Integrated Strategy for Canada’s Radioactive Waste

On October 5, 2023 the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, endorsed the recommendations put forward by the NWMO in the Integrated Strategy for Radioactive Waste.

The first of its kind for Canada, the Integrated Strategy for Radioactive Waste is informed by more than two years of engagement with Canadians, Indigenous peoples and waste generators and owners, as well as detailed studies of both technical considerations and international best practices.

In 2020, as part of the Government of Canada’s Radioactive Waste Policy review, the NWMO was asked by Natural Resources Canada to lend technical and public engagement expertise to the development of an Integrated Strategy for Radioactive Waste.  

Canada is safely managing its radioactive waste today. While the majority of radioactive waste has long-term disposal plans, there are gaps — particularly with regard to some low-, intermediate- and non-fuel high-level wastes. The strategy addresses these gaps and does not duplicate or replace long-term disposal plans already in place and progressing.

Next steps  

Low-level waste will be disposed of in multiple near-surface disposal facilities. Implementation of this recommendation will be managed directly by waste generators and waste owners.

Intermediate-level and non-fuel, high-level waste will be disposed of in a deep geological repository, whose site will be chosen through a consent-based siting process and which will be implemented by the NWMO. The planning process for this new work is now underway.  

Implementing principles 

The strategy includes four principles to support the effective implementation of its recommendations. These principles are based on what Canadians and Indigenous peoples shared was most important to them through the NWMO’s engagement efforts.

  1. The consent of the local communities and Indigenous peoples in whose territory future facilities will be planned must be obtained through the siting process.
  2. The design of facilities should prioritize the protection of water.
  3. Long-term caretaking should be established for disposal facilities.
  4. We need to take action now and not defer to future generations.

Implementing Principles graphic

Thanks to all who have contributed to the development of this Strategy.

Read the MInister's Statement

Read the Integrated Strategy for Radioactive Waste

Visit the Integrated Strategy on Radioactive Waste (ISRW) Reports Page 

Learn more about the NWMO's responsibiity for intermediate-level and high-level waste

Current and Past Participation Opportunities

Indigenous Relations

We are committed to long-lasting relationships with Indigenous peoples built upon communication, transparency, respect and reconciliation. We will engage with Indigenous peoples on the Integrated Strategy on Radioactive Waste (ISRW), and ensure all participants are provided the opportunity to provide input and advice.

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Frequently asked questions and answers