The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is hoping to help protect frontline workers across northwestern Ontario, with a $50,000 donation to the Northwestern Health Unit.

The NWMO says the global COVID-19 pandemic is increasing pressures on social and essential services, and they wanted to reach those most in need during these difficult times.

“We want to thank everyone who is working to address this global challenge, in particular public health leaders like the Northwestern Health Unit, who are taking decisive action to protect the health of our communities,” said, Dr. Ben Belfadhel, Vice-President of Site Selection at the NWMO.

“Investing in the health and well-being of the communities where we are active is a priority for the NWMO and we’re proud to do our part to help flatten the curve.”

The NWHU will use the investment to respond to community needs such as but not limited to, emergency food access and care packages for people who are in isolation without resources or family support, and hand sanitizer and disinfecting supplies for organizations in the area who need assistance.

“On behalf of the NWHU, I am extremely pleased to accept this kind and generous donation,” said Chief Executive Officer for the NWHU, Marilyn Herbacz.

“As we know these are unprecedented times and there is a growing demand within our communities for supports. It is during these times that we truly see community and partners pull together to achieve a common goal and wellness and safety for all people. The NWHU will ensure this substantial donation is used in the way that will reduce pressure and support our population through these times.”

The Township of Ignace, served by NWHU, is currently engaged with the NWMO as a potential host for a $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:
Nuclear waste facility selection down to two