Questions and Answers: REGDOC - 1.2.3

Questions and answers

Here are some questions and answers on terms found in REGDOC-1.2.3. For a more complete overview, please refer to the Consultation Backgrounder.

What is a deep geological repository?

A deep geological repository (DGR) is a facility where radioactive waste is placed in a deep, stable geological formation, usually several hundred metres or more below the surface. The facility is engineered to isolate and contain radioactive waste to provide long-term isolation of nuclear substances from the environment.

In Canada, no DGRs are currently under construction or operating. However, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has been seeking a site for a DGR in Canada since 2010. Their DGR proposal is known as the Adaptive Phased Management (APM) project.

What does site preparation mean?

Site preparation for a DGR is an activity that must be licensed under the NSCA. Site preparation activities are limited to establishing basic infrastructure to support the future construction and operation of a nuclear facility. The following table gives examples of types of activities that are permitted or prohibited under a CNSC licence to prepare site.

Permitted activities

  • clearing vegetation and grubbing

  • levelling the land

  • installing fencing and infrastructure, such as power supply and utilities

  • establishing site access roads and parking

  • erecting flood protection and erosion control measures

  • building non-nuclear facility structures, systems and components, such as foundation structures 

Prohibited activities

  • transporting nuclear or hazardous materials, such as used nuclear fuel, to the site 

  • storing nuclear or hazardous materials on the site

  • processing nuclear materials on site

  • packaging used nuclear fuel on site

  • building any DGR facility structures, systems or components on the site

If an applicant obtains a licence to prepare a site, it does not guarantee that they will receive a licence to construct or operate a facility. Those subsequent activities would require a new application.


Submit a question

Login or register to get involved!