Questions and Answers

The following is a list of questions/comments that the BRCLC has received to date and the corresponding answers from the NWMO or BRCLC


Questions September 2015

What is the role of the municipality in the NWMO siting process for a potential suitable site on neighbouring Crown land and what about Treaty rights on this land?

Communities that entered the site selection process expressed interest in learning more about the APM Project and in exploring whether the project could be implemented in their community or area. The NWMO initiated studies to explore the potential to meet the robust requirements of the project.

In the early stages, a priority was put on exploring the potential to find suitable rock that can contain and isolate used nuclear fuel for the time periods required. These studies followed the outline of rock formations in and near these communities. In some cases these rock formations extend beyond municipal boundaries and into Crown land.  In several areas, this process has led to the identification of potentially suitable Crown land.

Although individual communities initiated a process that led to identification of Crown Land, the site selection process requires that those potentially affected through the implementation of the project on that land must be involved in learning and decision-making. The preliminary assessment process examines the potential to not only meet safety criteria but also to move the project forward together with those who would be affected.

Currently the NWMO is actively working with Federal, Aboriginal and provincial governments to better understand how issues of jurisdiction, land claims and rights might impact our work as we progress through the steps in the site selection process. The NWMO does not have jurisdiction over any land and understands jurisdictional matters are between First Nations and the Crown, and will be decided by them. The NWMO understands that eventually the Crown’s duty to consult will arise.

The NWMO’s commitment to inclusiveness, shared decision-making and  partnership goes beyond consultation and accommodation. In discussions with Aboriginal people, they have been clear that they want to be engaged before major projects are undertaken in their areas; not after the fact. The NWMO process does exactly that – there is no specific proposal on the table yet, and the NWMO is engaging Aboriginal people years in advance to learn how APM might be implemented in a way that enhances their long-term well-being and addresses their concerns and questions.

The NWMO has been clear that if safe sites are identified in any area, the project can only move ahead in partnership – not only with the community that first asked us to consider the area, but also with First Nation and Métis communities and other municipalities in the vicinity.


Questions August 2015

What is the ideal geological setting for the storage reservoir? Lithology and mineralogy? Structural setting? Age? Has this perfect setting been previously been recognised? How was it evaluated?

The preferred site will be in a rock formation with desirable characteristics (geological, hydrogeological, chemical and mechanical) that support containment and repository performance to meet or exceed the regulatory expectations of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the guidance of the International Atomic Energy Agency and experience in other countries with nuclear waste management programs.

Six key safety-related questions will be asked of any site:

  1. Are the characteristics of the rock at the site appropriate to ensuring the long-term containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel from humans, the environment and surface disturbances caused by human activities and natural events?
  1. Is the rock formation at the site geologically stable and likely to remain stable over the very long term in a manner that will ensure the repository will not be substantially affected by geological and climate change processes such as earthquakes and glacial cycles?
  1. Are conditions at the site suitable for the safe construction, operation and closure of the repository?
  1. Is human intrusion at the site unlikely, for instance through future exploration or mining?
  1. Can the geologic conditions at the site be practically studied and described on dimensions that are important for demonstrating long-term safety?
  1. Can a transportation route be identified or developed by which used nuclear fuel can safely and securely be transported to the site from the locations at which it is stored?

Documented in Chapter 6 of the NWMO’s Process for Selecting a Site<http://www.nwmo.ca/uploads_managed/MediaFiles/1545_processforselectingasiteforcan.pdf> (2010), each of the six safety-related questions are supported by performance objectives and associated evaluation factors that establish the safety criteria to be evaluated through a series of progressively more detailed technical assessments.  An example of the safety criteria evaluation during the Phase 1 geoscientific desktop assessment can be reviewed in the report titled Phase 1 Geoscientific Desktop Preliminary Assessment of Potential Suitability for Siting a Deep Geological Repository<http://www.nwmo.ca/uploads_managed/MediaFiles/2505_apm-rep-06144-0091-noh_mainrpt.pdf>. It is posted along with other Phase 1 preliminary assessment reports completed for your area on our website: http://www.nwmo.ca/sitingprocess_phase1-blindriver

What is the proposed airborne geophysical program?  What is its purpose? Ideally, what would be the perfect results?

Airborne geophysical surveys are an early, exploratory step in a multi-year process to identify a site for a deep geological repository. The airborne surveys are meant to gather additional geological information about potential siting areas.

