Grade 7 and 8 students in Ignace were able to take part in a unique challenge held by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, which was joined by members of the Ignace Fire Department.

NWMO staff challenged students to design a protective container to keep an egg safe after a 5 metre drop, to demonstrate how a material such as nuclear waste can use multiple barriers to prevent the waste from leaking.

Volunteer firefighters Robert Berube, Bob Morin and Braeden Morin built a 5-metre scaffolding to drop the packages from, in the school’s baseball diamond. Students were given materials like bubble wrap, cardboard and styrofoam to protect their eggs.

During the challenge, only three eggs broke, but in each instance, the package remained intact and there was no release of yolk.

“It was fun and a great learning experience for the kids,” said Ignace Mayor Penny Lucas, who attended the event and said she was impressed by the students’ work. “I’m pleased to see how many eggs survived the fall.”

The challenge followed an information session with NWMO staff, as students learned how the organization plans to transport fuel safely and securely, once their multi-billion dollar deep geological repository is built.

“I am so impressed with the initiative that the NWMO students took in organizing this youth activity and by the bright young minds in the grade 7/8 class,” said Manager of Transportation Engagement, Caitlin Burley.

Ignace volunteer firefighters Braeden Morin and Bob Morin put the finishing touches on the egg drop scaffold.

The Township of Ignace is currently engaged with the NWMO as one of two potential hosts for the $23 billion deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. A decision is expected by 2023.

Once the two communities are narrowed down, geological and safety research will continue in each of the two communities until 2023, when a final community is expected to be selected. The project’s timeline states the repository would be built by 2033, with operations beginning in 2043. The project began in 2010.

The site selection process is expected to create up to 95 local jobs, with up to 1,000 jobs in Ontario. Site construction is expected to need 800 local jobs, and operations will be roughly 700 local jobs. Extended monitoring over 70 years will be roughly 170 local jobs, and decommissioning the repository will create 250 jobs.

The repository would only hold Canadian nuclear waste, and would be one of the first in the world. Currently, Finland is the only other country with a deep geological nuclear waste repository. Finland and Sweden both have similar facilities for radioactive waste, with France not far behind.

The project will also include a scientific Centre of Expertise near the repository, where scientists and geologists would be able to showcase the work going on within the repository. It would also act as a scientific hub for the region, allowing and showcasing local, national and international research. It would be built by 2024.

The NWMO operates on a not-for-profit basis and derives its mandate from the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act. Canada’s plan calls for the NWMO to identify a single, preferred site to host the project, in an area with informed and willing hosts, by 2023.

For more information:
Technical work continues for nuclear waste group
Nuclear waste group donates $50,000 to NWHU