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At Canada’s Embassy in Washington, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to Co-operate on Used Nuclear Fuel Management with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The agreement reflects the U.S. and Canada’s shared commitment to safely managing used nuclear fuel, including that from Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).
At a ceremony commemorating the signing of the agreement, NWMO and DOE leaders committed to implementing the agreement and expanding co-operation through the specific, standalone agreements that the SOI permits.
The SOI will foster information sharing on a consent-based siting process, science and technology programs, engagement activities and joint technical studies. It also lays the groundwork for a program of exchanges and visits, enabling NWMO and DOE leaders to learn from each other through hands-on experiences in each other’s organizations.
After President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited Canada in March, Natural Resources Canada and the DOE issued a joint statement declaring both countries’ commitment to co-operate on nuclear energy and achieve shared net-zero and energy transition goals. The statement also affirmed consent-based siting of used nuclear fuel as part of the U.S. and Canada’s common vision. The announcement strengthens bilateral efforts to realize this common vision and reflects the U.S. and Canada’s commitment to environmental responsibility and clean energy.
The NWMO’s co-operation agreements with international counterparts play an important role in fostering the global development and demonstration of technology, sharing countries’ experiences, and keeping parties informed of developments in repository design.
“For more than two decades, the NWMO has demonstrated our commitment to engaging with communities, conducting scientific research and developing innovative technologies for safely managing used nuclear fuel over the long term, which we are eager to share with our international partners,” said Laurie Swami, President and CEO of the NWMO.
“As the U.S. develops our consent-based siting process, we need to hear from diverse perspectives to build a stronger approach—and that includes lessons learned from our colleagues in Canada,” said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Kathryn Huff. “Sharing information and collaborating will bring a sustainable, clean energy future closer to reality.”
“This statement of intent to collaborate between the NWMO and the U.S. Department of Energy is a great example of how the international community can come together to support safe and responsible nuclear development and ensure that socially acceptable radioactive waste strategies are developed early,” said Debbie Scharf, Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Systems Sector, Natural Resources Canada. “I am pleased to see the NWMO’s leadership and expertise in consent-based siting and nuclear fuel waste disposal, and their work engaging with Indigenous peoples and Canadians, being recognized by my counterparts in the United States and I look forward to seeing this collaboration in action.”
As the NWMO continues to implement Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, co-operation between like-minded partners, including the U.S., is an important and positive step towards a responsible energy future.
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 more than 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Holders 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 2024, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.