Guided by Science. Grounded in knowledge. Committed to partnership - Annual Report 2021
Guided by Science. Grounded in knowledge. Committed to partnership - Annual Report 2021

Message from Wayne Robbins, NWMO Board Chair

Portrait of Wayne Robbins

While protecting people and the environment has always been critical to the NWMO’s work, the COVID-19 pandemic drove that message home. The significant shifts in lifestyle we all had to make brought our collective responsibilities to one another and future generations into sharp relief.

That is why the Board is so proud to oversee a project of such generational importance as Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel. For the NWMO’s Board of Directors, implementing Canada’s plan means challenging the organization to keep improving in every area, from the innovations of our technical teams, to the way we engage the communities that are vital to the success of our project.

With the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference driving a renewed commitment to fighting climate change worldwide, we want to emphasize that we share that commitment. By building a deep geological repository, we will ensure that Canada’s used nuclear fuel is safely managed, while Canada’s nuclear industry continues to generate carbon-free energy. To close the nuclear fuel life cycle, the NWMO will lead the way while learning from international best practices, so that we are prepared to safely manage the used nuclear fuel of today and tomorrow.

As a Board, it is critical for us to understand our potential siting areas. Though the pandemic slowed that work, we regained ground this year, as vaccinations and reopening plans meant we had the opportunity to meet in South Bruce with municipal leaders and with Saugeen Ojibway Nation in its traditional territory. We hope to do the same in the Wabigoon-Ignace area in the coming year.

The inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge is also paramount to our work. Not only does it make our work stronger, but it is also one of the ways the NWMO demonstrates our commitment to Reconciliation. That is why the Board meets annually with the Council of Elders and Youth to exchange ideas and learn about decision-making processes that respect Indigenous peoples’ traditions, knowledge and values.

This was a difficult year on many fronts, so the Board would like to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the management team and our employees who rose to the challenge. As we look forward to 2022, the NWMO is gearing up for one of the most important milestones in our project plan – selecting a site in 2023. The Board is confident that the NWMO will approach site selection with the full culmination of all our past learning, while the organization also prepares for what is ahead.

The safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel is in sight, and I invite you to look ahead with us.