Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced that it is advancing the site selection process for a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel.
The organisation will narrow its focus from five to two potential siting areas - the Township of Ignace in northwestern Ontario, and the Township of Huron-Kinloss and Municipality of South Bruce in southern Ontario will continue to be considered potential host areas for the repository.
One of these communities will move forward in the site selection process once a potential repository site is located in the area through an ongoing process with local landowners. Three areas around the Townships of Hornepayne and Manitouwadge in northern Ontario will no longer be considered.
The site selection process for a Canadian repository has since 2010. It started with 22 municipalities and indigenous communities that expressed interest in exploring their potential to host the project. The NWMO gradually narrowed its focus to fewer areas through technical site evaluations and social engagement.
The next steps in Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce will include working with municipal and Indigenous communities to conduct progressively more detailed technical site evaluations and social studies. This work will further assess safety and explore how the project can be implemented in a manner that will enhance the well-being of municipal and Indigenous communities in each area. The municipalities and communities leaving the site selection process, as well as their neighbouring communities, will be eligible for one-time community well-being investments.
"As we work towards identifying a single, preferred location for this project, in an area with informed and willing hosts, we need to increasingly focus on specific locations that have strong potential to meet the project's safety and partnership requirements," Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, NWMO vice-president of site selection, said in a statement. "These are hard decisions and not made lightly, but ultimately, we are working towards identifying one area where we can implement Canada's plan to ensure the protection of both people and the environment."
Canada's NWMO was created in 2002 with Ontario Power Generation, NB Power and Hydro-Québec as the founding members. These utilities, along with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, fund the NWMO’s operations. The NWMO operates on a not-for-profit basis and derives its mandate from the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act.
Photo: Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, Vice-President of Site Selection at Canada's NWMO (Credit; NWMO)