New Book: Deep Disposal

Deep Disposal:

A Documentary Account of Burying Nuclear Waste in Canada

William Leiss

Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press

eBook “coming soon” 

Print Edition (Paperback): September 2024

Deep Disposal | McGill-Queen’s University Press (

What should be done with Canada’s 3.2 million nuclear fuel waste bundles, currently stored on-site at nuclear plants?

Canada is one of many countries around the world which use nuclear reactors to generate electrical power, in part as of now to reduce our carbon footprint. Yet this energy produces hazardous, long-lived waste that emits dangerous radioactivity for tens of thousands of years.

Nuclear waste, stored temporarily for decades, must be safely disposed so it will not pose a serious threat to human health and the environment. This means being placed in locations deep underground in granite, sedimentary rock, or clay. Canada’s ideal location is somewhere on the Canadian Shield, the 2.5-billion-year-old crystalline rock that undergirds much of the country. Beginning in 2010 some twenty-two  communities, most in Ontario, volunteered to host the repository. In Deep Disposal William Leiss explains the challenges that have arisen in the evaluation of potential sites over the last decade.

High-level nuclear waste is the most hazardous byproduct of an energy source that is incredibly useful and increasingly in demand. Finding a suitable place to store it permanently is an urgent policy issue facing our country. Deep Disposalreveals the nature of this issue and how we might resolve it.

New Material following the Completion of the Text of the Book

Item No. 1: Petition to the House of Commons

Petition e-4852 – Petitions (

e-4852 (Natural resources and energy)

Petition to the Government of Canada


  • The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has been engaged since 2010 in a multi-step process to site a deep geological repository to emplace the high-level nuclear (irradiated fuel) waste from all of Canada’s nuclear power reactors;
  • The NWMO project will involve the transportation, processing, burial and abandonment of an estimated seven million bundles of radioactive waste over a 50-year period which would be extended by additional reactor construction or refurbishments;
  • The NWMO has repeatedly stated that it will not proceed without an “informed and willing” community;
  • There are scientific and public concerns about the risks of radioactive exposures along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream from the repository site under both normal operating and accident conditions;
  • The Government of Canada has affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which sets out that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent (Article 29); and
  • Canadian law recognizes that every individual in Canada has a right to a healthy environment (CEPA 2023).

We, the undersigned, citizens, residents and Indigenous peoples of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to require the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to demonstrate that it has the consent of residents and communities, including First Nations and Treaty Organizations, along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream of the candidate repository site(s) before selecting a site.

Presented to the House of Commons

Anthony Rota (Nipissing—Timiskaming)
May 9, 2024 (Petition No. 441-02467)