This year, Shads are focused on reducing Canada’s waste and are learning first-hand the innovative ways hazardous waste is managed by putting their design thinking skills to the test.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization will visit 12 campuses this year to teach Shads about Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term nuclear management of used nuclear fuel.

“We’re proud to partner with Shad as they inspire the next generation of leaders,” says Isaac Werner, Government and External Relations Analyst at the NWMO. “Nuclear energy has been powering homes and campuses in Canada for 50 years and managing the resulting used fuel is our priority.”

The NWMO is a not-for-profit organization which was formed in 2002 as part of the Federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act. The organization is leading the planning and implementation of Canada’s plan to safely manage used nuclear fuel, in a manner that protects both people and the environment.

“Shad’s program connects students with industry leaders who give them an insider’s view into national issues that affect all Canadians,” says Tim Jackson, President & CEO of Shad Canada. “Shads explore new ideas and combine technical learning with best practices thanks to organizations like NWMO.” 

This is the tenth year that the NWMO has provided bursaries and opportunities so that more students can experience hands-on, STEAM learning. As a long-term partner, the NWMO provides workshops and connects Shad with students from rural and remote communities that may have never had access to the program.

“One of the principles of Canada’s plan is generational responsibility. Shad participants are the best and the brightest future leaders, big thinkers, innovators and creators,” says Isaac.

This year, Shads were asked to think like an engineer and innovate ways to improve Canada’s plan. At Shad Western, a group decided that it would be best to improve the transportation process, stressing that speed, safety, and efficiency were all really important factors to consider.

“I’ve never learned about nuclear waste before,” says Emma Ashick, Courtice, ON, Shad2019. “I live close to a nuclear reactor so it’s important to look at because I don’t want communities to be effected.”

Emma and her group thought that transporting used nuclear fuel by rail and adding a steel encasement were feasible solutions.

“I went into this not having a lot of knowledge on this topic,” says Alexandria Martin, Winnipeg, MB, Shad2019. “But now it is definitely something that now I can build off of and really think about.”

Over the course of July, the NWMO will visit: Carleton, Lakehead, McGill, McMaster, Mount Allison, New Brunswick, Queen’s, Ryerson, Saskatchewan, Waterloo, Western, and York.