Surface facilities


    Surface facilities at the repository site will receive, inspect and repackage used nuclear fuel bundles for transfer to the repository's main shaft for placement underground. There are also facilities to support the ongoing operation of the site, including administration, quality, security, services and sealing material processing activities.

    Layout of surface facilities for Canada's deep geological repository

    This diagram shows the layout of Adaptive Phased Management surface facilities for a deep geological repository, all of which are described on this page.

    Ensuring safety and security

    To ensure safety and security, the following facilities will be developed on the site where the deep geological repository is located:

    • Security Monitoring Stations
    • Fire Hall
    • Quality Control Offices
    • Laboratories
    • Active Waste Handling
    • Storm Water Management Ponds
    • Process Water Management Ponds
    • Two levels of fences (around the site perimeter and around the Protected Area)

    Used fuel packaging plant

    The used fuel packaging plant will include all necessary areas and equipment for:

    • Receiving used fuel transportation packages from interim storage sites;
    • Receiving empty used fuel containers;
    • Loading used fuel into repository containers; and
    • Sealing, inspecting and dispatching filled containers for underground transfer and placement in the repository.
    The used fuel container and supporting components will be manufactured at a separate container manufacturing plant. This plant could be located at the site or in the surrounding region depending on interest.

    A conceptual layout of a used fuel packaging plant has been developed for planning and costing purposes. It consists of a reinforced concrete structure measuring about 125 metres by 65 metres. It can transfer about 120,000 used fuel bundles per year.

    Sealing material compaction plant and concrete batch plant

    The sealing material compaction plant and the concrete batch plant will provide materials for clay-based and cement-based barriers in the repository. These barriers will be used to backfill and seal excavation openings and inhibit groundwater movement, microbial activity and movement of radionuclides.

    Shafts and hoists

    The reference design for the repository includes three shafts with hoists. They enable the safe transfer of used fuel containers, rock, materials, equipment and personnel between surface facilities and the repository.

    The main shaft conveys used fuel containers within a shielded transfer cask. The service shaft conveys personnel, equipment, waste rock and sealing materials. The ventilation shaft receives the majority of the repository exhaust and is equipped with a hoist for emergency exit for personnel.

    Excavated rock management area

    A large amount of rock will be excavated to create the repository. An excavated rock management area could require a surface area of about 460 metres by 380 metres, with a height of 15 metres. The footprint, height and location(s) of excavated rock could be planned in a way that takes into account community preferences. A portion of the excavated rock may be used in backfilling and sealing operations. The remaining rock may have a public or commercial use as aggregate for construction.

    The excavated rock management area is currently assumed to be located off-site. Its size and location will be determined in collaboration with the host community and surrounding area.

    Canada's deep geological repository

    The repository design uses a multiple-barrier system. A series of engineered and natural barriers work together to contain and isolate used nuclear fuel from people and the environment.

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    A photo of the engineered barrier system

    Multiple-barrier system

    In the deep geological repository, a series of engineered and natural barriers will work together to contain and isolate used nuclear fuel to protect people and the environment. Each barrier provides a unique and stand-alone level of protection. If any of the barriers deteriorates, the next one comes into play.
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    An icon of a shield


    Canada's deep geological repository
    An icon of a shield

    Canada's plan

    Multiple-barrier system