Know Nuclear Waste

A Public Interest Information Project


March 9, 2015
Nuclear Waste: Digging Deeper
Penokean Hills Field Naturalists, Elliot Lake
Details and Location TBA


Inside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial site - The Globe and Mail Report on Business, February 27, 2015

January 22, 2015 - The Nuclear Waste Management Organization released the "preliminary assessment" done as Phase I of Step 3 of their nine step siting process being undertaken to attempt to secure a burial location for all of Canada's high level nuclear fuel waste. The Townships of the North Shore and Spanish on the north shore of Lake Huron will not be moving on to the next phase; Elliot Lake, Blind River, White River and Manitouwadge will move on to the next stage of investigation by the NWMO. 


January, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository say it could be more than three years before all operations resume at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico.The repository has been closed since February 2014, when a canister of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory leaked in one of its underground storage rooms. Twenty-two workers were contaminated.

December 3, 2014 - Brockton is no longer "in the running" as a potential burial site for high level nuclear waste.The Nuclear Waste Management Organization dropped the municipality following a municipal election where the only councillor to be re-elected was the sole opponent of nuclear waste burial on the previous council.

Welcome to our information web site about nuclear waste.

This site has been created to provide ordinary people with information about an extra-ordinary challenge: the long term management of the highly radioactive waste that is created as a byproduct of using nuclear power to generate electricity.

In Canada - as in several other countries that use nuclear power - the nuclear industry is committed to the idea of burying the nuclear fuel waste in a rock formation in a yet-to-be-identified location. In 2002 the federal government gave the nuclear industry permission to begin a search for a suitable site and a willing community, and in May 2010 the Nuclear Waste Management Organization formally launched their search for just such a community.

There are now 11 communities being studied as potential burial sites for all of Canada's high level nuclear fuel waste. As of August 2012, twenty-one communities were allowing themselves to be studied as possible end points for all of Canada's high level nuclear waste: three in northern Saskatchewan, twelve in northern Ontario, and six in southwesternOntario. In November 2013 the NWMO dropped two from northern Saskatchewan and two from northern Ontario. In January 2014, two communities in Bruce County were dropped, and in June 2014 the town of Nipigon withdrew. The NWMO dropped Brockon in December 2014, and Spanish and the Township of the North Shore in January 2015. 

What is nuclear waste?
Nuclear wastes are the radioactive by-products of developing and using nuclear technologies, including nuclear power reactors and nuclear weapons. Nuclear fuel waste is also called "high level" waste, and is the most radioactive of the waste products generated by nuclear power production.
What is the nuclear industry looking for? 
The nuclear industry - under the banner of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization - is looking for a community willing to become the "host" to all of Canada's nuclear fuel waste - approximately 50,000 tonnes to date. The NWMO plan is to place the waste deep underground. It includes the option of centralizing the waste in temporary storage at the site selected for a geological repository while research is still underway and prior to the site having been fully investigated.
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