Commitment to transparency
This annual implementation plan is one way we demonstrate that commitment. This plan is a living document that evolves and grows over time. Each year, we update our plan to reflect progress in our work, input from communities and the public, advances in science and technology, insight from Indigenous Knowledge, evolving societal values and changes in public policy.
We are resilient and focused. We anticipate the ups and downs that accompany advancing Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, while protecting people and the environment. Canada’s plan is designed to be adaptive. In 2022, we adapted.
Once again this year, we took cues from our employees and the communities we work with. Our collaborative work took place virtually and in person. We conducted a range of activities online, from environmental workshops and transportation engagement sessions in potential siting areas, to knowledge-exchange meetings with international counterparts. The lessons we learned will help guide our implementation plan should we face similar challenges in the future.
Our face-to-face time engagement with the communities with which we work continued to be affected in 2022 by provincial lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have always anticipated the need to adapt over the course of the process, while keeping an eye on the long view. In reviewing progress against last year’s version of this annual implementation plan, it became clear we needed to adjust the timing for selecting a preferred site for the deep geological repository. As we announced in August 2022, we now expect to identify a preferred site by fall 2024. This adjustment in timing is not expected to impact the long-term timelines for construction or the start of operations in the early 2040s.
Efforts in the potential siting area communities continue, ensuring Canada’s plan respects the unique character of the future repository site. As we have always maintained, the project will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it.
We also published the Confidence in Safety reports for each potential site, reflecting years of research and fieldwork. These reports summarize why we are confident that a deep geological repository can be safely constructed and operated at either siting area.
The NWMO successfully completed a full-scale demonstration of the engineered barriers that will safely contain and isolate Canada’s used nuclear fuel in the repository. We also released our revised transportation planning framework and Preliminary transportation plan that are designed to advance conversations and provide more details on how we plan to safely transport used nuclear fuel.
The momentum at the NWMO is palpable and will undoubtedly continue into the next phase of implementing Canada’s plan.
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Vice-President of Communications, NWMO
RE: Implementation Plan 2023-27
22 St. Clair Avenue East, Fourth Floor
Toronto, ON M4T 2S3