There’s a lot of work in South Bruce to understand water resources. What exactly are you testing for?


Last updated 12/2/2021

Protecting water, people and the environment is so important to the NWMO – it is at the core of what we do and a connection we share with Canadians and Indigenous peoples. And understanding water, its quality, its memory, and where it’s flowing is essential for us to be able to make good decisions as we do our work.

In July 2021, the NWMO partnered with Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) to research water resources in the South Bruce area. The information collected will help the NWMO and SVCA make future project decisions to protect water.

The program will monitor water flow and collect surface water samples in rivers, lakes and wetlands throughout the Teeswater River and the Beatty Saugeen River subwatersheds.

The water samples will be submitted to CALA-certified laboratories for analysis. They will test for:

  • General water quality
  • Existing local industries
  • Potential contaminants

Here is what the water will be tested for:

Tier 1: Natural Radionuclides

Tritium, Carbon-14, Strontium-90, Iodine-129, Cesium-137 [and associated Cobalt-60, Ruthenium-106], gross-α, gross-β

Tier 2: Natural Radionuclides

Uranium-238, Uranium-234, Uranium-235, Potassium-40, Thorium-228, Thorium-230, Thorium-232, Radium-226

Tier 2: Artificial Radionuclides

Chlorine-36, Cobalt-60, Selenium-79, Ruthenium-106, Neptunium-237, Plutonium-238, Plutonium-239, Plutonium-240, Plutonium-241 Americium-241, Curium-244


Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Boron, Cadmium, Cesium, Chromium (total, trivalent, hexavalent), Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Lead, Lithium, Mercury, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Selenium, Silver, Strontium, Thallium, Tin, Titanium, Uranium, Vanadium, Zinc, Zirconium


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Volatile Organic Compounds, Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds, Petroleum Hydrocarbons, Dioxins and Furans, Polychlorinated biphenyls (Total), Organochlorine pesticides

Nutrients and General Chemistry

Alkalinity, Bicarbonate, Bromide, Calcium, Carbonate, Chloride, Cyanide, Fluoride, Hydroxide, Magnesium, pH, Potassium, Sodium, Specific Conductivity, Sulphate, Sum of Ions, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Hardness, Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Turbidity, Ammonia as Nitrogen, Nitrate + Nitrite, Nitrate (NO3), Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Total Inorganic Carbon (TIC), Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), Phosphorus, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN), Chlorophyll-a, Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Total Coliforms, E. coli



Protecting water

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Featured Questions

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.

About the ProcessA Collaborative ApproachGuiding Principles

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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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