Ontario Construction News staff writer
Ontario’s minister of energy kicked off 2023 with a visit to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) discovery and demonstration centre in Oakville.
The visit was an opportunity to hear ore about the significant momentum the NWMO experienced in 2022 towards implementing Canada’s plan for used nuclear fuel and the key role the project plays in driving the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Having been invited to tour Finland’s deep geological repository site last year, it is exciting to get a firsthand look at the progress towards Canada’s deep geological repository, which is critical to Ontario’s clean energy future,” said Minister Tod Smith.
“As site selection continues, I look forward to the NWMO continuing to engage directly with potential host communities.”
The visit follows a year of significant advancement as the NWMO moves toward implementing the next steps of Canada’s plan.
“Over the last year we have achieved significant safety and technical milestones that will serve as the foundation for future success,” said Laurie Swami, president and CEO of the NWMO. “We’re excited to build on this momentum and look to the future.
“Once construction on the repository starts, we will invest $4.5 billion over a 10-year period, creating and sustaining thousands of high-value jobs, including skilled trades, and long-term economic investment up to 175 years.”
Recent accomplishments include the recommendation by the standing committee on the environment and sustainable development to prioritize building a deep geological repository and acknowledgement it is the safest way to store high level radioactive waste.
In its formal response to the committee, the federal government reaffirmed support for the deep geological repository and the NWMO’s planning and engagement programs.
In addition, the NWMO released Confidence in Safety reports and completed a full-scale demonstration of the engineered barriers that will safely contain and isolate Canada’s used nuclear fuel, marking a major safety and technical advancement.
This year the NWMO plans to work with the two areas remaining in the site selection process to outline draft hosting agreements which address local priorities in the lead up to site selection. It will also continue its safety, technical and environmental activities.
NWMO is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 and tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, “in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.”