The Township of Ignace continues to be a front-runner for a future $23 billion project involving Canada’s used nuclear waste.
Municipal staff in Ignace are working with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization as one of two potential host communities for a $23 billion deep-geological nuclear waste storage facility, along with South Bruce.
The project’s timeline states the repository would be built by 2033 with operations beginning in 2043, after beginning back in 2010. The repository would only hold Canadian nuclear waste, and would be one of the first facilities of its kind around the world.
The NWMO says a final decision on the two communities is expected in 2023, but they’ll be taking a more site-focused approach in 2021 with extensive studies in the Ignace area to establish employment and workforce, housing, economic and health conditions for future staff.
“The leadership and residents of Ignace have done a tremendous amount of work articulating their priorities for the project,” said Allan Webster, the NWMO’s Director of Regulatory Affairs and Environmental Assessment, who will be leading the studies.
“The studies will provide an opportunity for people to shape how the project could be implemented if it were to proceed in this area. Over the next few years, the NWMO will be focused on ensuring the community has the information they need to make an informed decision about whether or not to host the project.”
The NWMO is also currently leading the development of a new national strategy for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste, requested by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in November, 2020.
Organizational leadership will be hosting an online summit to bring those interested in the strategy on March 1 and April 1, and are inviting area residents and Indigenous communities to attend. “The Summit is open to everyone,” said Strategic Project Director, Karine Glenn.
“It is important to us that we engage a variety of voices in the process to identify and build common ground on which the strategy can be built, as well as understand points of difference. Our goal is to better understand the key considerations that matter to Canadians and Indigenous peoples.”
Staff note all of Canada’s low and intermediate-level radioactive waste is currently managed in interim storage in Canada. The new integrated strategy aims to ensure the waste continues to be managed safely with best practices over the long-term.
After the virtual summit, the NWMO says they’ll be planning a series of engagement activities with communities and interested parties, as well as technical workshops to explain their industry and work.