Step 2: Initial screening

Communities expressed an interest in learning more after the NWMO initiated the site selection process. At their request, we evaluated the potential suitability of these communities and vicinity based on readily available information and against a list of initial screening criteria. 


    The screening criteria was as follows:

    • 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.

    If all initial screening criteria could not be met, the community was excluded from further consideration.

    Communities that met the criteria were given an initial briefing on the project. A tour of an interim storage facility for used nuclear fuel was also organized. Communities were encouraged to contact the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a half-day meeting to learn about the regulatory framework that will govern the project.

    Communities with potentially suitable sites then assessed whether they were interested in continuing to Step 3: Preliminary Assessments of Suitability.

    On September 30, 2012, with 21 communities involved in the process, we suspended this 'expressions of interest' phase. That means we are not accepting any new communities into the process at this time. This will allow us to focus our efforts on conducting the detailed studies required in communities that expressed an interest before the closing date.

    Learn More program

    Interested individuals, organizations, and communities were invited to contact us to learn more about Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel, our activities, and the process being used to select an informed and willing host for this project.

    The Learn More Program makes available resources (information and funding) to support participation in early steps of the siting process.


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    Steps in the site selection process

    Step 3: Preliminary assessments of suitability
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    The site selection process

    Steps in the process