The NWMO begins re-opening process starting with our Oakville facility

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Damien Hobson, Mechanical Technician at ANCAM, is checking over a compressor after power has been turned back on, as part of re-opening the NWMO’s proof-test facility in Oakville.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has begun the process of re-opening our offices, after temporarily closing them this past March due to the global pandemic. The re-opening is starting with our Oakville proof test facility in June. The health and safety of employees and technical partners remains of the utmost importance during this process.

Our Oakville facility is home to our design, optimization, and proof testing program. We test prototype equipment in this facility, including the engineered barrier system and underground emplacement technologies to ensure we can demonstrate a strong technical safety case for our project.

“We decided to re-open the Oakville facility first because our project work includes physical experiments that cannot be done remotely by the team and our industry partners. The facility’s large space with equipment that can be remotely or individually operated means we can maintain physical distancing,” said Chris Boyle, Director of Engineering at the NWMO.

“Worker safety is paramount to the NWMO and our partners. Combining physical distancing with enhanced cleaning, hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other best practices, we are confident in the safety of the space,” Mr. Boyle added.

This first step in a phased and gradual re-opening will enable us to undertake technical research and development work that was paused earlier this year. The move will allow the NWMO to re-engage with suppliers and do our part to support economic recovery.

“The ability to resume collaboration with the NWMO team on this unique work is exciting for our technical services team. We are ready to get back to work safely,” said Kevin Clark, President and CEO of ANCAM Solutions Inc., a key partner supporting the operations at Oakville.

Other staff at the NWMO will continue to work remotely during this time, advancing Canada’s plan for the safe long-term management of used nuclear fuel. During the pandemic, the NWMO has been able to continue much of our work remotely and maintain momentum in implementing Canada’s plan.

We are taking a gradual and phased approach for future office re-openings in potential siting communities and the NWMO’s headquarters in Toronto by following the advice of government and public health authorities.  

The NWMO will provide updates in the coming months and will continue to make safety our first priority.