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DGR regulatory process

A project as important as the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) involves oversight and review from the highest levels.

Explore the Regulatory Process for the proposed DGR to see how Ontario Power Generation is committed to safe nuclear energy production and lasting waste management solutions.

Transparency for over 15 years

There have been many reporting stages in the planning of the DGR project. Discover the details of OPG’s regulatory reporting that ensures maximum oversight and security for Canadians.

  • Late 2005: regulatory process to secure a licence to prepare the site and construct the DGR began with the submission of the DGR Project Description to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
  • June 29, 2007: DGR project was referred to a Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Joint Review Panel (JRP) process allows a panel of three to consider both the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the application for site preparation/construction licence, as outlined in a joint press release.
  • January 2009: final guidelines for the EIS and JRP were issued, identifying the information needed for the report, which will provide a detailed analysis of the potential environmental effects of the proposed project. The EIS guidelines also list the requirements for a licence to prepare the site and construct the DGR. The JRP Agreement outlines the process and the timelines under which the panel will operate as it conducts a review of the EIS and considers the licence application to prepare the site and construct the DGR. Get more information on the Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines and Joint Review Panel Agreement.
  • April 14, 2011: EIS, along with the Preliminary Safety Report and supporting documents were submitted to the CNSC, for the Joint Review Panel.

Waste management, lasting solutions

Public consultation on the DGR

See how OPG has consistently engaged experts and community partners on the DGR Project.

The public was invited to comment on potential conditions related to possible mitigation measures and follow-up programs that may be required if the project is approved to proceed by the minister.

In order to accommodate the new 90-day period, the 120-day timeline for the EA decision by the Federal Minister of Environment was extended to Dec. 2, 2015.

Providing information and answering requests

See how questions and concerns from regulatory representatives and experts were addressed by OPG.

  • Nov. 27, 2015: Minister of the Environment and Climate Change announced a delay on the DGR for low and intermediate level nuclear waste until March 1, 2016.
    With pressing issues on environment and climate change before government, the Minister required additional time to ensure a thorough and comprehensive federal review.
  • Feb. 18, 2016: Minister of the Environment and Climate Change requested that OPG conduct three further studies into the DGR, before making a decision on the environmental assessment, including:
    1. A study into the environmental effects of alternate sites;
    2. An updated analysis of potential combined environmental effects of the DGR site and a potential Nuclear Waste Management Organization site located close to the proposed site;
    3. An updated list of OPG’s commitments to mitigate any identified effects from the project;
  • April 5, 2016: OPG responded to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) with a response plan outlining the timing of information provided and the approach taken to meet the three objectives of the Minister’s request.
  • May 26, 2017: OPG submitted additional information about its proposed DGR project to the CEAA, which was posted to the CEAA website on May 29.

The information answered the CEAA's 23 additional questions resulting from extensive review of OPG’s studies in 2016 on alternate DGR locations and environmental commitments.

The review involved the public, Indigenous communities, and several federal departments.

  • June 28, 2017: The CEAA‎ announced on June 26 that it was satisfied OPG had adequately answered all questions,
  • Aug. 21, 2017: OPG initiated review of a new request from the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The Minister 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.

  • Feb. 14, 2018: At a Municipality of Kincardine Council Meeting, council voted in favour on ratification of the 2018 Amending Agreement for the 2004 DGR Hosting Agreement.

Some key amendment items included amendment:

  • The Amending Agreement will release 50 percent 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 percent 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, view the Amending Agreement to the 2004 DGR Hosting Agreement.

Funding, reviews and registry

See how we are maintaining the DGR Project’s transparency with the public and governing bodies.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) allocated $175,000 to seven applicants to support their participation in the federal environmental assessment of OPG’s proposed DGR project.

The funding recipients are:

  • Sierra Club
  • Northwatch Coalition for Environmental Protection
  • Power Workers’ Union
  • Canadian Environmental Law Association
  • Huron-Grey-Bruce Citizens Committee on Nuclear Waste
  • Great Lakes United
  • International Institute of Concern for Public Health

Additionally, the Historic Saugeen Métis, Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat and United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising also received funding.

The CEAA made additional funding available through its Participant Funding Program to support registered participants at the additional public hearing days for the proposed DGR project.

On Jan. 24, 2012, the establishment of a three-member joint panel to review OPG’s proposed project was announced.

Dr. Stella Swanson was appointed as the Panel chair and Dr. James F. Archibald and Dr. Gunter Muecke appointed as members of the JRP.

Under a joint review panel agreement, the members conducted an examination of the environmental effects of the proposed project to meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The Panel also obtained the information necessary for the consideration of the licence application under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to prepare a site and to construct the DGR.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency DGR Project Registry provides online access to key information and records on OPG’s DGR Project for the long-term management of low- and intermediate-level waste.

Joint review panel on DGR
See Online Version
Report Highlights:
  • Reviews and assesses the project.
  • Details the impacts of the project.