The Nuclear Waste Management Organization continues to advance work and incorporate local feedback into siting activities in South Bruce. On Thursday night at a meeting of the South Bruce Community Liaison Committee, NWMO staff offered key updates about its work towards selecting a single, preferred location for a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel.
While observing public health guidelines, the NWMO has held virtual and in-person meetings over the last few months with members of the community in South Bruce and surrounding area. Community Liaison Committee members heard Thursday night how that input is being integrated into Canada’s plan.
NWMO representatives discussed recent environmental baseline monitoring workshops, the tour of the Mobile Learn More Centre through the area, and plans to continue with technical site evaluation activities, such borehole drilling and water-well monitoring in the area.
The committee also heard the land access process to identify sufficient land for a potential repository site is progressing and the NWMO is expected to share further information in the coming weeks. This significant milestone will allow the NWMO and the community to continue to advance progressively more detailed studies to explore the feasibility of the project in South Bruce. The NWMO publically launched a land access process in May 2019. Since that time the NWMO has worked with interested local landowners to aggregate enough land to begin further site investigation work.
“Canada’s plan is at its strongest with the input of people who are considering the project,” said Dr. Ben Belfadhel, Vice-President of Site Selection. “I want to thank area residents who toured the Mobile Learn More Centre and participated in online or in-person workshops, as their advice has helped us structure our next steps. Over the coming months we will take meaningful steps to return to field work, including borehole site preparations, well-monitoring monitoring programs in South Bruce and an update on the land access process.”
Over the coming months, the NWMO will be providing updates on the following topics and preparing the following work:
· Continued discussions with the community to co-design an environmental baseline monitoring program
· Launching well-water monitoring programs to establish local baseline information, as part of its response to local feedback
· Preparing borehole sites in 2020 with the goal to begin initial exploratory drilling in the spring of 2021
· Ongoing public webinars to share information, hear feedback and respond to questions
· Community open houses in-person and online
In response to feedback received from residents about whether the project will affect property values in the area, the NWMO has committed to establishing a property value protection program. Over the
coming months, the NWMO will work with the Municipality to establish a program to compensate property owners if property values are adversely affected by the project if it is sited in South Bruce.
“I am pleased to see the NWMO being responsive to feedback provided by the residents and community leaders in South Bruce,” said Mayor Robert Buckle. “We appreciate their continued updates. It’s encouraging to see specific concerns raised by community members being directly addressed in the NWMO’s planning process.”
South Bruce is one of two communities remaining in the NWMO’s site selection process. Borehole drilling, environmental baseline monitoring and other site selection activities also continue in Ignace, Ontario.
The NWMO is a non-profit organization tasked with implementing Canada’s Plan in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come. The project will only proceed in an area with suitable geology and with informed and willing hosts.