The agency responsible for selecting a preferred site for storing Canada's used nuclear fuel has started test drilling in the Ignace area.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is conducting borehole drilling and core sample testing in a rock formation known as the Revell Batholith, south of Highway 17 and about 35 kilometres west of Ignace.
The worksite is located between Ignace and the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway First Nation.
In a news release, the NWMO said the initial study of core samples is part of the evaluation of the geology around potential nuclear waste repositories.
Work at this location is expected to continue for at least three months.
"This first borehole marks an important milestone in Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel," said Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, an NWMO vice-president.
"Reaching this level of study is the result of several years of hard work by everyone involved and extensive collaboration with residents in the area, including First Nation and Metis communities," he said.
Once drilling and testing is complete, geoscience, environmental, engineering and repository safety specialists will take another year to review the data before sharing their findings.
Various studies are also underway near six other Ontario communities including Manitouwadge and Hornepayne.
The NWMO hopes to identify a preferred site by 2023, but says the host community must be "informed and willing."