3rd Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration - 2016 Sept. 11-14

Presented at:
3rd Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration
2016 Sept. 11-14
Ottawa, Canada
Session Title:
Session M4: Government Policies, Programs & Oversight

K. Hollington (Natural Resources Canada)
D. McCauley (Natural Resources Canada)


Canada’s Nuclear Fuel Waste Act sets out the conditions by which a national approach for the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste would be developed, approved and then subsequently implemented. While the Act is not overly prescriptive in nature, it does set out clear the obligations and responsibilities of the Government of Canada, the nuclear energy corporations (i.e., Ontario Power Generation, New Brunswick Power, Hydro-Québec), Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

While neither the Act nor government prescribed to the NWMO how to implement the Adaptive Phased Management approach, the federal government is required to provide federal policy oversight on the NWMO to ensure that it adheres to the Act as it implements Canada’s plan. In its news release of 2007, the Government indicated that it would continue to provide ongoing oversight to ensure the public interest is protected and the requirements of the Act are fulfilled, as the NWMO moves ahead with implementation.

While the term, federal policy oversight, is not widely used or generally well-understood by civil society, it is commonly cited by government officials and appears in many government publications. In plain language and in the context of the Act, it could be best described as staying informed, being mindful, and maintaining a watchful eye on the NWMO’s activities to ensure that it complies with the terms of the Act as it implements the APM approach. That important work falls under the purview of the Minister of Natural Resources, with the full support of staff within the Department of Natural Resources.

This paper will describe what federal oversight means in the context of the Act and how the Government of Canada carries out this work to ensure compliance with the Act as the NWMO implements Canada’s plan.

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