The surveys proposed focus on the general areas identified as being potentially suitable during the Phase 1 desktop assessment. They will help the NWMO build a more detailed understanding of bedrock geology both at the surface and deep underground in a variety of areas.

These surveys are completed from fixed wing aircraft flying at altitudes of approximately 80 to 100 m, following a flight line pattern results in a dataset with 100 m line spacing.

The surveys will provide high-resolution, magnetic and gravity response data of a consistent quality that can be used to further assess the lithological and structural characteristics of the general areas, including the variability in lineament orientations and densities, as well as the areal extent and depth of suitable host rock formations.

There is more information about airborne surveys available on our web site: www.nwmo.ca/sitingprocess_airborne-geophysical-surveys<http://www.nwmo.ca/sitingprocess_airborne-geophysical-surveys> .

Assuming preliminary success, at what scale will be the field mapping be conducted?

Detailed geological mapping (also known as detailed outcrop mapping) is one of a series of technical studies that will help to identify a safe and secure location for the repository.

Detailed geological mapping will be undertaken with the objective of producing 1: 10,000 to 1:20,000 scale maps of potential candidate areas within the larger, general areas identified in Phase 1.

The scope, locations and access for detailed outcrop mapping activities will be planned and conducted in collaboration with people in the area who have an interest in the land.

Will all results be published or be made available to the public?

Yes. All reports of completed studies are posted on NWMO website.

In case you are interested, you can find studies completed for your area in an earlier phase of the process on our web site: http://www.nwmo.ca/sitingprocess_phase1-blindriver


Questions June 2015

Does Canada have a nuclear processing facility capable of creating weapons grade nuclear material?

Provided by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. There are no facilities in Canada that enrich uranium. As such, there is no possibility of creating weapons grade nuclear material or possibility of producing any level of enriched uranium.

Does Canada currently create enriched fuel?

Provided by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Canada does not enrich uranium and never has.

However, Canada currently has facilities that are permitted to process enriched uranium using enriched uranium that has been imported. These facilities manufacture fuel for research reactors and targets that are used for the production of medical isotopes such as Molybdenum 99 that is later used to produce Technetium 99m. This material falls under international safeguard agreements and is carefully monitored by the CNSC and International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure the material is only used for peaceful purposes.


Response to question asked at the May 20, 2015 Blind River CLC Meeting by a member of the audience:

Which is more radioactive, used nuclear fuel from a Canadian reactor or from a US reactor?

On a per kilogram of used fuel basis, used fuel from a US reactor is more radioactive.

However a Canadian reactor uses natural uranium rather than enriched uranium and therefore generates more kilograms of used fuel for a given amount of power.  So on a per kilowatt of electricity basis, the total amount of radioactivity in the corresponding used fuel would be similar.

There will be some difference, but as NWMO does not operate nuclear reactors, we don’t have the detailed information to provide a more quantitative assessment of the difference.

NWMO


Questions 14042015

  1. If the used fuel is currently in an above ground storage facility with room to expand and currently safe and secure and could remain there for some time, why is it so important to create a new storage option such as a DGR?

When used nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor, it remains a potential health risk for many hundreds of thousands of years and must be safely isolated from people and the environment essentially indefinitely.

Currently, Canada’s used nuclear fuel is safely stored on an interim basis at licensed facilities located where it is produced. Like many other countries with nuclear power programs, Canada is planning for the future – beyond today’s interim storage. Ensuring the long-term, safe and secure management of used nuclear fuel is an important responsibility we as Canadians share.

Canadians said clearly during the NWMO study period that our generation, which has benefited from nuclear power, must put in place a long-term management approach for used fuel and not leave it as a legacy for future generations.  Canada’s Adaptive Phased Management (APM) plan, with the repository planned as its endpoint, was designed and recommended on that basis.

  1. With the DGR would that not decrease the amount of monitoring available? Why not make sure you can visualize the used fuel at all times?

An advantage of a deep geological repository is that it can be actively managed and monitored for as long as society wishes to do so, or it can be sealed at a future date, when the community, the NWMO, and regulators agree that it is appropriate. A deep geological repository would be passively safe and would not rely upon human institutions and active management in order to contain and isolate used fuel from people and the environment over the long term.

  1. I have heard that the nuclear fuel rods are not considered spent fuel only used how much potential fuel is left in the fuel bundle?

