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First nuclear waste test hole drilled near Ignace Video

Hole is twice the depth needed for a repository

IGNACE, Ont. -- The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has completed drilling its first borehole in the Ignace area.

NWMO says the 1,000-metre test hole, finished Tuesday, provides scientists with access to the rock for detailed investigation.

If an underground nuclear waste repository were actually constructed, it would be placed at a depth of about 500 metres.

The test site is in the Revell Batholith rock formation south of Highway 17 about 35 kilometres west of Ignace.

In a statement on Wednesday, NWMO said its research team including geoscience, environmental, engineering and repository safety specialists will now analyze the core samples and explore the borehole further through the coming year.

"Completing the first borehole...marks another significant milestone in Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel," said NWMO vice-president Mahrez Ben Belfadhel.

"I'm to say it's been great work and collaboration from everyone involved in this learning process, particularly in Ignace and Wabigoon Lake First Nation, as well as other First Nation, Metis and municipal communities," he added.

Additional boreholes will be required in the future. 

NWMO is also conducting various studies in the vicinity of four other Ontario communities involved in the site selection process, including Manitouwadge and Hornepayne.

It expects to be able to identify its preferred site by about 2023.

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