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The NWMO’s 2021 annual report celebrates a year of progress

Press Release

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has now published our 2021 annual report, Guided by science. Grounded in knowledge. Committed to partnership. The report highlights the NWMO’s activities throughout the year as we implement Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The report also provides an audited update on the organization’s finances. In accordance with the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, the report was submitted to Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on March 28, 2022.

“In 2021, the NWMO continued to adapt to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and ultimately celebrated a year marked by progress and success,” said NWMO President and CEO Laurie Swami. “Our progress to date will serve as a foundation. Great teamwork and a collaborative spirit will be the key to future success.”

Key highlights from the annual report include how the organization has continued to travel a path together with Indigenous peoples on the journey towards Reconciliation, including rolling out additional staff training and educational opportunities, as well as interweaving insights from Indigenous Knowledge throughout the NWMO’s work.

In 2021, vaccinations and reopening of communities allowed us to meet face-to-face again – critically important to our engagement process, where safe, in-person meetings help us build a better understanding of each other. Re-establishing these connections was crucial to keeping us on the path to partnership.

The NWMO also deepened our knowledge of the environment in the siting areas through borehole drilling work. Testing and analysis of core samples from deep underground is now well underway, a significant step that will enhance our understanding of whether the geology at the potential project sites can meet robust regulatory requirements.

The report also shows how the NWMO’s Engineering team took big strides forward, with significant work done to prepare the organization for full-scale emplacement trials in 2022 that will simulate conditions in the deep geological repository, including prototyping and testing of our innovative engineered-barrier system.

In addition to the annual report, the NWMO has also released our five-year implementation plan – Implementing Adaptive Phased Management 2022 to 2026 – a living document that outlines our activities for the next five years. Learn more about that report and fill out the online survey that accompanies it as your feedback is essential to the NWMO’s work.

About the NWMO

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.

Founded in 2002, the NWMO has been guided for 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers that are developing innovative and collaborative solutions for nuclear waste management. Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2023, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.

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