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Federal oversight: Nuclear Fuel Waste Act

The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) establishes the oversight that the Government of Canada and the Minister of Natural Resources will exercise in regards to the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste in Canada. The NFWA also clarifies the responsibilities of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) and the nuclear energy corporations, including Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.

Oversight exercised by the Government of Canada includes:

  • monitoring all relevant NWMO activities;
  • reviewing NWMO annual reports to ensure compliance with the legislation;
  • tabling the NWMO's annual reports in both Houses of Parliament;
  • approving the funding formula to ensure the full costs of managing nuclear fuel waste over the long term are accounted for;
  • ensuring that audited financial statements indicate the required monies are being set aside by waste owners in established trust funds;
  • carrying out independent public consultations and auditing measures, as required;
  • issuing a public statement on the NWMO’s annual reports;
  • assessing the need for consultations that may be necessary to meet the Crown’s duty to consult; and
  • enforcing compliance, as necessary.

Responsibilities of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization include:

  • implementing the Adaptive Phased Management approach for the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste;
  • submitting annual reports to the Minister of Natural Resources;
  • offering long-term management services to small nuclear fuel waste owners;
  • engaging with the public, interested communities, including First Nation and Métis peoples; and
  • making all reports available to the public as indicated under the NFWA.

Minister Statements: Nuclear Fuel Waste Act

Through ongoing federal oversight, the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act requires the Minister of Natural Resources to make a public statement on the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s annual report. The public statement is an important mechanism by which the Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Government of Canada, can inform Canadians about progress of the NWMO under the NFWA and convey messages to the NWMO to ensure that it conforms to the legislation as it implements the Adaptive Phased Management approach. The statement is also an important element in increasing and maintaining public confidence with regard to the long-term management of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste.

Memorandum of Understanding between Natural Resources Canada and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization in relation to Aboriginal Consultations

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Natural Resources Canada and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization was signed on August 14, 2009. This MOU clarifies the roles and responsibilities of Natural Resources Canada and the NWMO with respect to any obligation for consultations with Aboriginal people, pursuant to the Government of Canada’s duty to consult and the NWMO’s statutory obligations in relation to the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act.

This MOU covers the period during that part of the NWMO’s work that precedes the identification of a site for the Project.

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