Nuclear fuel requires a certain amount of “reactivity” (i.e. concentration of fissile nuclides) in order to operate efficiently in the reactor core to produce energy.  The longer it stays in the core, the less efficient it becomes as the fissile material is used up.  After 12 to 24 months in the reactor core, there is not enough fissile material to power the reactor.

In theory, when used nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor there is some energy remaining. In order to extract this additional energy either advanced reactors (such as fast breeder reactors) and/or chemical reprocessing and re-enrichment is required.

There is currently no plan in Canada to reprocess used fuel for use in commercial advanced reactors, and it is not the NWMO’s intent to advocate one energy source or fuel cycle over another. In the future, if Canada chooses to reprocess, it would be a joint decision by the nuclear energy producers, the associated provincial governments and the federal government – not the NWMO. These decisions would be subject to a separate regulatory process.

A few countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, operate commercial reprocessing facilities. If you are interested, at the end of this note is a chart that shows the status of reprocessing in countries around the world, as well as their plans for managing waste.

Even for those countries that do reprocess their used nuclear fuel, a deep geological repository like the one we are pursuing in Canada is still needed for long-term management of residual high-level waste generated by reprocessing and all of these countries are currently planning a deep geological repository.

A few countries with rapidly growing energy needs and limited uranium resources, such as China, India and Russia, are pursuing the development of fast reactor technology.  While there are a few prototypes of these reactors in operation or under construction, most international experts consider this technology to be many decades away from widespread commercial implementation, for a variety of technical and economic reasons.

You might also be interested to review a backgrounder on our web site with more information about Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing: www.nwmo.ca/backgrounders.

To help anticipate any changes in fuel cycles used in Canada and the types of waste that may need to be managed as a result, the NWMO keeps a watching brief on new developments. It is updated each year and posted on our web site at: www.nwmo.ca/adaptation.

Canada’s approach is consistent with best practice around the world. There is a consensus among major nuclear regulatory and monitoring organizations that, regardless of the type of fuel cycle, repositories are the responsible way forward. Almost all countries with commercial nuclear power production are planning to isolate the waste by-product of their nuclear fuel cycle in a deep geological repository, whether this is used fuel or high level waste from reprocessing.

Summary of Current Status of Reprocessing for the Nuclear Power Fuel Cycle

Country Commercial Scale Reprocessing Facility Currently Send Used Fuel for  Reprocessing in Other Country Decided to Cease Having Used Fuel Reprocessed Planning Direct Placement of Used Fuel in a Repository
Existing Planned
Belgium ü ü
Canada ü
China(3) ü ü (4)
Czech Republic ü(7) ü
Finland ü(7) ü
France(3) ü (2)
Germany ü ü
Hungary ü(7) ü
India(3) ü
Japan ü (6) ü
Korea, Rep. of ü
Mexico ü
Netherlands Until 2015(5) ü ü
Pakistan(3)
Romania ü
Russia(3) ü
Slovakia ü(7) ü
Slovenia ü
Spain ü
Sweden ü ü
Switzerland ü ü
United Kingdom(3) ü (1) ü ü
Ukraine ü(7) ü
USA(3) ü ü
  • UK plans to cease reprocessing at end of current contracts
  • EDF recently planned to cease reprocessing their used fuel  but were required to continue for national policy reasons
  • China/France/UK/Russia/US/Pakistan/India currently reprocess for military reasons
  • China plans direct placement of their CANDU used fuel in a repository
  • Used fuel sent to France for reprocessing
  • Facility has been constructed and is undergoing test operation, but policy currently under review
  • Some used fuel was sent to former Soviet Union for reprocessing.  Practice terminated at end of USSR era.
  1. Does Canada have a nuclear processing facility capable of creating weapons grade nuclear material?

The NWMO does not operate any nuclear processing facilities. We recommend contacting the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Canada’s nuclear regulator, for information on this subject. (Also, see answer below.)

  1. Does Canada currently create enriched fuel?

A good source of information on the subject of enriched uranium fuel is the CNSC. The following is a link to a section on their website called “Highly Enriched Uranium in Canada” http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/reactors/research-reactors/nuclear-facilities/chalk-river/highly-enriched-uranium-in-canada.cfm

  1. By looking at the work force needed would increase local employment actually happen or would these jobs be outsourced?

The APM project is approximately a $20 billion national infrastructure project that will bring about significant economic benefits to the area in which it is sited including the interested community, First Nation and Métis communities in the area and to the host province.

