Canada’s plan is a nuclear waste solution we can all be proud of

A photo of Laurie Swami at the 2022 CNA Conference

Ms. Swami called on everyone in Canada’s nuclear sector to help raise awareness for Canada’s plan, particularly as the project will be entering a thorough regulatory review process once the site-selection decision has been made.

The President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), Ms. Laurie Swami, told the annual conference of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) in Ottawa today that Canada is building a future where the safe disposal of nuclear waste is no longer seen as a problem in need of a solution but as a proven model of responsible stewardship.

“At the NWMO, we’re implementing Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel,” she told those attending the CNA 2022 conference. “Internationally, Canada is seen as leading the charge to develop nuclear waste solutions.”

Ms. Swami said Canada’s plan has been developed through a dialogue with Canadians and Indigenous peoples and is guided by the values and priorities they identified as important. It is also aligned with global scientific consensus.

“We can all be proud that in Canada, we have a clear path forward for managing not only the waste we are producing today, but also the waste from the innovations of tomorrow,” she said. 

In her speech, Ms. Swami outlined the work the NWMO has done to date in developing Canada’s plan through a multi-phased, community-driven process to identify a site where Canada’s used nuclear fuel can be safely contained and isolated. She stressed that this consent-based approach is critical to the success of the project as the NWMO continues to work with communities to prepare for the next major milestone in the process – selecting the site with informed and willing hosts.

Ms. Swami called on everyone in Canada’s nuclear sector to help raise awareness for Canada’s plan, particularly as the project will be entering a thorough regulatory review process once the site-selection decision has been made. 

“We need to stop being shy when we talk about Canada’s nuclear waste solution,” said Ms. Swami. “It should be a point of pride for Canadians and Indigenous peoples.”

With the theme of Together for Net Zero, the CNA 2022 conference brought together industry experts, government officials and others with an interest in nuclear energy to explore and advance nuclear’s role as an essential partner in achieving Canada’s climate targets and reaching Net Zero.

About the NWMO  

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.

Founded in 2002, the NWMO has been guided for 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers that are developing innovative and collaborative solutions for nuclear waste management. 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 2024, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.