|Nuclear power production
began in the 1970's, before the
government or the nuclear industry had any
safe means of storing or disposing of the
highly radioactive wastes.
In 1977 a
three-month three-man federal "commission"
recommended burying nuclear waste in the
Canadian Shield of northern Ontario
In 1988 the federal
government referred the "concept" of burying
nuclear waste to a ten person environmental
In 1998 the
environmental assessment panel concluded that
burying nuclear waste was not acceptable to
the Canadian public, and recommended that an
independent agency be established to do future
research into the long term management of
nuclear fuel waste
In 2002 the
federal government passed the Nuclear Fuel
Waste Act which put the nuclear industry in
charge of researching nuclear waste
management. The Nuclear Waste Management
Organization was created by Ontario Power
Generation, Hydro Quebec and New Brunswick
step is a nuclear phaseout.
Nuclear Waste Management Organization says
that energy policy is beyond their mandate,
but the problem of nuclear waste is
unsolvable as long as the waste continues to
be produced. At the end of 2004, there were
1.9 million fuel bundles or 45,000 metric
tonnes of nuclear fuel waste. By 2009 there were over
2 million bundles. Without
an early phaseout, that amount will double.
If new reactors are ever built, the volume
will rise even higher.
alternative energy sources can and must
replace nuclear power.
alternative energy sources are cheaper,
cleaner and more reliable.
In 2007 the federal government
"selected" the Nuclear Waste Management
Organization's proposal to bury nuclear
waste, calling it "vital
to the future of nuclear energy in
Canada". The announcement was almost
simultaneous with the NWMO's launching of
what would be a two
year exercise to design a site
selection process. The ten year site
selection process was officially
launched in May 2010.
September 2012 the NWMO "suspended"
the call for expressions of interest from
communities willing to be studied as
possible nuclear waste burial sites. By November
communities were being studied.
November 2013 the Nuclear Waste
Management Organization (NWMO)
announced the completion of the first
phase of preliminary assessment
(Step 3, Phase I) for eight of the 21
communities being studied as possible
nuclear waste burial sites. Creighton
in Saskatchewan, and Ignace,
Hornepayne and Schreiber in Ontario
have been identified for "further
study". English River, Pinehouse, Ear
Falls and Wawa were dropped from the
NWMO list. In mid-January Saugeen
Shores and Aaran Ederslie, both in
Bruce County, were dropped while still
mid-point through Phase I of Step 3.
Fifteen communities remain on the NWMO
list of candidate sites.
|In November 2005 the Nuclear Waste
Management Organization recommended something
it called "Adaptive Phased Management" for the
future management of nuclear waste, saying it
combined all three of the federal government's
"options" in a 300-year phased approach moving
from storage at nuclear plants, to centralized
storage, and finally to deep rock disposal.
In the first phase of the NWMO plan, the waste
will remain at nuclear plants for 30 years
while a centralized site is selected. In
the second 30-year phase of the NWMO plan,an
underground repository will be constructed.
During construction, the wastes will either
remain at the nuclear plants pending
completion of a site research and construction
of a deep geological repository at the site,
or the waste will be moved while research is
still underway, and placed in storage -
possibly in a shallow burial site - at the
After the repository is constructed, the
wastes will be placed deep below the surface
in a series of underground caverns.
The repository may or may not be closed after
the following 240 years.