It is a multi-generational project that will be developed and implemented in phases over a period spanning more than 150 years. The economic impact will include hundreds of direct, indirect and induced jobs involving scientists, engineers, trades people and others with transferable skills and capacities in the siting region for many decades. Construction and operation of the facility will create wealth in the form of business profits and personal income throughout the siting area amounting to many hundreds of millions of dollars.

The economic impact of the project will provide:

  • Direct impacts such as direct labour, materials and supplies to do the project work;
  • Indirect impacts from expenditures of suppliers who purchase goods and services and labour to meet their needs; and
  • Induced impacts from direct and indirect employees purchasing goods and services at the household level.

The number of jobs in the siting area will depend in part on the location of the repository and the capacity of the communities in the siting area, economic region and host province to support the project. Specific investments can be made in such areas as labour training, supporting infrastructure, business incubation, strategic hiring and procurement that can alter the amount of economic benefits captured in communities in the siting area.

  1. Has NWMO considered how to make sure that the NWMO DGR can educate the younger in town generation so that they can benefit from the jobs that may come available instead of hiring outside of the area?

Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term care of used nuclear fuel is a multi-generational project that will be implemented and generate employment over many years. It will have a significant economic impact on any area in which it is located. It is important that the project be implemented in a way that will help foster long-term well-being and sustainability. This would include employment of people in the area and helping people in the area, such as youth, develop the skills needed.

The NWMO expects it will need to work with communities in the vicinity of the preferred site to plan the implementation of the project and develop the skills and capacities it requires. This may, for example, include agreements to ensure local sourcing for jobs and services, job training to build capacity among local people to take these jobs, business incubation programs to enhance capacity of local businesses, and investments in infrastructure.

  1. Does NWMO intend to make sure that plants that create the storage containers as well as other manufacturing would be located locally to help with the economic growth?

The used fuel container and supporting components will be manufactured and assembled at a container manufacturing plant which could potentially be located in the host community or surrounding region, depending on interest.

  1. Should the area be looking at making themselves market ready for these potential manufacturing plants?

Once a preferred site is selected, the NWMO will work with the community and surrounding region to plan the implementation of the project, including the development of a container manufacturing plant.


What is your cleanup plan if one of the Great Lakes are comprised? What would be the estimated cost of this cleanup or compensation plan?

Thank you for your interest in Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, and for taking the time to share your question.By way of background, the Government of Canada selected Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel in June 2007. The approach, called Adaptive Phased Management (APM), calls for the centralized containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel in a repository deep underground in a suitable rock formation and a national centre of expertise, located in an informed and willing host community.

Your question raises several important topics: safety, liability and financial surety.

The safety of the deep geological repository and used fuel transportation system is built upon a system of natural and engineered barriers that are designed to contain and isolate used nuclear fuel from people and the environment. The robustness of the transportation casks, used fuel containers and repository sealing systems protect against any radiological release, either as a result accident or due to natural events such as earthquakes, climate change, and extreme events like glaciation.

If you are interested in reading more about the multiple barriers that will be used and the purpose each serves, we would encourage you to read the backgrounder we’ve published the topic, which is posted on our website: www.nwmo.ca/uploads_managed/MediaFiles/1588_multiplebarrier.pdf. You can also read more about the safe, secure transportation of used nuclear fuel in a brochure the NWMO has published on this topic and posted on our web site: www.nwmo.ca/uploads_managed/MediaFiles/2010_transportationbrochure-english.pdf.

Under the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA), the NWMO must estimate what costs can reasonably be expected to occur over the life of the APM plan, along with a contingency for unexpected events, and design a system that collects and protects enough money to ensure that the entire cost can be covered under a variety of social and economic circumstances, and within a required time frame.

The planning, development and implementation of the project is funded by the major owners of used nuclear fuel in Canada: Ontario Power Generation, NB Power, Hydro-Québec and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. The NFWA requires each of these four companies to establish independently managed trust funds and make annual deposits to ensure that the money to fund this project will be available when needed. The funds were established in 2002, and annual contributions have been made by each waste owner since. If the actual cost exceeds the amount of funds set aside, the used fuel owners are responsible for the additional costs.

Under the Nuclear Liability Act, the NWMO would be liable for damage or injury resulting from the unlikely event of a release of radioactivity from its facility once it is constructed and licensed to operate. The Act requires the NWMO to carry a prescribed amount of insurance to ensure that compensation is available. The federal government has announced its intention to table new legislation in the fall to increase the limits of liability.

We hope you find this information helpful.

