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 the 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
  • 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(s). 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. The excavated rock management area is expected to require a surface area of about 700 metres by 700 metres, with a height between 3 metres and 8 metres. 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.