Recent Developments in Nuclear Waste Management in Canada Page: 3 of 5
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WM '02 Conference, February 24-28, 2002, Tucson, AZ
of eight members, was chaired by Blair Seaborn, and was supported by a fifteen-member
Scientific Review Group.
AECL's development activities included the construction of an underground research laboratory
near its Whiteshell Laboratories site in the province of Manitoba, and the broad-based
development of disposal technology. In 1994 AECL submitted a comprehensive Environmental
Impact Statement (2) based on the concept of placing nuclear fuel waste in corrosion-resistant
containers at a depth of between 500 - 1000 metres in plutonic rock of the Canadian Shield.
The EA Panel submitted its report (3) to the federal government in March 1998 following a 4-
year review period which included public hearings in five provinces.
The Panel's key conclusions were:
" Broad public support is necessary in Canada to ensure the acceptability of a concept for
managing nuclear fuel wastes;
" Safety is a key part, but only one part, of acceptability. Safety must be viewed from two
complementary perspectives: technical and social;
" From a technical perspective, safety of the AECL concept has been on balance adequately
demonstrated for a conceptual stage of development, but from a social perspective, it has not;
" As it stands, the AECL concept for deep geological disposal has not been demonstrated to
have broad public support. The concept in its current form does not have the required level
of acceptability to be adopted as Canada's approach for managing nuclear fuel wastes.
The panel's key recommendations were:
" A policy statement on managing nuclear fuel wastes should be issued;
" An aboriginal participation process should be initiated;
" A nuclear fuel waste management agency should be created;
" A public review of AECB regulatory documents using a more effective consultation process
should be conducted;
" A comprehensive public participation plan should be developed;
" An ethical and social assessment framework should be developed; and
" Options for managing nuclear fuel wastes should be developed and compared.
In December 1998 the federal government issued a formal response (4) to the EA Panel report
and later tabled corresponding legislation, which is discussed in the next section.
THE NUCLEAR FUEL WASTE ACT
The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act was introduced into the House of Commons in April 2001 and as of
the time of writing this paper (January 15, 2001) is in Third Reading. Only minor amendments
were made by the Government as a result of Parliamentary Committee review, which included
representations from the utilities, non-governmental organizations, and the public.
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King, F. Recent Developments in Nuclear Waste Management in Canada, article, February 27, 2002; Tucson, Arizona. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc787033/m1/3/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.