Last updated 6/11/2020
Canada has proven and continues to demonstrate its ability to transport used nuclear fuel with hundreds of shipments made since the 1960s. In Canada, three to five shipments of used nuclear fuel are transported by road each year. 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.
Internationally and in Canada, there have been no serious injuries, health effects, fatalities, or environmental consequences attributable to the radioactive nature of the used nuclear fuel being transported.
More about Used Nuclear Fuel,
On a yearly basis, approximately one million packages of radioactive materials are transported in Canada. Most shipments are by road, including about three to five shipments of used fuel per year. The used fuel is shipped from a nuclear generating station to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s Chalk River Laboratories for research and post-irradiation examination.
In the United States, nearly 3,000 shipments of commercial used fuel have been moved more than 2.5 million kilometres during the last 40 years, most over roads and some by rail. The United Kingdom and France transport a combined average of 550 shipments of high-level radioactive waste every year, primarily by rail. Sweden makes approximately 40 shipments per year by water, while Japan has made approximately 200 shipments by water.
More about Transportation
Last updated 10/18/2016
We will develop and submit a transportation security plan to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission as part of the application for a licence to transport used nuclear fuel.
The plan’s primary purpose is to ensure used nuclear fuel will receive adequate physical protection against any credible threat that may arise during transport. Risks are continually reassessed to ensure that security measures are appropriate for specific circumstances.
The transportation security plan must meet the requirements of the Nuclear Security Regulations.
Security measures are put in place to assure the used nuclear fuel to be transported will receive adequate physical protection against any credible threats. These measures include agreements with different levels of law enforcement.
Shipments of used nuclear fuel will be continuously monitored by a transportation command centre and will have a security escort.
The NWMO will provide an emergency response plan to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Transport Canada and the provinces. We will co-ordinate our planning with the provinces to provide training and conduct exercises along the designated routes.
As the multi-year site selection process continues to advance, we will welcome communities as a group along the transportation route to raise questions or concerns to be addressed in the process.
In Canada, the emergency management community has adopted a standard approach for responding to accidents, regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.
Federal, provincial and local governments use a comprehensive approach to emergency management, which includes having in place measures for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and response and restoration activities for all modes of transportation. We will follow this process.
The purpose of the emergency response plan is to ensure co-ordination among the NWMO, provincial and local first responders, leaders of affected communities, and federal agencies. Provincial governments, and local administrations and authorities are responsible for response services. Federal organizations may provide additional resources at the request of the province or municipality.
A safe and secure transportation program has many elements, including training and joint drills and exercises with provincial and local emergency responders. In the interest of ensuring maximum safety, we are committed to robust emergency preparedness. Response plans and procedures are rigorously tested through multi-layered training, inter-agency communications, process and joint exercises.
Yes. We have begun a process for evaluating the suitability of potential repository sites. This process includes assessing the transportation infrastructure and road and rail routes associated with moving used nuclear fuel from interim storage sites to any potential site for a future repository. Communities will be involved in this assessment.
The used nuclear fuel bundles will arrive at the used fuel packaging plant (UFPP) in transportation containers. The UFPP will be designed to receive and repackage used nuclear fuel into long-lived, corrosion-resistant used fuel containers (UFCs) for placement in the repository.
Fuel bundles will be transferred from transportation containers into UFCs using remote-controlled equipment in protected areas called "hot cells". Workers will work behind shielded walls to perform the various processing steps necessary for fuel transfer, and UFC assembly and inspection.
Shielded frames on automated guide vehicles will move the used fuel containers within the packaging plant to the various processing stations. These processing stations include:
Once the containers have been inspected to ensure they do not have any unacceptable defects or features, they are moved to a storage cell for filled containers before going to a dispatch hall for transfer to the repository.
More about Project Facilities,
1 to 10 of 56 Q&As
Looking for something else?