International experience

Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, including the transportation of used nuclear fuel, is informed by international best practices.


    There is a strong international safety record for transporting used nuclear fuel. For close to 60 years, there have been more than 20,000 shipments worldwide, and none have caused harm to people or the environment as a result of the release of radioactive materials.

    Governments, regulators and commercial organizations around the world have extensive experience in the safe, secure transport of radioactive materials.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency, government agencies, and independent experts in many countries regularly examine and research safety issues related to the transport of radioactive substances.


    International experience transporting used nuclear fuel

    Governments, regulators and commercial organizations have extensive experience safely transporting radioactive materials. In more than 60 years, there have been no serious injuries, health impacts, fatalities, or environmental consequences related to radiological shipments anywhere around the world.

    Transportation examples around the world

    • Since the 1970s, Canada has transported approximately five used fuel shipments per year from nuclear generating stations to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s Chalk River Laboratories.
    • In the last 40 years, the United States has made nearly 3,000 shipments of commercial used fuel covering over 2.5 million kilometres, mostly by road and some by rail.
    • The United Kingdom and France transport a combined average of 550 shipments of high-level radioactive waste every year, primarily by rail.
    • Sweden makes approximately 40 shipments per year by water. Japan has made approximately 200 shipments by water over the years.

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    An illustration of a truck

    Canada's plan

    Transporting used nuclear fuel
    An illustration of a truck

    Transporting used nuclear fuel

    Transportation regulations and oversight