TORONTO – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization has issued a draft of their Integrated Strategy for Radioactive Waste for public comment.
"The NWMO is pleased to share the Draft Integrated Strategy for Radioactive Waste for Public Comment,” said Karine Glenn, strategic project director, NWMO. “We thank all those who shared with us their experience and advice through surveys and more than 70 engagement sessions we hosted since March 2021. We encourage Canadians, Indigenous peoples and interested parties to provide feedback and comments on the recommendations before they are finalized for submission to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada."
In 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources commissioned NWMO to do a comprehensive study on an integrated long-term strategy for the safe storage of Canada’s nuclear waste.
The ISRW report is intended to identify gaps in Canada’s current radioactive waste management and plan for the future of the long-term storage of Canada’s nuclear waste.
Highlights from NWMO’s ISRW include:
- Taking stock and describing the current waste management situation in Canada in terms of current and future volumes, characteristics, locations, and ownership of the waste;
- Updating on current plans and progress in advancing long-term management and disposal solutions for Canada’s wastes as well as identifying the gaps that must be addressed;
- Providing conceptual approaches for dealing with those wastes for which no long-term plan exists, including technical options for long-term management or disposal, and options for the number of long-term waste management facilities in Canada; and
- Making recommendations about the staging, integration, establishment, and operation of long-term waste management facilities.
The report has been issued to the public as a draft to gather additional public input and feedback on the recommendation of NWMO’s findings through the two-year study.
The comment period of the study will be 60-day from its release and will conclude on Oct. 24 of this year.
"The recommendations consider the inputs obtained from international benchmarking, technical and cost estimate assessments, and public and Indigenous engagements and address the existing gaps in Canada's long-term management of radioactive waste. These recommendations when taken along with the existing and proposed disposal projects form a complete strategy to address all existing and future waste in Canada,” Laurie Swami, CEO, NWMO.
In the draft report, it is stated that “[t]he final report will only be submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada following the publication of the revised Policy for Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning, which at the time of writing is expected in the last quarter of 2022, to ensure the final recommendations align with and support the policy.”
The report also highlights the six different options under consideration for nuclear waste storage, which are an Engineering Containment Mound, Concreate Vault, Shallow Rock Cavern, Deep Geological Repository, Deep Borehole, and Rolling Stewardship.
However, after these options were assessed, the “Deep Geological Repository emerged as the most suitable option for all intermediate-level waste,” as stated in the report. The other five options were also considered to be viable, but only for low-level waste.
“The Concrete Vault and Shallow Rock Cavern were considered the most suitable options for non-bulk low-level waste, given the increased containment and structural integrity offered (concrete barrier or rock mass) compared to the Engineered Containment Mound,” the report states.
Read the Integrated Strategy for Radioactive Waste draft here.