Members of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization are continuing to support community initiatives in the northwestern Ontario and Ignace areas, to help make life easier for those dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the initiatives they’re working to support includes the Blessings in a Backpack program, aimed at delivering food to children at home to avoid hunger. The program normally operated through schools, but the NWMO donated $4,500 to fill any gaps during the pandemic.

“The NWMO remains committed to supporting families and our community during this difficult time. The well-being of our communities and region are paramount,” said Chantelle Gascon, Community Liaison Manager at the NWMO.

The Busy Bag program for families with children up to 14 years of age was the recipient of materials and resources to develop more outdoor play areas at the Ignace Nursery School and EarlyON Child and Family Centre. Over 120 families have since used the service.

“During this time, we wanted to make sure families had access to fun, do-it-yourself activities that can help keep children entertained. The bags are age-appropriate and independently geared toward each child,” said Yvonne Dungey, Ignace Nursery School staff member.

To help support physical activities, the NWMO supported the Northwestern Health Unit with activity bags for youth in Grades 7 to 12 by providing wooden and paper craft kits and 65 backpacks. They also helped to organize a teen gardening challenge.

The NWMO also helped support the Emmanuel Anglican Church, where volunteers delivered quarantine care packages for seniors and those in need. The NWMO contributed bags, pens and word search books for 85 seniors.

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 group donates $50,000 to NWHU
Borehole drilling stops near Ignace