration for many decades. The project will be implemented through a long-term partnership between the NWMO and an informed and willing community. It will be implemented in a way that helps foster the well-being and sustainability of the host community. Construction of the facility will proceed only after the NWMO demonstrates that all safety, health and environmental protection standards set by regulatory authorities can be met or exceeded.
Our Proposed Process for Selecting a Site puts safety first, with site selection guided by rigorous scientific and technical requirements. It proposes steps through which interested communities can learn more as they consider their potential interest in hosting the underground repository and the associated centre of expertise.
The Proposed Process is designed to be responsive to direction provided by Canadians who participated in our initial study and the 2008 dialogues. Canadians told us they want to be sure, above all, that the selected site is safe and secure for people and the environment, now and in the future. The process for choosing the site must be grounded in the values and objectives that Canadians hold important, and it must be open, transparent, fair and inclusive. The people we engaged said the process must be designed in a way that citizens can be confident that the highest scientific, professional and ethical standards will be met.
We invite you to review our discussion document and to share your thoughts on whether the proposed process is appropriate and what changes, if any, need to be made. Your comments and the views of others will be used to refine and confirm an open, transparent, fair and inclusive Process for Selecting a Site for the long-term management of Canada's used nuclear fuel.