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New consultations in Ignace over nuclear waste site

Residents asked to fill out survey from Nuclear Waste Management Organization between Jan. 18 and Feb. 26
Ignace borehole drilling
NWMO geologist Martin Sykes inspects a drill rig at a borehole site near Ignace, Ont. (NWMO photo)

IGNACE, Ont. – Residents in Ignace, one of two remaining candidates to serve as a repository for Canada’s nuclear’s waste, are being asked to weigh in as the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s site selection process continues.

Beginning Monday, residents can fill out a short survey created by the NWMO and the Township of Ignace that will help guide how the agency engages the public as it conducts numerous studies in the area in early 2021.

The agency narrowed its list of candidate sites to two – Ignace and South Bruce – in January of 2020. Final site selection was scheduled for 2023, with construction of a nuclear waste repository expected to take another 10 years to complete.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused some delays to test drilling into the Precambrian Shield at a site about 35 kilometres west of Ignace, between the town and Wabigoon Lake First Nation.

Prior to those delays, the agency reported consistent results and stable rock in the area, after test drilling three of six planned bore holes.

In a statement issued Friday, the NWMO said it will proceed with environmental, technical, and socio-economic studies beginning early this year.

All residents will receive a mailed copy of a survey with questions on how they would like to be engaged in that process, the agency said. Online and telephone options will also be provided.

Residents can respond to the survey between Jan. 18 and Feb. 26. It is being conducted by independent firm CCI Research.

“Talking to people and hearing what they think – their priorities and values, questions and concerns – is a fundamental part of implementing Canada’s plan,” said Ben Belfadhel, NWMO’s vice president of site selection. “Our goal is to understand awareness of the project, and the topics people are interested in learning more about through community studies in 2021.”

The NWMO is responsible for implementing Canada’s nuclear waste management plans.

Some experts and civil society groups have raised serious concerns over “deficient” federal nuclear waste policies, calling for an overhaul before moving forward.


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