Co-operation With Our International Counterparts

The NWMO has co-operation agreements with our counterparts in BelgiumFinland, France, JapanSouth Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. We also have a memorandum of understanding with our counterpart in Taiwan. Partnering with other radioactive waste management organizations allows us to:

  • Foster international co-operation on the development and demonstration of technology
  • Learn from other countries’ experience
  • Keep abreast of developments in repository design and safety case development for various host rock formations

Our counterparts in Sweden (SKB) and Finland (Posiva) are our partners in the Greenland Analogue Project, a research project looking at how an ice sheet affects groundwater flow and water chemistry around a repository in crystalline bedrock during glacial events.

Underground Research Laboratories

Underground research laboratories provide facilities where we can test and demonstrate our understanding of the behaviour of engineered barriers and of the rock under true deep geological conditions.

We conduct joint research at four different underground laboratories:

Collaboration With the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)

The NWMO actively participates in several international activities organized by the NEA. We are a member of its Radioactive Waste Management Committee, the Integration Group for the Safety Case, and the Clay Club. Current major activities include:

  • Thermodynamic Database Project
  • Expert Group on Operational Safety
  • Features, Events and Processes Database Project
  • International Collaboration on Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory Across Generations
  • Radioactive Waste Repository Metadata Management Project
  • Working Group on Measurement and Physical Understanding of Groundwater Flow Through Argillaceous Media (Clay Club)

Workshops and Conferences

The NWMO’s knowledge base is enhanced through active participation in workshops and conferences sponsored by such organizations as the Canadian Nuclear Society, the NEA, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Partnerships With Universities

Research partnerships with universities play an important role in ensuring we understand how the system of engineered and natural barriers will work together to help isolate used nuclear fuel from the surrounding environment over the very long term. In 2020, the NWMO supported research at 17 universities, including Western University, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and York University.

We also participate in University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE), an alliance of universities, nuclear power utilities, and research and regulatory agencies. UNENE is a not-for-profit corporation for the support and development of nuclear education, research and development capacities in Canadian universities.

Our technical staff also provide support to university students by acting as mentors, by participating on PhD thesis committees, and by sharing their expertise through review of research proposals and theses, and hands-on assistance with the design and setup of specific experiments or methods.

Scientists from the NWMO and Western University visit a national research facility where coatings are made and applied to prototype used fuel containers.

Scientists from the NWMO and Western University visit a national research facility where coatings are made and applied to prototype used fuel containers.

Peer Review

Each year, internationally recognized specialists review the work of the APM technical program. They assess whether suitable scientific and engineering approaches are in place, and evaluate whether our work is consistent with the current international state of knowledge.