The Nuclear Waste Management Organization will work with the federal government to develop a new national strategy for radioactive waste, requested by the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada.

“This is important work, and we look forward to lending our expertise to make informed and practical recommendations to the Canadian government on a more comprehensive radioactive waste management strategy for low-and intermediate-level waste,” said Laurie Swami, President and CEO of the NWMO.

All of Canada’s low and intermediate-level radioactive waste is currently managed in interim storage in Canada. The new integrated strategy will aim to ensure the waste continues to be managed safely with best practices over the long-term.

“For more than 50 years, Canadian nuclear technology has been in our lives –powering our homes, making life saving medical treatments and bringing safe food to our tables,” said Karine Glenn, Strategic Project Director for the NWMO.

The NWMO operates on a not-for-profit basis and derives its mandate from the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act. Canada is also calling on the NWMO to identify a single, preferred site to host a $23 billion deep geological nuclear waste storage facility.

The Township of Ignace is currently engaged with the NWMO as one of two potential hosts for the project, and are in the running with the South Bruce community. A final decision is expected by 2023.

Geological and safety research will continue in each of the two communities until 2023. 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.

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