Canadians Share Engagement Experience with IAEA in Vienna
Two members of groups familiar with the NWMO’s site selection process recently spoke about their experiences at an International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) meeting in Vienna.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring together people who have been involved in site selection processes for nuclear waste programs around the world, to share their insights on best practices. This information will be used as input for a new IAEA document on local engagement.
“I was very honoured to provide my perspective on how the NWMO engages Indigenous communities, and in particular young people,” said Brandon Petahtegoose from Atikameksheng Anishinawek, Ontario, who is a member of the Council of Elders and Youth. “I am so happy and humbled to contribute to this international project.”
“Ear Falls is proud that its community made significant contributions to advancing an important Canadian infrastructure project, and I am thrilled to communicate what we learned to the broader world-wide audience,” said Kevin Kahoot, Mayor of Ear Falls, Ontario. Ear Falls is a community 480 km west of Thunder Bay that was actively involved in the NWMO’s site selection process until 2013. Mr. Kahoot is also a member of the NWMO's Municipal Forum.
Also providing input to the IAEA meeting were NWMO staff who work closely with local communities – Jessica Perritt, Indigenous Knowledge Coordinator, and Michael Borrelli, Senior Advisor, Municipal Relations.
The meeting, formally known as the Technical Meeting on Learning from Experience of Local Involvement in Radioactive Waste Programmes, was held at the IAEA headquarters in early December.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.
Founded in 2002, the NWMO has been guided for more than 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Holders that are developing innovative and collaborative solutions for nuclear waste management. Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2024, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.