Our Priority is Protecting People and the Envrionment

Canada's plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel calls for its containment and isolation in a deep geological repository. The NWMO is committed to meeting or exceeding all applicable regulatory standards and requirements for protecting the health, safety and security of people and the environment.

Environmental Protection

Canada'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 impact assessment process established by the Impact Assessment Act (which replaces the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012). An impact 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. 

  • Potential environmental effects
  • Mitigation measures
  • Significance of environmental effects that remain after mitigation
  • Follow-up monitoring

Environmental Responsibility Statement

At the suggestion of the Advisory Council in 2016, the NWMO began developing an Environmental Responsibility Statement that outlines our commitment to environmental sustainability as we move forward with implementing Canada’s plan. Municipalities and Indigenous rights-holding groups have raised the topic of environmental protection a number of times over the years, and the topic has been highlighted through public comments on our annual implementation plan.

The statement articulates how we are going to protect the environment and support sustainability in our daily practices. It builds on environmental principles we already put into practice and also defines our vision of what can be achieved. The NWMO will incorporate the Environmental Responsibility Statement into our plans as we look ahead to the implementation of the project at a selected site.
This is the NWMO Environmental Resonsibility Statement.

Protecting Water

Environmental Review Group

In 2018 the NWMO established an Environment Review Group (ERG) to provide independent expert advice and guidance on environmental programs and impact assessment planning.

The impact assessment process involves conducting detailed analyses of the potential impacts of the project. The results of these analyses are used in the design of the project, including measures that will be implemented to mitigate or offset potential negative effects.

The ERG advises the NWMO on developing an effective impact assessment process, including engagement and the interweaving of Indigenous Knowledge and western science, as well as international best practice. 

The group connects quarterly (once per year in person) to discuss strategic issues relating to assessing potential impacts of the APM project on the natural environment.

Members of the Environmental Review Group

Dr. Helen Temple

Dr. Helen Temple is Chief Executive of The Biodiversity Consultancy. She has twenty years’ professional experience in ecology and conservation. Since 2009, Dr. Temple’s work has focused on assessing impacts to biodiversity and natural resources, and on designing or evaluating the performance of mitigation strategies for development projects. She has also worked as an adviser for large multinational companies, governments and financial institutions, contributing to the development of corporate policies and performance standards and facilitating cross-sector partnerships. Before joining The Biodiversity Consultancy, Helen worked on various aspects of conservation science and practice, ranging from research and management of threatened species in the field to broad-scale analyses of status and trends in global biodiversity, for leading international NGOs and academic institutions including IUCN, BirdLife International, and the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

Dr. Bill Ross

Dr. Bill Ross is an emeritus professor of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. His scholarly expertise is the professional practice of impact assessment. He has been teaching impact assessment since 1973 and has served on eight Canadian environmental assessment panels from 1978 to 2015. Dr. Ross taught impact assessment training courses around the world, has many papers and professional publications, and has received awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Impact Assessment. From 1997 to 2015, he served on the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency, an independent watchdog for good environmental management at the Ekati Diamond Mine in Northern Canada. In 2019, Bill was appointed to the Technical Advisory Committee of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. 

Dr. Tammy Tremblay

Tammy Tremblay (Monedo Giizhigo Kwe) is a member of Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation and part of the Marten (waabzesh) Clan (doodem). Ms. Tremblay is the Founder and operator of MG Kwe Consulting, an independent consultant that provides expertise on building healthy relationships with Indigenous people and the land. Tammy is currently the Environmental Manager for Sagamok Anishnawbek and brings over 10 years of experience within First Nations Environmental and Natural Resource Management, striving towards balancing traditional knowledge and western science. Her recent work includes developing a bat program in Sagamok Anishnawbek. The program includes acoustic monitoring both in the community and in the traditional territory. Collecting Indigenous Knowledge and locating critical habitat based on its findings has been a focus of the work.