Search Results
1 to 10 of 21 Q&As See featured Q&As

What is Adaptive Phased Management?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Adaptive Phased Management (APM) is Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

It is both a technical method and a management system, with an emphasis on adaptability. It is designed to meet rigorous safety standards in all aspects of its design and implementation.

The end point of the technical method is the centralized containment and isolation of Canada's used nuclear fuel in a deep geological repository in an area with suitable geology and an informed and willing host. APM also involves the development of a transportation system to move the used fuel from the facilities where it is currently stored to the new site.

The management system involves realistic, manageable phases, each marked by explicit decision points. It allows for flexibility in the pace and manner of implementation, and fosters the sustained engagement of people and communities throughout its implementation.

As part of Canada's plan, we are seeking an informed and willing host for the facility. In addition to extensive technical assessments, the site selection process involves extensive learning and dialogue with communities before a preferred site can be identified.

A fundamental tenet of APM is the incorporation of new knowledge. We will adapt plans in response to advances in technical learning, international best practices, ongoing input of the public, insight from Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge, changes in public policy, and evolving societal expectations and values.

About Adaptive Phased ManagementDeep Geological RepositorySite Selection Process

More about APM

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.

More about APM

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

More about APM

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

More about APM

How long will it take to implement Canada's plan?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

There is no fixed timeline. We will take the time needed to do it right.

We estimate timelines for planning purposes. Actual timelines will depend on a number of factors. These include the time it takes to identify a suitable site and the time needed to obtain regulatory approvals.

For financial planning purposes only, 2035 was identified as the earliest a repository could begin operating. We will continue to update financial planning assumptions from time to time as new information is available. Actual timelines may vary, as it is important to take the time needed to confirm safety and move at a pace at which communities wish to proceed.

Once operations begin, moving used fuel into the facility could take about 40 years, depending on how much there is to manage. There will be an extended monitoring period following placement of the used nuclear fuel.

About the ProjectAbout the Process

More about APM

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

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

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 Aboriginal Traditional 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?

More about APM

What if nuclear plants with different fuel types are used in the future?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

In the future, decisions regarding nuclear power generation made by provincial governments, nuclear plant operators and regulators may result in different types of used fuel.

Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel has sufficient flexibility to manage different types of used fuel if necessary. If power plant operators, governments and regulators make the decision to use different fuel, we would review our design and safety case and update our plans in consultation with interested parties.
The specific amount and type of used fuel to be placed in the repository for long-term management will be agreed with the community using an open and transparent engagement process. This process will use the best information available at the time. It will involve surrounding communities and others who are interested and potentially affected.

Regulatory review processes and approvals will be based on a specific fuel inventory as well. These processes will also involve an open and transparent consultation process.

Canada's Used Nuclear FuelMonitoring Alternative Fuel Cycles

More about APM, Used Nuclear Fuel

What happens to the plan if new nuclear plants are built?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Future decisions about nuclear power generation made by provincial governments, nuclear plant operators and regulators may result in a larger inventory of used nuclear fuel. For instance, the lives of existing reactors might be extended through additional refurbishment. Provincial governments may also decide to build new nuclear plants.

The specific amount of used fuel to be placed in the repository for long-term management will be agreed with the community using the best information available at the time, and through an open and transparent engagement process involving surrounding communities and others who are interested and potentially affected.

Regulatory review processes and approvals, which are required by law before the facility can be constructed and operated, will be based on a specific fuel inventory and will also involve an open and transparent consultation process.

How Much Is There?

More about APM, Used Nuclear Fuel

Are you doing this so new nuclear plants can be built?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

It is not our intent to advocate one energy source over another. Used fuel exists and must be managed. Energy policy decisions are made by governments, utilities and regulators.

Adaptive Phased Management addresses the need of Canadians for safety, security and protection of the environment. We are committed to protecting both this and future generations in this regard.

Canada's Used Nuclear FuelWhy This Approach?

More about APM, Used Nuclear Fuel

How will you prevent future society from digging up the repository by accident?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

After decommissioning and closure of the repository, institutional controls will be in place for an extended period of time to prevent future society from inappropriate use of the land. Institutional controls are commonly used worldwide to ensure that people and the environment are protected after decommissioning facilities associated with the use, storage or disposal of hazardous materials.

For the repository, such controls could include both active measures such as monitoring and surveillance, as well as passive measures that do not require activities on the site. Passive measures could include local land use restrictions, use of durable markers above or underground, and preservation of knowledge and memory through public records/archives.

We participate in the Nuclear Energy Agency's international collaboration on Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory Across Generations, which explores various topics such as markers, archives and key information files that would include information transferred across generations, transfer of responsibilities, and others.

Regulatory Oversight

More about APM, Environment, Safety and Security

1 to 10 of 21 Q&As


Looking for something else?

Ask a Question