The Canadian parliament has approved a national Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, providing a framework that will enable the "major owners of nuclear fuel waste" to establish a non-profit waste management organisation (WMO).
The enactment implements a key component of the government's 1996 Policy Framework for Radioactive Waste — that the federal government, "through effective oversight, would ensure that the long-term management of radioactive waste is carried out in a comprehensive, integrated and economically sound manner". The key elements of the enactment include:
• Establishing a WMO to carry out the managerial, financial and operational activities to implement the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste.
• Requiring the major owners of nuclear fuel waste to establish trust funds and to make annual payments into those trust funds to finance the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste.
• Authorising the Governor in Council to make a decision on the choice of approach for long-term management of nuclear fuel waste for Canada to be implemented by the WMO.
The enactment also requires: the WMO to carry out public consultations; the WMO's study and reports to be made public; the WMO to establish an advisory council, whose comments on the WMO's study and reports are made public; and the government to make public statements on all of the WMO's reports.
According to the bill, within three years the WMO will propose disposal strategies, which it will later implement. The act also authorises the government to make a decision on the choice of approach for the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste for Canada, to be implemented by the WMO.
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