South Bruce, Ignace take different routes to assess residents’ perspective on the nuclear waste facility

Intermediate level waste is stored in these “underground” structures. A deep geological repository (DGR) near the Bruce Power nuclear power plant is proposed to store nuclear waste at depth.Fred Lum / The Globe and Mail

The two municipalities competing for an underground radioactive waste disposal project have selected different methods to determine whether their residents are willing hosts, marking an important step in the site selection process.

The Municipality of South Bruce and the Township of Ignace, both in Ontario, are the two finalist locations selected by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization for a deep geological repository, or DGR, in which used nuclear fuel would be stored at more than half a kilometer underground. . The NWMO plans to select its preferred site by the end of 2023, but said the host must be informed and willing. Its shortlist is down from the 22 communities that initially expressed interest.

Residents of South Bruce will vote to determine whether they agree to move to the small community of Teeswater in southwestern Ontario, the local council said Wednesday. No date has been set, but the referendum is due to take place after the Ontario municipal election on October 24, 2022.

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The other candidate is Ignace, in Ontario, north of Lake Superior. Separately, this week the township decided that Ignatius’s will would be determined by a council resolution.

The RDG has sparked intense, at times spiteful debate throughout South Bruce over the past decade, and particularly after the NWMO began securing land in early 2020. Developers, including city officials, highlighted the potential economic benefits. A community group called Willing To Listen argued that a referendum is “far from perfect” and could be hampered by low voter turnout. If there was one, the group requested that it be held in 2023 or later.

“We should keep the NWMO here and spend its money as long as possible,” wrote member Tony Zettel in a letter to a local newspaper.

An opposition group, Protect Our Waterways, has vehemently opposed the DGR in South Bruce and called for a referendum next year.


One last home for Canada

spent nuclear fuel

A deep geological repository isolates depleted radioactive substances

nuclear fuel in underground chambers. The surface

the installations would be removed, and the DGR sealed,

a century or more after the start of operations.

4. Ventilation

exhaust shaft

THE GLOBE AND THE COURIER,

SOURCE: nwmo

One last home for Canada

spent nuclear fuel

A deep geological repository isolates depleted radioactive substances

nuclear fuel in underground chambers. The surface

the installations would be removed, and the DGR sealed,

a century or more after the start of operations.

4. Ventilation

exhaust shaft

THE GLOBE AND THE COURIER,

SOURCE: nwmo

A final home for Canada’s spent nuclear fuel

Deep geological repository isolates radioactive spent nuclear fuel underground

rocky chambers. Surface installations would be eliminated, and the DGR sealed,

a century or more after the start of operations.

4. Exhaust ventilation

tree

THE GLOBE AND THE COURIER, SOURCE: nwmo

“We’re a small community, so everyone knows everyone,” said Michelle Stein, president of Protect Our Waterways, in an interview in July. “There are a lot of people who are afraid to say that they think this nuclear waste facility is a bad idea because they don’t want their neighbor to get mad at them. So a referendum would give people a safe place to write down whatever answer they want. “

Ms Stein said this week’s referendum promise was hollow “because it will ultimately be up to the next council to decide whether it wishes to follow this decision.”

South Bruce officials said the timeline would allow sufficient time for the NWMO and the municipality to complete dozens of studies examining the economic, environmental, social and safety effects of the RDG. It would also allow the negotiation of a hosting agreement, which would specify the responsibilities of the NWMO and the benefits it would bring to the community.

Earlier this year, South Bruce hired GHD Ltd., a consulting firm, to study how to determine community will. The options considered included a referendum, opinion polls, polls and other methods. GHD’s report, delivered to South Bruce’s council last month, revealed “overwhelming” public support for a referendum. Its report noted, however, that some residents feared that a referendum “has the potential to cause deeper divisions in the community.”

The NWMO must also persuade the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, on whose traditional territory the RDG of South Bruce is said to reside. In a presentation in August, April Root-Thompson, SON’s Community Engagement Manager, said that the NWMO made a commitment in June 2016 to “not locate any deposit … in our territory without the consent of our communities ”.

Ontario Power Generation made a similar commitment in its efforts to build another RDG, this one for low and intermediate level waste, in Kincardine, Ontario. SON members voted overwhelmingly against this installation in January 2020.

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