Safety and security is the top priority in implementing Canada's plan for managing used nuclear fuel over the long term. Any site that is selected to host the project must satisfy six safety functions:
- Safe containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel. The characteristics of the rock at the site must be appropriate to ensure long-term containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel from humans, the environment, and surface disturbances caused by human activities and natural events.
- Long-term resilience to future geological processes and climate change. The rock formation at the siting area must be geologically stable and likely to remain stable over the very long term in a manner that will ensure the repository will not be substantially affected by geological and climate change processes such as earthquakes and glacial cycles.
- Safe construction, operation and closure of the repository. Conditions at the site must be suitable for the safe construction, operation, and ultimate closure of the repository.
- Isolation of used fuel from future human activities. Human intrusion such as future exploration or mining must be unlikely.
- Amenability to site characterization and data interpretation activities. The geologic conditions at the site must be amenable to being practically studied and described on dimensions that are important for demonstrating long-term safety.
- Safe transportation. The site must have a route that exists or is amenable to being created that enables the safe and secure transportation of used fuel from interim storage sites to the repository site.
These safety functions must be addressed through the development of a robust safety case. The safety case will also need to demonstrate that the project can meet or surpass the requirements of regulatory authorities.