Steps 4-9: Site confirmation, construction and operations

The descriptions of individual steps in the site selection process serve to guide our work. As we work with communities in the site selection process, we continue to learn and refine our activities.


    Step 4: Detailed Site Evaluations

    We will complete detailed site evaluations at the preferred location identified through earlier studies. Several types of activities will take place in the course of completing this step.

    • We will conduct a range of site evaluations and demonstration activities in collaboration with communities in the area to further assess the preferred site for a repository.
    • We will establish a Centre of Expertise at or near the site. This centre will support the multi-year testing and assessment on technical, safety and community well-being dimensions. It will also support ongoing planning and discussion with community members. In a later step, the centre will be expanded to support construction and operation of the deep geological repository.
    • We will initiate regulatory processes to support future construction and operation of the deep geological repository and related surface facilities.
    • We will continue to work with municipal, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and the provincial government in discussions about the potential environmental, social, economic, and cultural effects of the project. The effects that may be associated with transportation and potential transportation modes and routes will also be a focus of engagement.

    Step 5: Confirm Acceptance to Host the Project

    We have committed that the project will only be located in an area with an informed and willing host. In Step 5, we would need to confirm acceptance to host the repository. Acceptance will need to be supported by a compelling demonstration of willingness.

    The project will only proceed with the involvement of the community, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and surrounding communities working together to implement it.

    Step 6: Formal Agreement to Host Repository

    A formal agreement to host the repository is confirmed, subject to all regulatory requirements being met and regulatory approval received.

    Step 7: Regulatory Review and Approval Process

    Before construction, we will have to demonstrate that the project meets or exceeds strict regulatory criteria to protect the health, safety, and security of people and the environment. We must also demonstrate that the project respects Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

    Regulatory authorities will conduct an independent, formal and public process to ensure all requirements are satisfied.

    Step 8: Construction and Operation of Underground Demonstration Facility

    Once a construction licence is granted, we will build an underground demonstration facility. The purpose of this facility is to confirm the characteristics of the site before construction of the deep geological repository begins.

    Step 9: Construction and Operation of Facilities

    We will construct the deep geological repository and all associated facilities. Operation will only begin after we obtain an operating licence from regulatory authorities.

    Depending on the amount of used fuel to be placed in the repository, operations could last for approximately 40 years or more. We will continue to work in partnership with the communities in the area and ensure that commitments are addressed throughout the lifetime of the project.

    There will be an extensive environmental and operational monitoring program for ground and surface water, radiation, air quality, fire, and more. This monitoring will start prior to construction and will continue through operations. There will also be an extended monitoring period following placement of the used nuclear fuel and closure of the facility.

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    Steps in the site selection process

    Step 3: Preliminary assessments of suitability
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    Steps in the site selection process

    Step 2: Initial screening