Explanations and  Abbreviations

Used Nuclear Fuel or also called

Nuclear Waste

Did you know that used nuclear fuel

is actually a solid?

How Is It Stored Today?

Above ground. The dry storage containers have a minimum design life of 50 years.

Where Is It Stored Today?

Canada’s used nuclear fuel is currently safely managed in facilities licensed for interim storage. These facilities are located at nuclear reactor sites in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, and at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's sites in Manitoba and Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario.

How Much Is There?

As of June 30, 2016, Canada has an inventory of just under 2.7 million used nuclear fuel bundles. If stacked end-to-end like cordwood, they would fit into a space the size of seven hockey rinks, from the ice surface to the top of the boards. At the end of the planned operation of Canada's existing nuclear reactors, the number of used fuel bundles could total up to about 5.4 million.

Deep Geological Repository

The deep geological repository is a network of underground tunnels and placement rooms for used nuclear fuel containers. It is designed to safely contain and isolate Canada's used nuclear fuel over the long term.

Why a Deep Geological Repository?

In 2002, the Government of Canada asked the NWMO to study possible approaches for the long-term management of Canada's used nuclear fuel. The study focused on three approaches identified by the government – deep geological disposal, storage at nuclear reactor sites, and above ground centralized storage – as well as a number of other approaches.

What Other Countries Are Doing

Almost all countries with commercial nuclear power production are planning to isolate the waste by-product of their nuclear fuel cycle in a deep geological repository.

Multiple-Barrier System

Barrier 1: The Nuclear Fuel Pellet

Barrier 2: The Fuel Element and the Fuel Bundle

Barrier 3: The Used Nuclear Fuel Container

Barrier 4: Bentonite Clay

Barrier 5: The Geosphere


Atomic Energy of Canada Limited


Adaptive Phased Management




Ignace Community Nuclear Liaison Committee


Nuclear Fuel Waste Act


Nuclear Waste Management Organization


Ontario Power Generation


Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation