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Manitouwadge and Hornepayne ruled out for nuclear waste storage

Ignace and two southern Ontario sites are the only locations still being studied.
Borehole drilling Ignace
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is drilling six boreholes in the Canadian Shield near Ignace NWMO photo)

TORONTO — Ignace is the only remaining northern Ontario community under consideration for hosting Canada's underground nuclear waste storage facility.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization announced Tuesday it is now excluding the Manitouwadge and Hornepayne areas as candidate sites.

NWMO will focus all its research on the region around Ignace and two locations in southern Ontario–Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce.

The site selection process started in 2010 with 22 communities across the country initially participating.

Technical site evaluations and community consultations gradually shortened the list to a handful of sites.

NWMO Vice-President Mahrez Ben Belfadhel said "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."

According to a statement from Manitouwadge Mayor John MacEachern, residents who had hoped a nuclear waste repository would provide an economic boost for the town are disappointed in the news.

"The community has worked with the NWMO for 10 years, the partnership has been very fruitful and they have learned a lot about nuclear fuel. The community was very involved in the whole process and while they are disappointed that the community will not be moving forward they wish all the remaining communities all the best," MacEachern said.

However, Manitouwadge and other towns that have been dropped from the study–as well as nearby First Nations–are still being rewarded for their participation.

They will receive "community well-being" payments from NWMO.

Communities no longer in the site selection process
Well-being investment
Constance Lake First Nation
Neighbouring and surrounding communities no longer in the site selection process
Well-being investment
Chapleau Cree First Nation
Ginoogaming First Nation
Missanabie Cree First Nation
Communities no longer in the site selection process that exited in 2017, but continued as a neighbouring community
Well-being investment
White River
Recently engaged communities
Well-being investment
Long Lake #58 First Nation
Indigenous organizations
Well-being investment
Red Sky Métis Independent Nation
NWMO said the next steps in the site selection process include working with municipal and Indigenous stakeholders to conduct progressively more detailed technical site evaluations and social studies.

The organization has drilled three boreholes at its research site about 35 kilometres west of Ignace, and plans to drill three more.

The final site selection is scheduled for 2023, with construction of a storage facility expected to take another 10 years.


Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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