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More nuclear waste test drilling planned for Ignace area (3 photos)

More nuclear waste test drilling planned for Ignace area

IGNACE, Ont. — A spokesperson for Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organization says it has applied to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for permission to drill more boreholes near Ignace.

NWMO completed the first exploratory hole, 1000 metres into the Canadian Shield, last January.

Since then, its researchers have been analyzing core samples and conducting other followup work.

Regional communications manager Patrick Dolcetti said it will take the rest of the year to get all the results.

"There are some very specific tests that go away to specialized labs, and so on," but the initial results "were all fine," Dolcetti said in an interview with Tbnewswatch. "There were no surprises for the geologists. It was very consistent with what they thought was there."

The current drilling site is in the Revell Batholith rock formation, just south of Highway 17 at a point about 35 kilometres west of Ignace.

If the MNRF approves additional exploration, Dolcetti said, drilling for two more holes could start this fall at locations within two kilometres of the original borehole.

He noted, however, that NWMO may ultimately have to drill as many as 20 holes before it completes its evaluation of the area's suitability for an underground nuclear waste repository which would be situated about 500 metres below the surface.

"We knew that right from the beginning, because we need to fully understand  the geology, and that requires many, many boreholes."

Each drill site is about the size of two NHL hockey rinks, side-by-side.

On Wednesday, NWMO hosted a community Open House in Ignace to update area residents and summer residents on its work plan.

Besides Ignace, it is investigating the potential for nuclear waste storage in four other areas of Ontario:  Hornepayne, Manitouwadge, the Municipality of South Bruce, and Huron-Kinloss Township in Bruce County

NWMO expects that it will be able to identify its preferred site by 2023.

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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