Is this northern Ontario township (Ignace) a good spot to bury nuclear waste?

Ignace, Ont. is 1 of 9 communities still in the running to serve as a nuclear waste storage centre

CBC News Posted: Nov 04, 2016 2:54 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 04, 2016 2:54 PM ET

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is searching for a suitable location to bury nuclear waste. Ignace, Ont. is one of nine communities still in the running.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is searching for a suitable location to bury nuclear waste. Ignace, Ont. is one of nine communities still in the running. (John Flesher/The Associated Press)

The group that’s examining the feasibility of burying nuclear waste in the Canadian Shield will start a drilling program in 2017 near Ignace, Ont.

It’s part of work being done by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to find a suitable site for the disposal of spent uranium pellets. The group has been narrowing down its scope of possible sites to store the waste.

“We’ve done airborne high resolution surveys, the geologists have been out walking the land [and] we’ve done some initial environmental mapping,” said Patrick Dolcetti, a spokesperson for the organization.

“But this will be the first time going in and getting some core samples to further understand the geology in the region.”

The NWMO will examine four areas, comprised of 14 specific sites, all within 50 kilometres of Ignace and in virtually all directions. One of the four main sites is partially within the township boundaries.

Study of all these areas will eventually lead to a decision on where to drill a borehole in 2017 to take core samples for study, Dolcetti said.

“So, we haven’t determined where that will be,” he said.

“We have areas that we have identified, so we are asking local people and people in the region to give their input on what they think, why a certain area may be suitable or may not be suitable, or whatever concerns they have.”

Ignace is one of nine communities still in the running to potentially serve as the final choice to bury the spent fuel.

Dolcetti said a final community will get picked in 2023, with the construction for the waste repository site to be completed by 2040.

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