Adaptive Phased Management (APM) is the name of Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

APM emerged from a three-year dialogue with both specialists and the general public. It is consistent with long-term management best practices adopted by other countries with nuclear power programs, such as Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The federal government selected APM as Canada’s plan in June 2007. The NWMO is now responsible for implementing APM, subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.

Components of Adaptive Phased Management

APM is both a technical method and a management system.

The end point of the technical method is the centralized containment and isolation of Canada's used fuel in a deep geological repository in an area with suitable geology and an informed and willing host. APM also involves the development of a transportation system to move the used fuel from the facilities where it is currently stored to the new site.

The management system involves realistic, manageable phases, each marked by explicit decision points. It allows for flexibility in the pace and manner of implementation, and fosters the sustained engagement of people and communities throughout its implementation.

APM is also designed to meet rigorous safety standards throughout all aspects of its design and implementation.

Incorporating New Knowledge

A fundamental tenet of APM is the incorporation of new knowledge. We will adapt plans in response to advances in technical learning, international best practices, ongoing input of the public, insight from Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge, changes in public policy, and evolving societal expectations and values.

The implementation of APM will span many decades. Because of the timelines involved, it includes numerous opportunities to refine and adjust plans. Each step in the process provides an opportunity to take stock and make any adjustments before proceeding.

Long-Term Implementation

The implementation of APM will unfold over many decades. We initiated the site selection process in May 2010. Site selection and regulatory approvals will take many years to complete, followed by an estimated 10-year period to construct the facility.

Used fuel transportation, handling and placement operations in the repository will occur over a period of about 40 years or more, depending on the inventory of used fuel to be managed. After that, the repository will be monitored for an extended period of time before decommissioning, closure and postclosure monitoring.