The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is concluding its preliminary assessment work in the communities of Arran-Elderslie and Saugeen Shores. Early findings indicate both have very limited potential to meet the geoscientific criteria required to host a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel. Safety, security and protection of people and the environment are central to the NWMO siting process.
The NWMO has identified the Ordovician Cobourg Formation at a depth of 500 metres as the preferred host rock for a repository, should it be located in the Bruce region. Arran-Elderslie does not contain enough of this geology at the preferred depth. Saugeen Shores contains a number of constraints that greatly reduce the prospect for finding areas that are large enough for hosting the repository’s surface and underground facilities.
The NWMO has advised Mayors Paul Eagleson of Arran-Elderslie and Mike Smith of Saugeen Shores of its decision to cease preliminary assessment work in their communities. The organization will work with both to assist their transition out of the process. The NWMO is committed to providing early feedback to communities in a timely way as key findings in its studies emerge.
Preliminary assessments, including geoscientific and other technical and social studies, are still ongoing in the Municipality of Brockton, the Municipality of South Bruce, and the Township of Huron-Kinloss, and in 11 other communities on the Canadian Shield across northern Ontario and in Saskatchewan.
If any Bruce County communities currently learning about the project are found to have overall strong potential, and choose in the future to move forward to the next phase of assessment, Arran-Elderslie and Saugeen Shores will be engaged in the expanded dialogue which is required to involve potentially affected Aboriginal people and surrounding communities in the area.
It will take several more years of detailed technical, scientific, and social study and engagement before a preferred safe site for a used nuclear fuel repository can be confirmed.