NWMO releases nuclear waste transportation survey results

Original story via Toronto Star.

TORONTO – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) released the results of a survey they say was conducted regarding their transportation planning framework.

Salima Virani, regional communications manager – Indigenous from the NWMO, responded to a request from Midwestern Newspapers regarding how this information was gathered, saying both engagement sessions on the draft transportation planning framework and a public survey were used.

A press release from the NWMO said, “results from this survey, which launched in 2020 as part of the organization’s draft transportation planning framework, will help guide and shape future plans for the NWMO’s transportation program.”

The release said that the NWMO’s transportation planning priorities align closely with what Canadians and Indigenous peoples consider essential and that 91 per cent of all respondents agreed that safety is the top requirement when it comes to transporting used nuclear fuel.

Additionally, “the NWMO’s transportation principles and objectives, including ensuring transparency and responsible project management, also align with public priorities according to survey results.”

Admitting that more work still needs to be done on how the NWMO will address the identified priorities, they said they are building a solid planning foundation through ongoing dialogue with Canadians and Indigenous peoples.

Bob Watts, vice-president of Indigenous relations and strategic programs at the NWMO, said, “The goal of the draft transportation planning framework was to outline what we understood Canadians and Indigenous peoples wanted considered in terms of planning objectives, issues and concerns regarding the transportation of Canada’s used nuclear fuel.”

Watts added, “The input we received from First Nation and Métis peoples, municipalities and organizations builds on a wealth of shared knowledge. We want to establish a collaborative approach to developing a safe and socially acceptable framework for future transportation planning. We know this will take time and work over the upcoming years, and the NWMO is committed to that work.”

The press release said, “In addition to highlighting a shared vision for transportation planning, the survey identified key topics where respondents shared concerns and questions regarding this portion of Canada’s plan, including emergency and security management, accident scenarios, and infrastructure conditions.

“As transportation planning continues, the NWMO will develop a multi-year work program on how to safely transport used nuclear fuel. This work will address regulatory requirements, and the questions and concerns we hear from the public on this topic,” said Caitlin Burley, transportation engagement manager. “We want to work towards understanding these concerns and addressing them as we refine our transportation program over the 20-year planning time frame.”

The NWMO will incorporate the public input on the draft transportation planning framework into a revised framework, to be released later this year.

A summary of the results from engagement on the draft transportation planning framework can be read in the What we Heard report, available at www.nwmo.ca.

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