To the Editor:
Approximately seven out of 10 residents of Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties support the consultation and study process related to the proposed Deep Geological Repository for spent nuclear fuel in South Bruce, according to a recent poll. The poll was conducted by Ipsos Research on behalf of Bruce Power in late 2020, and measured the current attitudes of Bruce, Grey and Huron residents on a range of subjects related to Bruce Power and the nuclear industry. The poll found that 69% of respondents either strongly support (38%) or somewhat support (32%) the process.
The local economy of South Bruce and surrounding area has already begun to benefit from the research process, as the Nuclear Waste Management Organization has set up a local office and is providing local jobs and investment. This economic activity is expected to increase as the research activity continues over the coming years. A decision on the DGR may still be a long way off, as there is a great deal of scientific research and community engagement to be performed before South Bruce decides whether or not to become a “willing host community” for the repository.
If the project does receive over-all support from South Bruce, there are still many regulatory hurdles to clear such as environmental assessment, and the assent of the local indigenous communities. The current schedule calls for actual construction of the DGR to occur between 2033 and 2043, followed by an approximate 40 years of operation. During these phases, the project is expected to provide some 3,000 direct and indirect jobs in the local economy.
Teeswater resident Sheila Whytock of the local volunteer group Willing to Listen made the following comment on the results. “It’s very good to see these results, showing that a majority of area residents want the process to proceed. We need to take all the time required to understand the risks and benefits of the project, and to make an informed decision as a community.” More information regarding the project can be found at www.willingtolisten.ca