Measures to protect the public and workers from radiation and other hazards are being incorporated into all phases of the NWMO's management of used nuclear fuel. This includes the safe transport of used fuel from current storage facilities, to its inspection and repackaging at surface facilities, and its long-term placement in the deep geological repository.

We will need to demonstrate to regulatory authorities that all requirements have been met before any phase of the project can proceed.

Safety in the Deep Geological Repository

We are working to optimize repository designs to minimize the risk of exposure to radioactive materials, as well as the risk from accidents. This will be tested in part through safety assessments, which examine the behaviour of the design under both likely and unlikely scenarios.

During the placement of used fuel bundles in the repository, workers and the public will be protected through a robust design. This includes, for example, use of thick shielding, monitored ventilation systems, and minimizing the extent to which the bundles are lifted.

Once the used fuel has been placed in the repository, the repository's multiple-barrier system will ensure ongoing safety to the public and workers over the long term. 

Safety During Transport

Although still in the early stages of transportation planning, we have conducted assessments of potential radiation risk to the public and workers during shipment by both road and rail. Studies showed that the potential exposure to radiation for both the public and workers during transportation is well below the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulatory limit and the radiation dose received from natural sources.

Radiation Doses to the Public During Transportation

This image indicates potential individuals along the UFTP transportation route, including public at rest stops in the vicinity, public in vehicles sharing the road and travelling beside the UFTP, transportation workers, and residents along the transportation route.

Annual dose to an individual is expected to be significantly below the regulatory public dose limit.