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Minister’s Message — Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s 2021 Annual Report

Canada’s transition to a net-zero emissions electricity grid by 2035 is being built on the legacy of our abundant supply of reliable, carbon-free energy.

Supplying about 15  percent of Canada's electricity, the nuclear industry offsets over 50 million tonnes of carbon emissions across the country each year while also providing critical medical isotopes that diagnose diseases, treat illnesses and sterilize medical equipment, to the world. It’s also an economic engine, accounting for more than 75,000 good-quality, high-paying jobs.

And when it comes to nuclear energy, Canada has been a world leader in nuclear energy since the development of the CANDU reactor in 1952. Our government holds the safety of Canadians and the environment as our top priority. This multigenerational commitment to safety includes the necessity of responsibly managing all radioactive waste in line with our world-class safety measures.

That is why Parliament passed the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) in 2002, which established a waste management organization, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), to manage the long-term management of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste. This was further reaffirmed in 2007, when the government selected the NWMO’s recommended approach as Canada’s Plan for the safe long-term management of our nuclear fuel waste.

The NWMO is leading the way in advancing Canada’s Plan, which requires nuclear fuel waste to be contained and isolated in a deep geological repository, as well as a comprehensive process to select a site with informed and willing hosts.

These efforts include working with Indigenous communities and municipalities to conduct detailed site evaluations and undertaking social studies in communities that could host a deep geological repository for nuclear fuel waste. Throughout 2021, advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples remained a priority in the NWMO’s work, as they continued to engage with and build partnerships with, First Nation and Métis communities, interweaving Indigenous knowledge throughout all areas of their work.

The NWMO remains on track to select a site in 2023, making Canada one of the world’s leading countries in the advancement of a deep geological repository for the safe long-term management of nuclear fuel waste.

I invite you to learn more about the NWMO’s work through this report.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Natural Resources

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