What is the Land Access Process in Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce?


Last updated 1/24/2020

Canada’s plan calls for used nuclear fuel to be safely contained and isolated in a deep geological repository to be located in an area with informed and willing hosts, including local municipalities and Indigenous communities.


A key part of the site selection process is identifying and studying sites that have potential to safely house the underground repository and its surface-level facilities. That work requires us to assemble and access sufficient land for technical site evaluations, including borehole drilling, environmental monitoring and other site investigation work such as Indigenous cultural verification.


In Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce, the NWMO initiated a process in May 2019 to seek agreements with interested local landowners to access sufficient land to complete those studies.


In 2020, the NWMO signed a combination of option and purchase agreements with landowners in South Bruce that allow sufficient access to land for studies at a potential repository location. The agreements allow the NWMO to conduct studies and landowners to continue to use the land, in some cases through leaseback arrangements. If the site is selected to host the repository, the NWMO would purchase the optioned land.


The NWMO will continue discussions with landowners in the vicinity of the potential site over the coming months and years.


This is one of two potential host areas that remain in the site selection process; the NWMO announced in November 2019 that studies are also continuing in the area of Ignace, Ont. In the Ignace area, the proposed repository location is on Crown land, so a different process is in place to access the land there.

South Bruce: What We're DoingHuron-KinlossAbout the Process

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How will people and the environment be protected?


Last updated 9/5/2018

Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel involves containing and isolating it in a deep geological repository.

Safety of people and the environment is the top priority in the process for selecting a repository site. We will need to demonstrate that any site selected can safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel for a very long period of time. There cannot be any credible risk from the repository to the public or the environment.

The repository will be located deep underground in a suitable rock formation, which must meet site selection technical criteria for the development of a robust safety case. This approach is consistent with international best practice, and is the culmination of more than 30 years of research, development, and demonstration of technologies and techniques.

The repository uses multiple barriers that include the waste form, container, sealing materials, and host rock. The system is designed such that the failure of one component would not jeopardize the safety of the containment system as a whole.

The project will also be subject to a thorough regulatory review process, including an environmental assessment and a licensing review to ensure that it is implemented in a manner that protects people and the environment.

Once placed in the repository, the used nuclear fuel will be monitored for an extended period of time.

Safety: Protecting People and the EnvironmentMultiple-Barrier System

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How will a single, preferred location be chosen?


Last updated 3/2/2020

Since 2010, we have been engaged in a multi-year, community-driven process to identify a site where Canada’s used nuclear fuel can be safely contained and isolated in a deep geological repository.

Potential siting areas are identified and assessed in a series of steps that began when communities formally expressed interest in learning more.

The safety and appropriateness of any potential site will be assessed against a number of factors, both technical and social in nature.

The process is community driven. It is designed to ensure, above all, that the site selected is safe and secure, and has an informed and willing host. The process must meet the highest scientific, professional and ethical standards. 

The project will only proceed with the involvement of Municipal and Indigenous communities in the area and surrounding communities, working in partnership to implement it.

About the ProcessSite RequirementsSteps in the Process

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How does the NWMO involve people in implementing the plan?


Last updated 10/18/2016

Collaboration with both experts and the public is key to the design of Canada's plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel, and is at the heart of the plan's implementation. We have involved and will continue to involve people throughout the process in the implementation of the plan by:

  • Soliciting input from the public and specialists during the design of the site selection process;
  • Carrying out a community-driven site selection process that involves interested host communities in decision-making at every step, including the planning and implementation of all technical and social assessments and work;
  • Collaboratively engaging in dialogue with the interested community, First Nation and Métis communities, and surrounding municipalities about potential sites and the implementation of the project; and
  • Responding to the views, questions and concerns of others who are most likely to be affected by the implementation of the project, including those potentially affected by the transportation of used nuclear fuel.

We will also provide forms of assistance to interested communities and others potentially affected so they can participate in the process.

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Can used nuclear fuel be transported safely?


Last updated 10/18/2016

Transportation of radioactive material is a well-established practice. Over 50 years, there have been more than 20,000 shipments worldwide of used nuclear fuel, using road, rail and water transport. Canada has proven, and continues to demonstrate, its ability to safely transport used fuel, with hundreds of shipments made since the 1960s.


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