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How much will the long-term management of used nuclear fuel cost?

Response

Last updated 3/28/2018

The estimated cost of the Adaptive Phased Management Project from the beginning of site selection in 2010 to the completion of the project is about $23 billion (in 2015 dollars). The final cost will depend on the number of used fuel bundles, timing of construction and the selected site's geology. This estimate includes the cost of:

  • Selecting a site;
  • Designing, constructing and operating a deep geological repository with associated facilities; and
  • Transportation of the used nuclear fuel bundles to the repository.

The current projection of the final volume of used nuclear fuel from existing reactors is approximately 5.2 million bundles.

Funding

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What factors influence the long-term cost of managing Canada's used nuclear fuel?

Response

Last updated 3/28/2018

The eventual cost of implementing Adaptive Phased Management (APM) depends on many factors, including the timing of construction, the selected site's geology and the volume of used nuclear fuel to be managed.

Based on the latest projection, at the end of the planned operation of Canada's existing nuclear reactors, the number of used fuel bundles could total about 5.2 million. The total cost of the project based on this inventory is estimated at about $23 billion (in 2015 dollars). 

Funding

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How are the NWMO’s current operations funded?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

In the years before a construction licence is obtained, our operating cost is provided by the waste owner organizations. Through an annual business planning process with our Board of Directors, waste owner organizations provide annual funding based on an agreed cost-sharing formula.

Funding

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Are taxpayers funding Canada's plan?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

No. Canada's plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel is funded by the major owners of used nuclear fuel in Canada:

  • Ontario Power Generation;
  • NB Power;
  • Hydro-Québec; and
  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.

The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act requires each of these companies to establish independently managed trust funds and make annual deposits to ensure the money to fund this project will be available when needed.

Effectively, this means it is consumers benefiting from the electricity who will, over time, fund the long-term management of the waste that is generated.

FundingTrust Funds

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How does the funding formula work?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

We have the responsibility for maintaining a funding formula and establishing the amount of deposits to trust funds required by each waste owner on an annual basis. The Minister of Natural Resources Canada approved the formula in April 2009.

Each waste owner's deposit is calculated based on the amount of fuel bundles it has produced to date. It is made up of amounts to cover estimated fixed costs for us to construct and operate a deep geological repository, as well as variable costs associated with managing each fuel bundle.

The formula assumes a reasonable rate of return, which is consistent with rates realized by each waste owner.

Funding

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How will the area selected benefit from the project?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Adaptive Phased Management is approximately a $22.8-billion (2015 $) national infrastructure project. It will bring about significant economic benefits to the area where it is eventually located, including the community that initiated the area's involvement, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, surrounding municipalities, and the host province.

It is a multi-generational project that will be developed and implemented in phases over a period spanning more than 150 years. The economic impact will include many direct, indirect, and induced jobs, involving scientists, engineers, tradespeople, and others. Construction and operations will create wealth in the form of business profits and personal income throughout the siting area amounting to many hundreds of millions of dollars.

We will work with communities in the siting area to foster well-being and help capture benefits that align with the communities' visions. The project may contribute to social and economic pressures that will need to be carefully managed to ensure the area's long-term well-being and sustainability. We will work with communities to explore the need for assistance, such as job training, affordable housing and infrastructure.

This image visually depicts employment numbers by project phase, including estimated timelines and range of skills required. Detailed information about the image is on the Employment by Project Phase page, linked below.
Employment and EconomicsSteps in the ProcessEmployment by Project Phase

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How many jobs will be created?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

The economic impact will include many direct, indirect and induced jobs involving scientists, engineers, tradespeople, and others. Construction and operations will create wealth in the form of business profits and personal income throughout the siting area amounting to many hundreds of millions of dollars.

The economic analysis completed to date estimates employment by project phase. The actual numbers will depend on a number of factors, including the location, the specific pan for implementing the project, the cost, and the schedule. These factors can evolve over time.

We will work with communities in the siting area to foster well-being and help capture benefits that align with the communities' visions. The project may contribute to social and economic pressures that will need to be carefully managed to ensure the area's long-term well-being and sustainability. We will examine the need for assistance, such as job training, affordable housing, and infrastructure, to minimize social costs and help communities adapt to the project's opportunities and challenges.

This image visually depicts employment numbers by project phase, including estimated timelines and range of skills required. Detailed information about the image is on the Employment by Project Phase page, linked below.
Employment and EconomicsHow will the area selected benefit from the project?

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Will jobs go to local people, or will you have to bring people in?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Implementing Adaptive Phased Management will involve hundreds of direct, indirect and induced jobs each year. These jobs will involve scientists, engineers, professionals, tradespeople, and other workers in the siting region for many decades.

The number of jobs generated in the siting area will depend in part on the location of the repository, and the capacity of the communities in the siting area, economic region and host province to support the project.

We will explore with communities in the area the need for specific investments that can alter the amount of economic benefits captured in the area. For example, we could make investments in such areas as labour training, supporting infrastructure, business incubation, strategic hiring, and procurement.

As part of our procurement process, we seek to maximize our use of local suppliers from municipalities, and First Nation and Métis communities in areas engaged in the site selection process.

This image visually depicts employment numbers by project phase, including estimated timelines and range of skills required. Detailed information about the image is on the Employment by Project Phase page, linked below.
Employment and EconomicsEmployment by Project PhaseProcurement

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Is there liability insurance in case something goes wrong?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

Yes. Under the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act (NLCA), the operator of any nuclear facility, including a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel, is liable for damage resulting from the unlikely event of a release of radioactivity.

The NLCA requires nuclear operators like the NWMO to carry a prescribed amount of insurance to ensure that compensation is available. Under this law, liability for nuclear operators like the NWMO is limited to $1 billion. 

The government will review this liability limit on a regular basis, at least every five years. To address claims that exceed this amount, there is an international fund the Government of Canada contributes to and can access if needed. Claims that exceed that amount would be addressed by the federal government.

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How can I stay up-to-date on long-term funding provisions for the Adaptive Phased Management Project?

Response

Last updated 10/18/2016

The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) requires Canada's nuclear electricity producers to establish trust funds to finance the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. These funds will accumulate and may only be used for the purpose of implementing the management approach selected by the Government of Canada, once a construction or operating licence has been issued under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

You can follow the growth in trust funds over time. As required by the NFWA, we make public the audited financial statements of the trust funds when they are provided by the financial institutions annually.

In addition, in each Annual Report, we are required under the NFWA to provide a range of financial information.

Trust Funds

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