Environmental ProtectionCanada's nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), uses a comprehensive licensing system to ensure the environment is protected throughout the entire life cycle of a deep geological repository. It requires that adequate environmental protection policies, programs and procedures be implemented.
The CNSC can only take a licensing decision on a geologic repository after the completion of an environmental assessment, following the process established by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. An Environmental Assessment is a process that predicts the potential environmental effects of a proposed project before it is carried out. It incorporates environmental factors into decision-making. An environmental assessment examines:
- Potential environmental effects
- Mitigation measures
- Significance of environmental effects that remain after mitigation
- Follow-up monitoring
Impact StudiesAs part of the Preliminary Assessment step in the site selection process, the NWMO will conduct a series of progressively more detailed impact studies of potential siting areas.
In Phase 1 of the Preliminary Assessment step, we completed preliminary desktop studies of environmental features and generic environmental effects in a number of potential siting areas. These studies are documented in the Phase 1 Integrated Reports. Environmental field studies are planned for communities that enter Phase 2 of this step.
Once a site has been selected, and the regulatory process for the project is formally underway, the NWMO will undertake comprehensive studies to identify the potential effects of the project on:
- Air quality
- Surface and groundwater quality
- Terrestrial and aquatic environment (including plants, animals and fish)
- Soil and geology
- Human health
- Use of land and resources
- Social and economic environment
- First Nation and Métis interests
- Physical and cultural heritage