The NWMO Active in Vienna at the IAEA Joint Convention
Some members of Canada’s delegation at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Joint Convention in Vienna.
In May, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) played a key role in Canada’s delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Sixth Review Meeting of the Joint Convention.
The Joint Convention – the full name of which is the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management – is a legal instrument that was established in 2001 to address the safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste on a global scale. International peer review meetings are held every three years.
“The Joint Convention commits all 78 ratifying countries, including Canada, to demonstrate that they are safely managing radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel,” said Dr. Mihaela Ion, Manager of Nuclear Safety and Advanced Fuels at the NWMO, who supported Canada’s national report and participated in the meeting as a review officer. “It also promotes open discussions on the safety of waste management programs, with the goal of identifying and sharing best practices.”
Representatives from the NWMO were Dr. Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, Vice-President of Site Selection, Dr. Paul Gierszewski, Director of Safety and Technical Research, and Mihaela. The Canadian delegation was led by Ramzi Jammal, Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
As part of Canada’s presentation, Mahrez provided an update to information provided at the Fifth Review Meeting in 2015 towards the long-term management of the country’s used nuclear fuel. He discussed progress made in the site selection process in applying Indigenous Knowledge to decision-making, and in continuing to develop and test technical aspects of the project.
In addition, during one of the topical sessions of the review meeting, Mahrez presented the NWMO’s perspective on aspects of public acceptance associated with the storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel in Canada.
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.