The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) will focus efforts on fewer areas in the site selection process for a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel. The area around Blind River and Elliot Lake, Ontario
, will no longer be considered to host the project. Studies are continuing in the vicinity of five other communities
, including Ignace, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, South Bruce and Huron-Kinloss, Ontario, from the original 22 that expressed interest in participating.
Technical studies and engagement with people in the area identified a number of factors that would pose challenges in siting a repository. These include complexities associated with the geology, limited access and rugged terrain, and low potential to develop the breadth of partnerships needed to implement the project.
“We are grateful to have worked with communities in this area and for the outstanding leadership they have shown on behalf of all Canadians through their involvement in this process,” said Dr. Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, Vice President of Site Selection. “The decision to narrow our focus is part of an ongoing, rigorous process to identify a single, safe site in an area with an informed and willing host and strong potential for the partnerships that will be required to implement the project.”
In recognition of their leadership, the municipal and First Nation communities that led siting activities in the area will be eligible for funding to support investments in community sustainability and well-being. Blind River, Elliot Lake and Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation will receive $600,000. The neighbouring communities of Spanish and The North Shore will receive $300,000. The contributions will be made to their community well-being reserve funds.
Since 2010, the NWMO has been engaged in a multi-year, community-driven process to identify a preferred site for a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. The NWMO expects to be in a position to select a preferred site by about 2023.