SHAD provides the NWMO an opportunity to reach future science leaders

Image shows some students listening to a speaker in an informal classroom setting.

The NWMO’s Isaac Werner (right) has a discussion with students about used nuclear fuel during a breakout group session.

Over the summer, more than 650 high school students from all across the country heard about Canada’s plan for used nuclear fuel.


They were part of a four-week award-winning enrichment program called SHAD, for high-achieving high school students. SHAD focuses on science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines, and is designed to help empower these young people to become change makers.


Sufiyaan Nadeem, a student from Mississauga who took part in SHAD this summer, was fascinated by the scientific aspects of the Adaptive Phased Management project. “I think we really need to plan for the future and make sure it is safe and sustainable,” said Mr. Nadeem, who is entering Grade 12 and wants to pursue software engineering after high school.


“The NWMO is solving a major problem and helping society. I thought it was interesting to hear about plans that will protect used nuclear fuel from natural disasters. It’s all science.”


Specialists from the NWMO conducted interactive presentations and workshops for SHAD students in 11 programs, answering their many questions about the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel.


The NWMO has been a sponsor of the SHAD program since 2009, supporting program growth to new university locations, and providing accessibility to all youth via bursaries.


“It’s important – and rewarding – to reach out to young people and inform them of Canada’s plan,” said Isaac Werner, Government and External Relations Analyst at the NWMO, who runs the organization’s SHAD program. “Our project will take place over multiple decades, so it’ll really be up to tomorrow’s leaders to carry it forward.”


The universities where Mr. Werner and colleagues conducted SHAD sessions in 2018 were Carleton, Lakehead, McGill, McMaster, Mount Allison, Queen’s, Ryerson, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Waterloo, and Western.


SHAD is one of several organizations supported by the NWMO that enhance science learning among young people. Others include Scientists in School, a charity providing science workshops for students in kindergarten to Grade 8, and Science North, an interactive science program for elementary students in northern Ontario.