Step 3: Phase 1 - Desktop Studies and Engagement
Activities in Phase 1 focus on desktop studies done with information that is readily available. Key activities in this phase include the following, many of which are completed in parallel:
1. The NWMO and the accountable authorities in the community agree on how the work will proceed.
Preliminary assessments require that we and the community work in close partnership to support learning and reflection about the project and to ensure questions are addressed. Together with thecommunity's Mayor and Council or Chief and Council, we come to agreement on how the first phase of work will proceed. This includes identifying:
- The work activities that will take place
- How we and the community will work together to involve citizens, surrounding communities and Indigenous peoples
- The support (funding and resources) that will be provided to the community to participate as a partner in this work
2. Scientific and technical studies are conducted to further explore the potential suitability of the geology in the area.
The initial screening conducted in Step 2 identified large areas in each community that are potentially suitable for hosting a deep geological repository. In Step 3: Phase 1, our staff, supported by contractors, conduct a detailed technical and scientific review of available information to further refine the findings from this initial screening. Through the application of additional site evaluation factors, smaller potentially suitable siting areas are identified.
This work includes detailed review and interpretation of the geoscientific characteristics of the candidate area, complemented by specific studies such as detailed review of available geological information, interpretation of available airborne geophysical surveys, and lineaments studies (faults and fractures).
The studies during this phase of work also consider key geoscientific characteristics and constraints that may be used to refine the siting areas. For example, constraints may include protected areas, geological setting, presence of natural resources, and so on.
In addition to scientific and technical studies used to further explore the suitability of geology in the area, preliminary studies are conducted to examine engineering, transportation, and environmental and safety considerations.
3. The potential effects of the project on the long-term well-being of the community are further explored through desktop studies and engagement of community residents.
Our staff, supported by contractors who are experts in the field, work with the community liaison committee and other community members to assemble information about the environmental, social, economic, and cultural conditions of the community, as well as objectives, issues and concerns. This information helps provide a starting point for discussion with the community to explore the potential effects of the project on the community and the opportunities to achieve community objectives through the project. This information also assists in initial identification of plans that may need to be put in place to implement the project in a way that fosters the well-being of the community.
4. Engagement activities in the community involve community members in the assessments and in learning about the project. Learning activities continue and expand in the area.
We work with community liaison committees and experts in a variety of fields, to support learning activities in the community. These include community liaison committee meetings, discussions with service groups, open houses, participation in community events and a Learn More office in the community.
5. The NWMO and the community take stock of work to date and findings about the potential suitability of the community.
Information collected during the activities outlined above is summarized for each community in order to assist in stock-taking. Communities with low potential to be suitable for the project may be screened out of the process at this point.