Skip to content

Ignace last remaining northern community in running for nuclear waste repository

Hornepayne and Manitouwadge eliminated from consideration
The Township of Ignace, a community of 1,200 between Thunder Bay and Kenora in northwestern Ontario, is one of the two final communities being considered for an underground nuclear waste repository. (File photo)

The Township of Ignace is one of the two final communities in Ontario being considered for a nuclear waste repository.

On Nov. 26, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced that Ignace and the Township of Huron-Kinloss/Municipality of South Bruce in southern Ontario were the two final contenders in the ongoing, multi-year search for a community willing to host a deep underground repository to store spent nuclear fuel.

According to NWMO, the country currently has an inventory of nearly three million used nuclear fuel bundles.

“As we work towards identifying a single, preferred location for this project, in an area with informed and willing hosts, we need to increasingly focus on specific locations that have strong potential to meet the project's safety and partnership requirements,” said Dr. Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, NWMO's vice-president of site selection, in a news release.

"These are hard decisions and not made lightly, but ultimately, we are working towards identifying one area where we can implement Canada's plan to ensure the protection of both people and the environment."

The site selection process, which began in 2010 with 22 communities, has narrowed the search through technical site evaluations and consultations with communities.

For its next steps, the NWMO said it would conduct more detailed technical site evaluations and social studies in the two remaining areas.

Communities that have been eliminated from the process, along with neighbouring communities, are eligible to receive “community well-being investments” – one-time investments that acknowledge their participation in being considered for the repository.

They include:

  • Constance Lake First Nation: $700,000
  • Hornepayne: $700,000
  • Manitouwadge: $700,000
  • Chapleau Cree First Nation: $350,000
  • Ginoogaming First Nation: $350,000
  • Missanabie Cree First Nation: $350,000
  • White River: $600,000
  • Long Lake #58 First Nation: $200,000
  • Red Sky Métis Independent Nation: $200,000

Once a site is selected, the NWMO estimates it could take 10 years to construct the repository.