As described in the Process for Selecting a Site for Canada’s Deep Geological Repository for Used Nuclear Fuel (May, 2010), Step 2 in the site selection process involves a community making a request to the NWMO to Learn More about the Adaptive Phased Management program and for an initial screening.
The purpose of the initial screening in Step 2 of the process is to determine whether, based on readily-available information and five screening criteria, there are any obvious conditions that would exclude the community from further consideration in the site selection process.
The NWMO commissions third party firms to conduct initial screenings and prepare reports that outline the findings. Based on the review of readily-available information and the application of the five initial screening criteria, the report outlines whether there are any obvious conditions that would exclude the interested community from further consideration in the NWMO site selection process.
If the initial screening is successful, and the community chooses to continue to explore its potential interest in the project, the area would be the subject of progressively more detailed assessments against both technical and social factors to confirm the suitability of the community. Several years of studies would be required to confirm whether a site within an area could be demonstrated to safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel.
The process for identifying an informed and willing host community for a deep geological repository for the long-term management of Canada's used nuclear fuel is designed to ensure, above all, that the site which is selected is safe and secure for people and the environment, now and in the future. The NWMO expects that the selection of a preferred site would take between seven to ten years. It is important that any community which decides to host this project base its decisions on an understanding of the best scientific and social research available and its own aspirations.
Should a community continue to be interested in exploring the project, over this period there would be ongoing engagement of the community, surrounding communities and others who may be affected. By the end of this process, the whole community would need to clearly demonstrate that it is willing to host the repository in order for the project to proceed.
The next evaluation step would be to conduct a feasibility study as described in Step 3 of the site selection process. This feasibility study would focus on areas selected in collaboration with the community.
To date, initial screenings in the following communities suggest they are likely to contain geological formations that would be potentially suitable for hosting a deep geological repository: Creighton, SK; Ear Falls, ON; English River First Nation, SK; Hornepayne, ON; Ignace, ON; Pinehouse, SK; Schreiber, ON.
To date, initial screenings in the following communities suggest they are unlikely to contain geological formations that would be potentially suitable for hosting a deep geological repository and for this reason are not considered a suitable candidate for continuing in the NWMO site selection process: Red Rock, ON.