Implementing Adaptive Phased Management 2024-28

Sound governance and accountability

The NWMO maintains an accountable governance structure intended to provide confidence to the Canadian public in the conduct of our work. Our governance structure comprises the member organizations, Board of Directors and Advisory Council. The NWMO is subject to the requirements of the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) and oversight by the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.


Ontario Power Generation, New Brunswick Power Corporation and Hydro-Québec are the founding members of the NWMO. The Membership Agreement and bylaws set out member roles and responsibilities in supporting the objectives of the NFWA and the NWMO’s implementation mandate. The NWMO regularly briefs our member organizations.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for oversight and taking a leadership role in developing the corporation’s strategic direction. The member organizations elect the Board of Directors. There are currently nine directors on the Board, representing a range of perspectives from both within and outside the nuclear industry, including capabilities in Indigenous culture and financial management.

Advisory Council

The NFWA requires that the Board of Directors appoint an Advisory Council to review and comment on the NWMO’s work. The council meets regularly with the NWMO’s senior management, closely following the organization’s plans and activities, and providing ongoing counsel and advice.

Advisory Council members represent a broad range of expertise, including engineering, community engagement, public affairs, environment, law, sustainable development, Indigenous relations, Indigenous Knowledge and community-based research. Members of the council are knowledgeable in a range of topics, including nuclear waste management issues, and experienced in working with citizens and communities on a range of public policy issues.

Council of Elders and Youth

The Council of Elders and Youth is an independent advisory body made up of First Nation and Métis Elders and youth. It meets regularly throughout the year and provides counsel to the NWMO on how to align with Indigenous Knowledge in implementing the Adaptive Phased Management project. Additionally, the council provides advice on issues that could enhance the development and maintenance of good relations with First Nation and Métis communities and organizations.

Integrated management system

The NWMO uses an integrated management system for activities supporting the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The NWMO maintains our management system to be compliant with Canadian and international standards for quality, environment, and health and safety.

The NWMO management system also satisfies the CSA N286-12, Management System Requirements for Nuclear Facilities, which includes nuclear waste facilities and builds on international standards.

The NWMO’s integrated management system ensures the organization has a strong foundation for implementing our mission and values. The focus on protecting people and the environment for generations to come fully aligns with the CSA N286-12 management principle that safety is the paramount consideration guiding our decisions and actions.

Independent reviews

Consistent with recommendations from our Advisory Council, the NWMO will continue to seek external expert review of and comment on our technical program. As the program continues to move from research into design, fabrication and demonstration, the reviews are increasingly focused on specific design aspects and features. These reviews ensure the science is sound, contribute to the design and overall program quality, and help enhance public confidence in the NWMO’s implementation plan and decision-making.

A number of external committees have been established to review the NWMO’s work:

  • Municipal Forum;
  • Geoscientific Review Group;
  • Environmental Review Group; and
  • Site Selection Review Group.

As we move beyond our site selection milestone, we will review the role of these groups. In addition to these formal peer-review groups, the NWMO has also created advisory groups and community forums on an as-needed basis to receive external input, guidance and expertise for the project. Peer review is also often incorporated directly in third-party technical work scopes and managed as part of the contracted work. Independent review is further achieved by regularly publishing technical research and results in scientific journals and at conferences.


The NWMO maintains high standards for reporting to demonstrate safety, integrity, excellence, collaboration, accountability and transparency in the implementation of the project. We report regularly on our progress, especially in response to the advice of Canadians and Indigenous peoples, and the evolving environment.

The NFWA requires us to issue annual and triennial reports. In each case, reports must be submitted to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and to the public at the same time. The minister tables each report in Parliament and issues a statement on it.


The NWMO is committed to being open and transparent in our processes, communications and decision-making, so that the approach we are implementing is clear to Canadians and Indigenous peoples. To demonstrate this commitment, we maintain a Transparency Policy (2020).

Sharing information and encouraging an exchange of perspectives are fundamental to our mandate, and we strive to ensure our practices are aligned with the spirit of the NWMO Reconciliation Policy (2019), as well as all relevant freedom of information, access to information and privacy legislation.