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How does Canada's plan compare to what others in the world are doing?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Canada’s approach is consistent with best practice around the world. Almost all countries with commercial nuclear power production are planning to isolate their used nuclear fuel, or the high-level waste by-products from reprocessing their fuel, in a deep geological repository.

Studies conducted around the world have concluded used nuclear fuel and high-level waste should be contained and isolated in a deep geological repository. There is a consensus among major nuclear regulatory and monitoring organizations that repositories are the responsible way forward.

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Does the plan include managing waste from other countries?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

No. The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act establishes a mandate for the NWMO to manage Canada’s used nuclear fuel. Adaptive Phased Management was developed collaboratively with Canadians to meet this mandate. The plan was recommended by the NWMO and approved by the Government of Canada on this basis.

About Adaptive Phased Management

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What happens to the plan if technology changes before it's fully implemented?

Response

Last updated 8/8/2019

Canada's plan, by design, is flexible and adaptive so that it can be responsive to advances in technical learning, international best practices, ongoing input from the public, insight from Indigenous Knowledge, changes in public policy, and evolving societal expectations and values. The implementation of Adaptive Phased Management will span many decades. Because of the timelines involved, it includes numerous opportunities to refine and adjust plans.

The ability of the plan to adjust to change, if appropriate, was a common objective, which emerged from a three-year dialogue with thousands of Canadians about a plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

Many wanted the plan to provide flexibility for future generations to shape decisions as the plan is implemented over several decades. Many also emphasized the importance of designing the repository in a way that allows for the retrieval of used nuclear fuel in order to take advantage of the development of new technologies.

We are committed to continuous learning to inform decision-making at each step along the way.

About Adaptive Phased ManagementWhy This Approach?Monitoring Alternate Fuel Cycles

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Is life or house insurance harder to get in communities with nuclear facilities?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Coverage for nuclear incidents is excluded in all insurance policies in Canada regardless of whether there are nuclear facilities in a community.

This is because coverage for damage or injury resulting from a release of radioactivity falls under the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act (NLCA).
Under the NLCA, we would be liable for damage or injury resulting from the unlikely event of a release of radioactivity from our facility once it is constructed and licensed to operate.

The current Act requires a licencee to carry a prescribed amount of insurance to ensure that compensation is available for any such release. For claims that exceed that amount, the NLCA provides for a process under which the federal government would address such claims.

How does the NWMO report its progress?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

We are subject to the requirements of the Nuclear Waste Fuel Act (NFWA) and oversight by the Minister of Natural Resources Canada.

We submit annual and triennial reports to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, who tables the reports in Parliament. The NWMO's reports are made public at the same time they are submitted to the minister.

How We're Governed

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If the NWMO ceased to exist in the future, who would look after the used nuclear fuel?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

The safety of the repository does not rely on human institutions and intervention after the repository is closed. In the event the NWMO ceased to exist, the waste would be safely managed by the repository's multiple-barrier system in what is called a passive management system.

Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel involves the construction of a deep geological repository and associated facilities. Any site selected for the repository must be able to safely contain and isolate the used fuel for many hundreds of thousands of years, basically indefinitely. Working together, man-made and natural barriers in the geology will ensure the safety of the environment and public.

Multiple-Barrier System

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What is the NWMO?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization established in 2002 by Canada's nuclear electricity producers (Ontario Power Generation, New Brunswick Power and Hydro-Québec) as directed by the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA), which came into force November 15, 2002.

We were created with a mandate to develop an approach for the long-term care of Canada’s used nuclear fuel and to implement it after the approach was approved by the federal government. We developed this approach, called Adaptive Phased Management (APM) through an innovative and wide-ranging program of dialogue with scientists, experts in a wide range of disciplines, and interested Canadians across the country.

Who We AreOur CommitmentAbout Adaptive Phased Management

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What is the NWMO's mandate?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) was established in 2002 by Canada’s nuclear electricity producers in accordance with the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA). Operating on a not-for-profit basis under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, we are responsible for designing and implementing Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

We consulted with thousands of Canadians from 2002 to 2005 on options for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The Government selected our recommended approach of Adaptive Phased Management (APM) in June 2007 as Canada's plan.

We are now responsible for implementing APM, subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.

MandateAbout Adaptive Phased ManagementRegulatory Approvals

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What is the role of the NWMO's Advisory Council?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

In 2002, the NWMO's Board of Directors established an Advisory Council as required by the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA).

The NWMO Advisory Council is an independent and arm's-length body of individuals who are knowledgeable about nuclear waste management issues and experienced in working with the public and communities on public policy issues.

The Advisory Council is required by the NFWA to comment publicly every three years on our activities from the three previous years and on our five-year strategic plans and budget forecasts. Advisory Council statements about our activities, strategic plans and budget forecasts are published in our triennial reports. These reports are submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources and the public at the same time.

The Advisory Council also provides us advice on an ongoing basis. Through its counsel to the NWMO, the Advisory Council:

  • Ensures that the views of the public and communities of interest are considered and reflected in a thoughtful, balanced way in the proposed approaches and reports of the NWMO; and
  • Assists the NWMO in ensuring that its processes are of good quality, and are open, transparent, thorough, and sound.

Advisory CouncilBoard of Directors

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How was Canada's plan for used nuclear fuel developed?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Adaptive Phased Management emerged from a three-year study the NWMO led from 2002 to 2005. The study engaged thousands of citizens, specialists and Aboriginal peoples in every province and territory as a range of management options were assessed. The plan draws on more than 30 years of research, development and demonstration of technologies and techniques in Canada and elsewhere. It is in line with best international practice and has been designed to meet the expectations expressed by Canadians throughout the study.


About Adaptive Phased Management

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