News & Noteworthy

A special section to keep you up to date on events, research, and stories relevant to the NWMO’s proposal to site the Deep Geological Repository in South Bruce. It will be updated regularly. Sign up for updates here.
  • Sweden taking more time to determine safety of copper canisters proposed to store nuclear waste

    Sweden, the country that designed the original nuclear waste container concept, has delayed their decision on approving the DGR concept as the Sweden government request more research and examination of the copper cannisters proposed to encapsule and seal the nuclear waste at the site. The issue of corrosion discovered in test canisters was identified by Sweden’s Land and Environmental Court in January 2018.

    Copper’s corrosion rate was earlier underestimated. (Credit:

    Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG) stated:

    “the copper corrosion results from the 20-year experimental packages if they are reported in a fully scientific way can show that copper does not behave in the repository environment in the way SKB describes in the safety analysis of the application. The organisations understand that it cannot be ruled out that for this reason SKB took as long as possible to retrieve the LOT experimental packages, then did so in the secretly and after this was discovered, initially claimed that the results would not be presented until after a licence for the application had been given.”

    According to the Norwegian journal Bellona When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland -

    “SKB’s research was found to be incomplete and, in certain cases, inaccurate. It turned out, for instance, that there is significant disagreement over the estimated corrosion rate of the copper canisters – which are considered the main engineered barrier to prevent the escape of long-lived radionuclides into the surrounding environment. SKB asserts the canisters will remain intact for the next 100,000 years, while independent university research shows that copper’s corrosion rate in an oxygen-free environment but in the presence of salty seawater is considerably higher than expected and that the canisters may start to decay within the first thousand years.”

    Click here to view an update from the Swedish government from the end of August.

  • NWMO funds copper corrosion research at Western University

    The actions of NWMO prove that “DGR is safe” is a hope and not a fact.  More testing required – so why push to develop site until technology is proven safe?

    Posted at

    A corrosion scientist newly appointed to Western will add research heft and innovation in the international quest to safeguard used nuclear fuel. Samantha Gateman, an award-winning electrochemist, is the new chair in radiation-induced chemistry at Western. Gateman’s research will be funded through a new $1.1-million grant from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

    Gateman’s arrival will bolster the university’s already-strong team of chemistry, physics and engineering researchers who are acknowledged leaders in testing nuclear-waste storage solutions. Currently at Sorbonne Université in France, Gateman will begin her work at Western in January 2022.

    The NWMO is responsible for implementing Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The organization’s plan for Canada’s three million used fuel bundles includes containing and isolating them in copper-coated steel containers and then placing the containers in dense bentonite clay within a deep geological repository. But the NWMO first needs rigorous testing of every element of its nuclear storage strategy.

    Laurie Swami, CEO of the NWMO

    In that research, Western is the NWMO’s longest-running university partner, said Laurie Swami, president and CEO of the NWMO. The organization has invested millions into Western’s anti-corrosion research and other projects in chemistry, engineering, physics and earth sciences over the past two decades.


    “It’s important to have a robust understanding of the underground conditions, including corrosion conditions, that would exist in a deep geological repository,” Swami said. “That requires really qualified researchers as well as strong programs … Western is one of the ones we’ve worked with the most.”

  • NWMO's play book to achieve "Informed Consent from the residents of South Bruce

    Systematic Development of Informed Consent

    Is fundamentally different from what most public agencies do, and so are the results. Most citizen participation efforts do not have real constructive results.

    Watch SDIC Preview

    Too often, in spite of good intentions and lots of work:

    • Public meetings turn into grand-standing sessions that leave citizens and public officials frustrated.
    • Advisory Committee efforts, more often than not, eventually wind up with everybody being angry with everyone else. (Who needs that?!) Based on 40+ years of research that had its origin at MIT in the late 1960s, SDIC is a practical strategy for you to communicate with your various potentially affected interests.


    SDIC is not citizen participation as usual!

    SDIC is based on 40+ years of research that had its origin at MIT in the late 1960s. We have trained officials with difficult and inherently controversial missions at all levels of government in disciplines as diverse as environmental regulation, public works, law enforcement, emergency management, education, transportation, resource management, hazardous waste, wildlife management. . . and more.


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  • Unlike Sweden, Finland failed to be transparent on nuclear waste burial

    By: Christina Macpherson from nuclear-news

    The foremost reason is that as the project was being discussed with the public, SKB’s research was found to be incomplete and, in certain cases, inaccurate.

    When, in 2011, Sweden’s SKB first applied for a license to build the Forsmark repository, the KBS-3 project documentation was published, which made it possible to give the project a review that would be independent from the nuclear industry’s own evaluation.

    In February 2016, a special expert group appointed by the government, called the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste (Kärnavfallsrådet), published a 167-page report entitled “Nuclear Waste State-of-the-Art Report 2016: Risks, uncertainties and future challenges.” Among other things, it identifies the repository project’s risks and uncertainties having to do with earthquake impacts, with the long-term prospects of financing and monitoring the site’s condition, and with the health effects of low doses of radiation.

    Finland has no such expert body. The concept of the repository, under construction in Euroajoki municipality, is criticized by many Finnish scientists, but the government is not taking notice and is likewise ignoring the scientific objections coming from its neighbor Sweden.

    When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland  – How did it happen that in Sweden, the country that developed the technology for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste, construction of a such a repository – a first of its kind in the world – has been suspended for recognized risks and uncertainties, whereas Finland, which has copied the Swedish approach, is moving full speed ahead with building one? Bellona has looked for the answer on a fact-finding visit of the two countries. Bellona  August 9, 2016 by Andrei Ozharovsky, translated by Maria Kaminskaya 

    “……..Out of sight, out of mind?

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