Yesterday, during French Minister for Higher Education and Research Sylvie Retailleau’s visit to Canada, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) President and CEO Laurie Swami and the French Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Michel Miraillet, acting on behalf of Andra CEO Pierre-Marie Abadie, signed a five-year extension of their co-operation agreement on the long-term management of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel.
Both France and Canada recognize that the safe, long-term management of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel is of the utmost priority and that both countries have significant expertise and experiences they can share to make sure that both people and the environment are protected for generations to come.
“Canada and France are world leaders in nuclear waste management, and this co-operation agreement signals our commitment to sharing, learning and collaborating between our respective countries,” said Laurie Swami. “We’re seeing significant progress, not just in Canada and in France, but across the globe as more and more countries approve and ultimately begin building deep geological repositories to safely dispose of high-level radioactive waste or used nuclear fuel. I am delighted that Minister Sylvie Retailleau was able to support and highlight the importance of international collaboration on protecting people and the environment.”
Over the past decade, information sharing between the NWMO and Andra on communications and dialogue with the public, safety approaches, research and development progress and innovative technologies has been important in the achievement of key milestones in both the Canadian and French radioactive waste and used fuel management programs. The NWMO and Andra are proud of their co-operation and look forward to continued partnership and international excellence based on mutual confidence, understanding and respect for their cultural specificities.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Canada is a Tier-1 nuclear nation, and the safe management of radioactive waste is the government’s top priority when it comes to nuclear energy. Through agreements such as this one and partnerships with like-minded allies, we will reach our net-zero targets. We look forward to the continued collaboration between the NWMO and Andra, both of whom have been leading the charge on the advancement of deep geological repositories for the safe, long-term management of nuclear fuel waste.”
“France and Canada, who rank among the leading countries in the field of civil nuclear energy, are both fully committed to using nuclear power to address environmental as well as energy security concerns,” said French Ambassador Michel Miraillet. “They share long-standing co-operation ties in the main areas of civil nuclear energy, including waste management. Both agencies in charge of managing waste, Andra and the NWMO, are fully engaged in collaborative actions, which greatly help in resolving the fuel cycle back-end issues. The renewal of their co-operation agreement, witnessed by Minister Retailleau and her Canadian counterpart Minister Champagne, clearly highlights the importance of the NWMO and Andra’s contribution to the sustainability of nuclear energy.”
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 more than 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Holders 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 Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.