Science/DGR Nuclear Waste Management Siting Process - At a Glance 


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Nuclear Waste Management Siting Process -  At a Glance

Getting Ready

The NWMO publishes the finalized siting process, having briefed provincial governments, the Government of Canada, national and provincial Aboriginal organizations, and regulatory agencies on the NWMO's activities. The NWMO will continue briefings throughout the siting process to ensure new information is made available and requirements which might emerge are addressed.

Step 1

The NWMO initiates the siting process with a broad program to provide information, answer questions and build awareness among Canadians about the project and siting process. Awareness-building activities will continue throughout the full duration of the siting process.

Step 2

Communities identify their interest in learning more, and the NWMO provides detailed briefing. An initial screening is conducted. At the request of the community, the NWMO will evaluate the potential suitability of the community against a list of initial screening criteria (outlined on page 30).

Step 3

For interested communities, a preliminary assessment of potential suitability is conducted. At the request of the community, the NWMO will conduct a feasibility study collaboratively with the community to determine whether a site has the potential to meet the detailed requirements for the project. Interested communities will be encouraged to inform surrounding communities, including potentially affected Aboriginal communities and governments, as early as possible to facilitate their involvement.

Step 4

For interested communities, potentially affected surrounding communities are engaged if they have not been already, and detailed site evaluations are completed. In this step, the NWMO will select one or more suitable sites from communities expressing formal interest for regional study and/or detailed multi-year site evaluations. The NWMO will work collaboratively with these communities to engage potentially affected surrounding communities, Aboriginal governments and the provincial government in a study of health, safety, environment, social, economic and cultural effects of the project at a broader regional level (Regional Study), including effects that may be associated with transportation. Involvement will continue throughout the siting process as decisions are made about how the project will be implemented.

Step 5

Communities with confirmed suitable sites decide whether they are willing to accept the project and propose the terms and conditions on which they would have the project proceed.

Step 6

The NWMO and the community with the preferred site enter into a formal agreement to host the project. The NWMO selects the preferred site, and the NWMO and community ratify a formal agreement.

Step 7

Regulatory authorities review the safety of the project through an independent, formal and public process and, if all requirements are satisfied, give their approvals to proceed. The implementation of the deep geological repository will be regulated under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and its associated regulations to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment, and to respect Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Regulatory requirements will be observed throughout all steps in the siting process. The documentation produced through previous steps, as well as other documentation that will be required, will be formally reviewed by regulatory authorities at this step through an Environmental Assessment and then licensing hearings related to site preparation and construction of facilities associated with the project. Various aspects of transportation of used nuclear fuel will also need to be approved by regulatory authorities.

Step 8

Construction and operation of an underground demonstration facility proceeds. The NWMO will develop the centre of expertise, launched in Step 4, to include and support the construction and operation of an underground demonstration facility designed to confirm the characteristics of the site before applying to regulatory authorities for an operating licence. Designed in collaboration with the community, it will become a hub for knowledge-sharing across Canada and internationally.

Step 9

Construction and operation of the facility. The NWMO begins construction of the deep geological repository and associated surface facilities. Operation will begin after an operating licence is obtained from regulatory authorities. The NWMO will continue to work in partnership with the host community in order to ensure the commitments to the community are addressed throughout the entire lifetime of the project.


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Friday, April 13, 2012