The NWMO has a process for evaluating the suitability of potential siting areas for a deep geological repository. It includes assessing the transportation infrastructure associated with the area, and along potential routes, connections and intermodal transfer points.

To begin, we use existing information to determine if needed infrastructure exists or can be developed. Future steps will involve more detailed exploration, including mode, route and logistics studies.

As the process unfolds, we will engage with, and seek input from, communities and individuals with a shared interest in future transportation.

Safety and Security

Once a site is selected, we will need to demonstrate that preferred modes and routes meet regulatory requirements. We are committed to a safe transportation system which includes:

  • A robust, tested and certified transportation package
  • Requirements are met for safety and security
  • A Transportation Security Plan is in place
  • An Emergency Response Plan is in place
  • Requirements are met to obtain a licence to transport 
  • Periodic reviews and audits are planned

Canada follows the International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidance and standards and also monitors transportation programs for radioactive materials in France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

Developing a Planning Framework

Planning for transportation of used nuclear fuel requires involvement of a broad range of citizens and knowledge specialists.

The plan will need to lay out:

  • Clear objectives;
  • Issues that will need to be addressed;
  • Factors to consider in making decisions; and
  • The means we will use to ensure the plan includes the best knowledge and experience, as well as the values and priorities of citizens.

We have time to develop the transportation plan together and consider it carefully, as transportation is not expected to begin before 2040.

To prepare for this important phase of work, we are beginning to identify the framework that should guide this planning, and the information we will need from technical and other specialists to make decisions in the future.

Exploring Modes of Transport

Over the past 50 years, more than 20,000 shipments of used nuclear fuel have been made worldwide. Modes of transport have included road, rail and water. The NWMO is looking at road and rail to move used fuel to each of the potential host communities. Initial assessments suggest that one or both of these modes appear to be options.