The safety and appropriateness of any potential site will be assessed against a number of factors, both technical and social in nature.

Potential siting areas are identified and assessed in a series of steps that began when communities formally expressed interest in learning more. Each step is designed to evaluate the area in greater detail than the step before. An area may be found to be unsuitable at any stage of evaluation, at which point it would no longer be considered.

To be considered in the site selection process, areas in interested communities or their vicinity had to meet a minimum set of criteria. These criteria were applied in an initial screening conducted in Step 2: Initial Screening of the site selection process.

Initial Screening Criteria

  • The site must have available land of sufficient size to accommodate the surface and underground facilities.
  • This available land must be outside protected areas, heritage sites, provincial parks, and national parks. 
  • This available land must not contain known groundwater resources at the repository depth that could be used for drinking, agriculture, or industrial uses, so that the repository site is unlikely to be disturbed by future generations. 
  • This available land must not contain economically exploitable natural resources as known today, so that the repository site is unlikely to be disturbed by future generations.
  • This available land must not be located in areas with known geological and hydrogeological characteristics that would prevent the site from being safe.

More Detailed Evaluation

With continued support from interested communities, areas that met these initial criteria are now being subject to progressively more detailed evaluation. This evaluation is conducted with two primary areas of focus:

  • First, the preferred site will be one that can be demonstrated to be able to safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel, protecting humans and the environment over the very long term.
  • Second, the preferred site will be located in an area where the project can be implemented in a way that fosters the well-being, or quality of life, of the local community and region.