Answer Provided by NWMO


Do you have any questions about the process for seeking and selecting a site?
Why do you even look at communities that are part of a Great Lake watershed? Is the risk worth the reward?

The process for identifying an informed and willing host community for a deep geological repository is designed to ensure, above all, that the site selected is safe and secure for people and the environment, now and in the future. The NWMO is seeking an informed and wiling community to host the project. The project will not be imposed on any community.The process is designed to hear and take into account all perspectives to ensure Canada’s used nuclear fuel will be safely managed over the long-term in a deep geological repository hosted by an informed and willing community whose well-being is enhanced by the project. Only communities that are interested in the project, and express this interest, will be considered. Currently, 15 communities are engaged in learning about Canada’s plan and the siting process. The siting process involves a number of steps. A community will proceed from one step to the next only if it chooses to do so and if the work to assess the suitability of the site supports it.

For more information about the site selection process, visit www.nwmo.ca/sitingprocess.

The NWMO will be required to demonstrate the safety of the repository and its components to the satisfaction of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in order to receive a licence to construct the facility.

As outlined in the siting process described on the NWMO’s website at http://www.nwmo.ca/sitingprocess_overview, six key safety-related questions about any proposed site must be addressed through the development of a robust safety case:

  1. Are the characteristics of the rock at the site appropriate to ensuring the long-term containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel from humans, the environment and surface disturbances caused by human activities and natural events?
  2. Is the rock formation at the site geologically stable and likely to remain stable over the very long term in a manner that will ensure the repository will not be substantially affected by geological and climate change processes such as earthquakes and glacial cycles?
  3. Are conditions at the site suitable for the safe construction, operation and closure of the repository?
  4. Is human intrusion at the site unlikely, for instance through future exploration or mining?
  5. Can the geologic conditions at the site be practically studied and described on dimensions that are important for demonstrating long-term safety?
  6. Can a transportation route be identified or developed by which used nuclear fuel can safely and securely be transported to the site from the locations at which it is stored?

Following placement of used fuel containers in the repository, the facility will continue to be monitored for an extended period of time. The NWMO will work with the community and others to monitor and study the long-term safety and performance of the repository system.

It may also be helpful to know that the long-term containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel from people and the environment relies on a multi-barrier system; the geosphere is one of these five barriers. This natural barrier of rock will protect the repository from disruptive natural events and human intrusion, and will limit movement of any radionuclides.

Another barrier is the fuel pellets themselves. These are not liquid, rather they are made from uranium dioxide powder, baked in a furnace to produce a hard, high-density ceramic. Ceramics are extremely durable; they do not readily dissolve in water, and their resistance to wear and high temperatures make them one of the most durable engineered materials.
You can read more about these and other barriers and the purpose each serves in a backgrounder on the topic, which is posted on our website: http://www.nwmo.ca/uploads_managed/MediaFiles/1588_multiplebarrier.pdf

Answer Provided by NWMO


I would like to know who is funding this.

Thank you for your interest in Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

As you may be aware, the Government of Canada selected Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel in June 2007. The approach, called Adaptive Phased Management (APM), calls for the construction of a deep geological repository to safely and securely contain and isolate Canada’s used nuclear fuel, and includes a Centre of Expertise for technical, environmental and community studies.

The planning, development and implementation of the project is funded by the major owners of used nuclear fuel in Canada: Ontario Power Generation, NB Power, Hydro-Québec and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) requires each of these four companies to establish independently managed trust funds and make annual deposits to ensure that the money to fund this project will be available when needed. The funds were established in 2002, and annual contributions have been made by each waste owner since.

We encourage you to read more about this topic in our 2013 backgrounder Financial Surety and Updated Lifecycle Cost Estimate for Adaptive Phased Management, which can be found on our web site at http://www.nwmo.ca/backgrounders.

We trust you find this information helpful.

Sincerely,

Answer Provided by NWMO


I would like to suggest adding a distribution list via email for: dates of meetings, pertinent information and minutes.Thank you for the mailbox notice.

I would like to Thank-you for your recent suggestion, the committee will do its best to provide a formal response to your question in a timely fashion.

I would like to remind you that the Blind River Community Liaison Committee does have a meeting tonight at 7:00pm, upstairs at the Community Centre and all of the meetings are open to the public. Tonight’s meeting will have a presentation on transportation of spent nuclear fuel rods.

