RC106 MayJune2023 - Magazine - Page 12
Canada’s plan for the
management of nuclear
waste includes a deep
by John Tenpenny
S THE WORLD searches for ways to increase the
amount of clean electricity produced, many countries, including Canada are looking to nuclear
energy as a possible solution.
According to a 2018 report from the United
Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC), to keep global temperatures from rising
more than 1.5°C by 2050 will require a nearly 700 gigawatt
increase in global nuclear electricity generation and that
comes with a corresponding increase in the amount of
used nuclear fuel that must be safely stored.
This is where the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) comes in.
Since its establishment in 2002, by the Government of
Canada, the NWMO has been charged with implementing
a plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear
fuel that involves building a deep geological repository
(DGR) more than 500 metres underground and surrounded by a natural shield of solid rock.
“This design ensures that the used nuclear fuel will
remain contained and isolated for a very long time,” says
Russell Baker, NWMO’s manager of public and media relations, who recently gave ReNew Canada and other media
representatives a tour of its Discovery and Demonstration
Centre in Oakville, Ont.
The NWMO is an independent, non-profit organization
that is funded by the waste owners in Canada: Ontario
Power Generation, New Brunswick Power, Hydro-Québec
and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
In 2007 an Adaptive Phased Management plan was adopted that involves both technical methods and management approaches. The technical method involves building
the deep geological repository, while the management
approach involves phased and adaptive decision-making,
supported by public engagement and continuous learning.
In 2010, the NWMO launched the process for selecting
a site for the repository, and 22 communities expressed interest in learning about the project and exploring their potential to host it. Following years of intensive technical assessment and community engagement, two potential sites
remain in the process: one in the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway
John Tenpenny is the
editor of ReNew Canada.
RENEW CANADA – MAY/JUNE 2023
TVO / TAPANI KARJANLAHTI
The Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility
under-construction in Olkiluoto, Finland—
scheduled to commence operations in
2025—will be the world’s first permanent
geological repository for spent nuclear fuel
and high-level radioactive waste.