2015 in Review: Two area communities move to next NWMO project phase (December 2015)

Two area communities moved to a more detailed study phase for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) site selection for a deep geological nuclear repository. Elliot Lake and Blind River moved to the next phase of the study along with Townships of Manitouwadge and White River, northwestern Ontario. However, the Town of Spanish and the Township of the North Shore were dropped from the study. The results come after the NWMO completed the first phase of preliminary assessment for the six Northern Ontario communities that expressed interest in learning about Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. In recognizing the significant contributions of all six Northern Ontario communities, the NWMO provided $400,000 to each upon establishment of a Community Well-Being Reserve Fund. The funds will be administered by the communities and aimed at continuing to build community sustainability and well-being. The funds can be used for projects, programs or services that benefit community youth or seniors, community sustainability, energy efficiency or economic development initiatives. The preliminary assessments are the third of nine steps in a multi-year process for evaluating potential suitability of communities to host a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel and an associated centre of expertise. A total of 21 communities showed an interest in learning more about the project and requested a preliminary assessments. For communities moving forward, the study will involve more intensive community learning and engagement. Work will take on a broader focus to include First Nation and Métis communities in the area as well as neighbouring municipalities. Preliminary fieldwork will also begin, including geological surveys and, at later date, limited borehole drilling, to further assess geology and site suitability against technical safety requirements. As individual studies are completed, the NWMO will continue to narrow its focus to areas with strong potential to be suitable for hosting a repository. It is expected to take several more years to complete the necessary studies.

Elliot Lake Standard Published: December 31st, 2015, Section: News, Page: A15

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