As well all of the minutes of previous meetings are placed on the Website http://clcinfo.ca/blindriver

Sincerely,

Tammy Olsen

Thank you Tammy. No need to respond formally. I will monitor the website

I also would like to let you know that the Blind River Community Liaison Committee and representatives from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization will be here at the NWMO Learn More Office 3-101 Woodward Ave., this Friday from 10am until 10 pm they are participating in moonlight madness.

Sincerely,

Tammy Olsen


Why not use the old mines in Elliot Lake?

The safety and appropriateness of any potential site is assessed against a number of factors. One of the criteria a potential site has to meet is that available land must not contain economically exploitable natural resources as known today, so that the repository site is unlikely to be disturbed by future generations. In that context, abandoned mines are likely to contain residual resources that could become economically exploitable in the future. Also, the presence of natural resources is often associated with geologies that are not favourable for the long-term containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel, such as the presence of fractures.


Will this project decrease the value of homes?

The studies that will be conducted as part of the site selection process are designed to explore, in detail, the likely affect of the implementation of the project on the individual community and specific region on a wide variety of factors, including property values. These studies will be conducted with the involvement of the community. The findings from these and other studies will be available to communities and are expected to be an important input to a community’s decision on whether it wishes to host the project. Based on experience of other communities in proximity to nuclear facilities, there appears to be potential for the project to both increase housing values and increase the value of commercial real estate in the area. The studies that will be conducted will explore this potential specific to this area. In order to address the concerns that some people may have, the project is expected to include a Property Value Protection Program (PVP) designed to provide assurance to property owners that, if activities arising from the project affect the value of their land, home or business property, compensation would be available.


Will temporary camp housing be set up for construction workers?

The construction phase of work requires a substantially larger number of workers than the operations phase for the project. The NWMO will work with the community to support the development of infrastructure required for long-term growth in the community brought about by the project and will also work with the community and surrounding area to support training of local workers to participate.

However, in order to accommodate the higher labour demands during the construction phase of work, the project may require temporary workers which the community may not wish to, or be able to, accommodate within the community. The NWMO may develop a modern camp to accommodate these temporary workers. The camp would be developed and located in consultation with the local community and may accommodate up to 600 personnel, depending on the availability of local workers to support the project. As a modern camp, it would include temporary infrastructure for housing, electrical supply, water, sewage and waste management required to meet provincial standards. It would also include food and recreational facilities for the workers. Although the camp would be designed to operate independently from the community, the NWMO would work with the community to identify and develop opportunities for nearby businesses and sourcing of services to support the operation of the camp, as desired by the community.


Will the DGR be self sustained with regards to electricity, water, sewer, or will it draw upon the community resources?

It is important to recognize that any design at this early stage is conceptual, and many details will depend on the characteristics of the site selected. Currently, the NWMO is assuming that power, water and sewage treatment will be established specifically for the project. The resources required for this project, specifically power, may exceed the existing capacity of most communities. And depending on the location of the site that is ultimately selected, it may not be practical to tie into community systems.


Has Canada ever accepted nuclear waste from other countries? Is the nuclear waste proposed to be put into the Deep Ground Repository all from Canada? And what type of waste is being deposited? Would this Deep Ground Repository ever accept different forms of nuclear waste either from Canada or other countries? What ensures that this would or would not happen?

In developing Canada’s plan during the study period (2002-to 2005), Canadians, including Aboriginal people, were clear that Canada should not import or export used nuclear fuel, and that the plan applies only to used nuclear fuel. The Adaptive Phased Management (APM) approach was designed, recommended and selected by the Government of Canada through a federal cabinet decision on this basis.

No used nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste from outside Canada will be placed in the APM facility. The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act passed by Parliament in 2002 imposes a duty on the NWMO to implement a safe and secure approach for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel that is produced in Canada. You can find out more about Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term care of used nuclear fuel at www.nwmo.ca<http://www.nwmo.ca>.


These questions are related to low and intermediate waste. In Canada, low and intermediate level wastes are the responsibility of individual waste owners and are managed at the nuclear power plants where they are produced. We’ve taken the liberty of passing on your questions to OPG. They provided the following responses.

Do the reactors in Canada use heavy water?

All of the CANDU reactors in Canada use heavy water as a moderator in the reactors.

Does the water that the fuel rods bath in become radioactive?

The demineralised water in the Irradiated Fuel Bay (IFB) goes through heat exchangers, filters and ion exchange columns to remove any radioactive particulates. The water in the IFB does not become radioactive due to this process. That said there is a small percentage of tritiated water in the IFB.