Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area
Site selection activities
Committed to safety in the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area
Generations of possibilities
Ignace Community Nuclear Liaison Committee (ICNLC)
Frequently asked questionsView all FAQs
What is used nuclear fuel?
Once a fuel bundle has been used to generate electricity, it is highly radioactive and must be carefully managed for a very long period of time, essentially indefinitely.
Used nuclear fuel in Canada is safely managed on an interim basis in licensed facilities at nuclear reactor sites. The NWMO is responsible for its long-term management.
Can used nuclear fuel be transported safely?
Are the storage containers tested to ensure they won't leak?
The containers will undergo non-destructive examination using ultrasonic (high-frequency sound waves that can characterize thickness and internal structure) as well as surface testing to ensure there are no flaws in the weld or copper coating, confirming there are no leaks.
Are there any preferable regions for a repository?
Safety, of people and the environment, is the top priority in the process for selecting a site for a deep geological repository. Any site that is selected to host this facility must be demonstrated to be able to safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel for a very long period of time.
The project must also be implemented in a way that helps foster the well-being, or quality of life, in the area.The project will only proceed with the involvement of the interested community, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and surrounding communities working together to implement it.
Would earthquakes affect the repository?
The preferred site will be selected in an area where current and future earthquake (seismic) activity will not impact the safety of the repository during the operational phase or over the very long term.
Addressing the potential impact of earthquakes would involve the following considerations:
- History of seismic activity
- Presence of major faults or fractures;
- Evidence of rock displacement along old faults;
- Groundwater chemistry that can provide evidence of stability over long periods; and
- Rock strength.
The repository will be sited in an area with low seismic activity, but will be designed to withstand large magnitude earthquakes.
How will the NWMO protect people, the environment, farmland and local watersheds?
The NWMO is using best environmental practices to ensure the project is implemented in a way that protects people, agricultural lands, watersheds and sensitive ecological environments.
We are partnering with landowners, conservation authorities and other interested organizations to lead baseline and research studies to understand the ecological systems in the area, including surface water, groundwater, soil, air, wetlands, animals and species at risk. These studies will inform our work as we mitigate or eliminate potential adverse impacts of the project using technologies and operational best practices.
There will be a continuous monitoring of the natural environment throughout all phases of the project, including open and transparent reporting and information sharing.
This project will also be subject to a thorough regulatory review process, including an environmental assessment and a licensing review to ensure that it is implemented in a manner that protects people and the environment. In our planning timelines, we currently anticipate that the regulatory review process will take approximately 10 years.