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Deep Geologic Repository

With support from local communities, Ontario Power Generation has proposed creating a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for the long-term management of low and intermediate level nuclear waste, on lands adjacent to the Western Waste Management Facility.

Explore the latest from the DGR and OPG’s efforts to provide safe waste management, lasting solutions and peace of mind for future generations.

Background on the DGR

Since the 1970s, OPG has safely transported, processed and stored low and intermediate level nuclear waste.

While we can continue to safely store this waste above ground, we also have an obligation to future generations to dispose of waste safely and responsibly, so it cannot pose a threat to the public or the environment.

Committed to safety

The DGR will safely isolate and contain waste underground, ensuring the protection of water and the environment.

The DGR would be buried beneath the Bruce site, deeper than the CN Tower is tall, and constructed with low permeability limestone capped by 200 metres of low permeability shale.

The site has rock formations over 450 million years old that do not have any major faults or fractures, are stable and predictable, and provide excellent isolating capabilities.

This type of setting is ideal for hosting a repository and ensuring long-term safety.

DGR by the numbers

680 Metres

Storage depth to isolate waste

200,000 Cubic metres

of waste will be stored

90% of

stored waste is low level

450 million

Waste stored in stable rock, formed 450 million years ago

The latest on the DGR

Get the latest updates and information about the Deep Geologic Repository Project.

The Municipality of Kincardine Council voted in favour of ratification of the 2018 Amending Agreement for the 2004 DGR Hosting Agreement.

Some of the key items included in the amendment:

  • The Amending Agreement will release 50% of the monies held in trust. OPG put the 2015-16-17 payments to Kincardine and Adjacent Municipalities (Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Huron-Kinloss, Arran-Elderslie and Brockton) in trust, as required by the original agreement, due to the length of the approvals process.
  • It will also resume annual payments at the 50% level, until a decision is made on OPG’s proposed DGR at the Bruce site.
  • OPG and Kincardine will form a joint Working Group in 2018 to begin developing recommendations on how to support the concept of a centre of energy excellence.

For further information, explore the Amending Agreement to the 2004 DGR Hosting Agreement.

OPG is reviewing a new request for information from the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change on its proposed Deep Geologic Repository for the permanent disposal of its low and intermediate level nuclear waste.

The Minister has asked OPG to update its analysis of potential cumulative effects of the DGR Project on physical and cultural heritage, through its ongoing process with Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON).

OPG committed in 2013 that the DGR would not proceed to construction without the support of SON, whose traditional territory includes the proposed location at the Bruce nuclear site.

OPG has been engaged in respectful, ongoing dialogue with SON and that will continue.

On June 26, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)‎ announced that OPG had adequately answered all questions in a requested study on alternate locations.

The study showed that building the DGR elsewhere in the Canadian Shield or Southern Ontario is technically feasible, but would result in greater environmental effects, higher costs and a delay of 15-20 years or more – with no additional benefits in safety compared with OPG’s preferred location at the Bruce nuclear site.

OPG has submitted additional information about its proposed DGR project to the CEAA, which was posted on its CEAA website.

The submission is OPG's response to 23 questions from the CEAA resulting from an extensive review of alternate DGR locations and environmental commitments. The review, which involved the public, Indigenous communities and several federal departments, took place in the first quarter of 2017.

The CEAA will now complete its analysis and draft recommendations to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The CEAA draft report will be followed by a public comment period, a final version of the report, and then the Minister’s decision on the Environmental Assessment (EA).

If approved, OPG will submit an application for a construction licence.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) issued a request for OPG to provide additional information regarding its proposed DGR for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste.

The information being requested relates mainly to questions of clarification, elaboration and some additional analysis on a few key elements of the project. This includes:

  • Further description of the differences among three potential locations (the proposed location at the Bruce site and the two alternate locations that were studied), based on various technical, environmental or other criteria.
  • Further analysis of potential cumulative effects of two repositories (OPG’s DGR and a separate facility being explored by NWMO for used fuel), if they were to be located in the same region.

To date, OPG has responded to 585 requests for additional information; the additional 23 requests bring the total to 608.

The public comment period closed on the additional studies provided by OPG in December 2016 to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. CEAA initiated its review of the studies.

On Jan. 18, 2017, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) announced it is inviting public comments until Feb. 17, 2017 on the additional information received from OPG on the DGR project.

A resource document to assist participants in the preparation of submissions regarding the technical review is available on CEAA’s public registry.

The CEAA also announced it has allocated just over $146,000 to 10 applicants to assist their participation in the remaining steps of the environmental assessment of this project.

For information on the DGR project, visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry website at, reference number 17520.

OPG has submitted three studies requested by the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The three studies submitted to the CEAA include:

  • The environmental effects of two feasible alternate locations in Ontario for a new disposal facility for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. One assessment considers a similar DGR in a sedimentary rock formation in southern Ontario. The second considers a similar repository in a granite rock formation in central to northern Ontario.
  • An updated analysis of the cumulative environmental effects of the Project, assuming a used-fuel repository is located in close proximity to OPG’s DGR Project. A site for a used-fuel facility has not yet been determined by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

Based on the studies’ findings on environmental effects and other factors, OPG maintains that a DGR is the right answer for Ontario's low and intermediate level waste, and that the currently proposed Bruce Nuclear site is the right location.

An independent federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) recommended in 2015 that OPG’s project move ahead “now rather than later,” based on a strong safety case and to reduce risks to the environment.

Our plan for the DGR

Learn about OPG’s safe, responsible storage of waste.

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More about DGR

Want to learn more about the DGR project? Explore the additional information below.

  • The Bruce site has excellent geology for isolating and containing the waste and will protect Lake Huron.
  • A DGR at the Bruce site has the support of the host and adjacent communities.
  • Much of the low- and intermediate-level waste is already safely stored at the WWMF, and can be easily transferred to the DGR.