Transporting used nuclear fuel
The site for the single, preferred location has not yet been selected. However the NWMO is working to develop a socially acceptable transportation planning framework that is informed by public input and dialogue.
Safety is at the core of Canada’s plan and is integrated into every aspect of the transportation system, ensuring the protection of people and the environment. The NWMO's transportation program also includes technical aspects to meet regulatory requirements, as well as public engagement activities to address people's priorities, questions and concerns.
- What we heard about the draft transportation planning framework: 2020-21
- Moving forward together: An invitation to review a draft planning framework for the transportation of used nuclear fuel
- Planning Transportation for Adaptive Phased Management: Dialogue to date
- Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada's Used Nuclear Fuel
- Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada's Used Nuclear Fuel: Questions and Answers
- Transportation themes 2014 to 2019: What we heard about transportation planning
- Transportation themes 2014 to 2018: What we heard about transportation planning
- Transportation Themes 2014-2017: What We Heard About Transportation Planning from Working with Communities
Preliminary transportation plan
As part of the process, we engage with and seek input from Canadians, Indigenous peoples and organizations with a shared interest in future transportation.
The NWMO is working to develop a socially acceptable transportation planning framework that is informed by public input and dialogue.
Webinar: Collaborative transportation planning
Transportation planning framework
The NWMO has engaged with thousands of Canadians, Indigenous peoples and organizations to understand their perspectives, suggestions, questions and concerns regarding the transportation of Canada's used nuclear fuel. Through this dialogue, a socially acceptable framework for future transportation planning is emerging.
In 2020, the NWMO published Moving forward together: An invitation to review a draft planning framework for the transportation of used nuclear fuel. The draft framework outlines what we heard and understand from the public about how to implement this phase of Canada’s plan, and includes planning objectives, issues to be addressed and factors the NWMO needs to consider.
In 2021, the NWMO published What we heard about the draft transportation planning framework, a summary of the results from engagement on the draft transportation planning framework.
The public input received was incorporated into two planning documents that address the wide range of priorities, questions and concerns heard to date from Canadians and Indigenous peoples about the transportation of used nuclear fuel.
Moving forward together: Planning framework for the transportation of used nuclear fuel sets out objectives, priorities, and considerations for transporting used nuclear fuel. It was informed by public feedback on an initial draft released in August 2020.
The Preliminary transportation plan provides an overview of the technical approaches, regulatory requirements and planning assumptions that the NWMO will build on to ensure safe and secure transportation that protects people and the environment.
The NWMO’s transportation approach will be subject to ongoing review and public reporting. Once a site is selected, the NWMO will review and revise the transportation planning framework, which will consider updates based on factors such as evolving best practices, new technologies and ongoing adaptation and continuous improvement.
Additional information in Indigenous languages
- Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada's Used Nuclear Fuel — Oji-Cree
- Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada's Used Nuclear Fuel — Eastern Ojibwe
- Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada's Used Nuclear Fuel — Western Ojibwe
- Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada's Used Nuclear Fuel — Swampy Cree
Related FAQsView all FAQs
Can used nuclear fuel be transported safely?
How is used nuclear fuel transported?
How long will it take to transport Canada’s used nuclear fuel to the final site?
Based on current projections of Canada’s inventory of used nuclear fuel, transportation is anticipated to take about 40 years to complete — into the 2080s.
How is the transportation of used nuclear fuel regulated?
Used nuclear fuel shipments will meet the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguard requirements to ensure they are secure.
Transportation operations will meet federal, provincial and local safety requirements and will be inspected for compliance.
We will need to demonstrate to regulatory authorities the safety and security of a transportation system before shipments of used fuel can begin.
How durable is the package that is used to transport used nuclear fuel?
Used nuclear fuel transportation packages are designed and tested to ensure protection of the public during normal operations, as well as during accident conditions. Before a transportation package can be used in Canada, the design must be certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to meet regulatory requirements, which incorporate international safety standards, and must withstand severe impact, fire and immersion.
Each test is designed to demonstrate the package’s ability to withstand accident conditions without releasing its contents. To gauge the cumulative effects on the transportation package design, the first two tests are conducted in the sequence that will result in the most damage to the package, followed by the thermal test. The immersion test is conducted independently and is designed to evaluate the integrity of the package under pressure. The order and type of tests are considered to correspond to real transport accident scenarios.
We are assessing the transportation of used nuclear fuel using two package designs:
Used Fuel Transportation Package (UFTP)
Dry Storage Container Transportation Package (DSC-TP)
Is used nuclear fuel currently transported in Canada or other countries?
Internationally and in Canada, there have been no serious injuries, health effects, fatalities, or environmental consequences attributable to the radioactive nature of the used nuclear fuel being transported.