Message from the President and CEO: Protecting people and the environment

Photograph of Laurie Swami

From the publication of our Preliminary transportation plan that will ensure the safe delivery of used nuclear fuel to our selected site, to the ongoing geoscience work that is helping us find a safe site for our deep geological repository, everything we do is about protecting this land we all share and the people that call it home." - Laurie Swami

As I reflected on the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) work last year implementing Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, I was reminded that everything we do is about protecting people and the environment for generations to come.

From the publication of our Preliminary transportation plan that will ensure the safe delivery of used nuclear fuel to our selected site, to the ongoing geoscience work that is helping us find a safe site for our deep geological repository, everything we do is about protecting this land we all share and the people that call it home.

Protecting people also means understanding and respecting their world view. That is why at the NWMO, we collaborate with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers to interweave their perspective into all that we do. We are continuing our efforts to bring these world views into dialogue, including workshops and conference presentations focusing on how Indigenous Knowledge and western science can work together to strengthen water protection. 

Now that we have begun the NWMO’s 20th year of operation, I am most looking forward to our final site selection decision. This is going to take everything we’ve got collectively to get to the decision next year, from the hard work of our staff to the relationships we have built with governments and communities. It has been a long process to get here, and I want to thank all the communities that contributed to Canada’s plan and expressed interest in learning more about the project over the past 20 years.

While there is still much work to be done before a site can be selected, I would like to reaffirm one of the commitments that has always been foundational to our work. Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. We cannot and will not do this work without Canadians and Indigenous peoples working together to implement Canada’s plan.

And Canada is not alone in this journey. In January 2022, the global movement to solve the dilemma of how to safely store nuclear waste took an important step forward as the Government of Sweden approved the construction of a deep geological repository in the Municipality of Östhammar, where the country’s used nuclear fuel will be stored safely in perpetuity. We are excited to see our international counterparts moving forward.

The safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel is on the horizon. I invite you to learn more about the NWMO’s work and share your thoughts, so that your voice can help refine Canada’s plan.

About the NWMO

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization implementing Canada’s plan to safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.

Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2023, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon-Ignace area and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area, both in Ontario.