The Canadian government expects the nuclear operators to establish a new waste management agency to deal with spent fuel. It also wants a dedicated fund to be set up by the producers and owners of the spent fuel. For its part, the government will establish a federal review and approval mechanism to provide oversight of the agency and the issues.

Ralph Goodale, the minister for natural resources, said that he expects the new waste-management organisation to be formed by the three nuclear utilities – Ontario Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and New Brunswick Power – who will fund, organise, manage and operate facilities for their radwaste.

A time frame, however, was not specified. The new organisation would be a separate legal entity which operates “at arms length” from the utilities and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

The minister added that further development of a national spent fuel management concept should be undertaken at the underground research laboratory at Lac du Bonnet in Manitoba.

The waste management agreement will be managed by a Joint Science and Technology Committee.