Independent Technical Review Group

In 2008, the NWMO established the Independent Technical Review Group (ITRG). The group completed its mandate in 2013.


    The ITRG submitted regular impartial reports on the NWMO's technical program. Its role was to inform the Board of Directors whether the program:

    • Is based on appropriate scientific and technical approaches and methodologies;
    • Is consistent with international practices;
    • Would broaden and advance the NWMO's technical knowledge to adequately support implementation of Adaptive Phased Management; and
    • Has sufficient technical resources to achieve its mission.

    The ITRG members were from Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. They were internationally recognized specialists in their fields, with significant experience in the technologies associated with implementing used nuclear fuel geologic repositories.

    Now that the ITRG has completed its mandate, and as the technical program advances and becomes increasingly specialized, the NWMO will co-ordinate independent reviews of its work by assembling groups of experts with relevant subject matter expertise.

    Members of ITRG (2008-2013)

    Allan Hooper, Chair
    Allan Hooper is an independent consultant who specializes in the safe, long-term management of radioactive waste for the United Kingdom and other national programmes since 2007. He acts as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the United Kingdom Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Radioactive Waste Management Directorate. In 2008, Dr. Hooper was also appointed Visiting Professor in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London.

    On joining the electricity supply industry, Dr. Hooper researched the operational safety of advanced reactor designs before transferring into early research on decommissioning nuclear power stations and radioactive waste management. He joined Nirex, the United Kingdom radioactive waste management agency in 1988, holding a number of senior management positions, including Director for Science. Dr. Hooper holds a Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Nottingham University, United Kingdom.

    Olle Olsson
    Olle Olsson has 30 years of experience working within the Swedish nuclear waste management program, primarily associated with geoscientific issues related to the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel within a deep geological repository. From 1983 to 1992, he was Principal Investigator for development of integrated site characterization and numerical techniques within the International Stripa Project. In 1995, he became Director of the SKB’s (Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company) underground research facility, the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory. Starting in 2002, he managed the recently completed investigations of two potential Swedish repository sites, and was responsible for preparation of the licence application – submitted to the Swedish government in March 2011 – for the selected Forsmark site. Dr. Olsson now holds the position of Vice-President, Strategy and Programmes at SKB.

    Olle Olsson received his Ph.D. in Applied Geophysics from the University of Luleå, Sweden, in 1978. He has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences since 2003.

    Lawrence Johnson
    Lawrence Johnson is a senior scientist and research and development co-ordinator at Nagra (Swiss National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste), where he has worked since 1999 on various aspects of engineered barriers performance.

    Mr. Johnson received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry with Great Distinction from the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1977. He joined the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) at Whiteshell Laboratories in 1978, where he studied the dissolution of spent fuel and vitrified high-level waste for several years before becoming Manager of Engineered Barrier Studies in the Canadian Nuclear Fuel Waste Management Program. He also managed the technical studies of durability of spent fuel in interim wet and dry storage.

    He is the author of over 110 reports and journal papers covering many areas related to materials performance aspects of engineered barrier systems, as well as a number of studies dealing with long-term safety assessment. A member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the CEA PRECCI Programme, Mr. Johnson conducts research on the long-term evolution of spent fuel packages.

    Derek Martin
    Derek Martin is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, since 2000. He started his career as Engineering Geologist for I.D. Engineering Company, Winnipeg; then moved as Geotechnical Engineer for B.C. Hydro, Vancouver; and later became Senior Geotechnical Engineer for EBA Engineering Consultants, Edmonton.

    Dr. Martin was also Senior Advisor to the Director of the Canadian Nuclear Fuel Waste Management Program, as well as head of the Geotechnical Research Section of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's (AECL) Whiteshell Underground Research Laboratory. He then assumed the roles of Associate Director of the Geomechanics Research Centre and Professor in the School of Engineering at Laurentian University, Sudbury.

    Dr. Martin holds a bachelor's degree in Geology from Memorial University, St. John's. He obtained both his master's degree and doctorate in Civil/Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, respectively. He has reviewed nuclear waste programs for countries around the world. He is a scientific advisor to the Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management program, as well as member of the Geoscience Review Group for Ontario Power Generation's Deep Geologic Repository Project for Low and Intermediate Level Waste.

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