NWMO Chief Engineer shares surface details for repository with South Bruce CLC

Derek Wilson, Chief Engineer and Vice-President of Contract Management at the NWMO, spoke to at the November meeting of the South Bruce Community Liaison Committee (CLC) about the surface facilities at the repository site. Wilson is a mining engineer with over 25 years of experience in the mining and heavy construction industries, primarily in project and operational management roles.

One of the key facilities to be located on the site of the deep geological repository is the used fuel packaging plant. This facility will receive, repackage and seal the used fuel containers that will be transferred underground for placement in the repository. A sealing material compaction plant and concrete batch plant will also be needed to provide materials for clay-based and cement-based barriers in the repository. The site will also house many other facilities for security, administration, water management, radiation protection, and radiological and conventional waste management.

Wilson also spoke to the stringent regulatory requirements in Canada and the NWMO’s commitment to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements set forth by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

The NWMO’s Chief Engineer also shared information about the underground demonstration facility. The NWMO intends to build this facility and begin in-situ testing during the construction phase, prior to operations, in order to confirm the characteristics and performance of the site prior to receiving an operating licence. Along with the Centre of Expertise, this facility will become a hub for knowledge-sharing across Canada and internationally.

Wilson also mentioned the rock that will be excavated to create the repository and the NWMO’s flexibility to consider community preferences when it comes to the size and location of the rock pile. Current NWMO plans explore the possibility of using a portion of the excavated rock in backfilling and sealing operations at the facility.

The Municipality of South Bruce is one of two communities currently involved in the site selection process for a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. Work is also advancing in the area around Ignace, in northwestern Ontario. The NWMO expects to identify a single, preferred site to host a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel in 2023.