The Nuclear Waste Management Organization announced that signed a number of agreements with landowners in South Bruce, Ontario, that will allow sufficient access to land for studies at a potential deep geological repository location.
In a press release, the NWMO said the community is one of two potential host areas that remain in the site selection process for the project. The other area is Ignace in northwestern Ontario.
Initially, the Township of Huron-Kinloss was considered as a candidate for the project but this is no longer the case. However, the NWMO said that since the urban centre is a neighbour to South Bruce, the community will continue to play a strong role as activities continue.
The NWMO needs sufficient land for a repository site where it will carry out environmental monitoring, borehole drilling and other site investigation work such as Indigenous cultural verification
“We are heartened by the strong interest shown by local landowners in each municipality,” Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, vice-president of Site Selection at the NWMO, said in the media brief. “With agreements in place and access to land in South Bruce, we expect to begin studies such as borehole drilling and baseline environmental monitoring in the coming months to assess the suitability of the area.”
The land access process was initiated in May 2019. The agreements include a combination of option and purchase arrangements that allow the NWMO to conduct studies and landowners to continue using the land, in some cases through leaseback arrangements. If the site is selected to host the repository, the NWMO would purchase the optioned land.
The organization has the mandate to create a site of approximately 607 hectares by 2023.
“While the NWMO continues to engage with Saugeen Ojibway Nation, other Indigenous communities, and local municipalities, the aggregation of land in South Bruce does not suggest it has provided its support for the siting of the repository in this area,” the release states.