News Release: Township of Ear Falls Recognized for Leadership in Advancing Canada’s Plan for Used Nuclear Fuel Management
Community not continuing to next phase of study
EAR FALLS, November 21, 2013 – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has completed the first phase of preliminary assessment in collaboration with the Township of Ear Falls and seven others of the 21 communities engaged in learning about Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term care of used nuclear fuel. Ear Falls and Wawa in Ontario, and English River First Nation and Pinehouse in Saskatchewan, were not selected for further study in the process for identifying a preferred site for a deep geological repository and associated Centre of Expertise. The communities of Creighton in Saskatchewan, and Hornepayne, Ignace and Schreiber in Ontario, were identified for more detailed study.
Completing Phase 1 studies with the first eight communities marks an important milestone in the site selection process and a scheduled point of stock-taking. Guided by findings from this first phase of work, the NWMO has started to take decisions about where it will focus the next phase of studies.
At this point in the process, the NWMO is recognizing the contribution all eight communities have made to advancing Canada’s plan for safely managing used nuclear fuel over the long term. In acknowledging their significant contributions, the NWMO will provide $400,000 to each community upon its establishment of a Community Well-Being Reserve Fund.
“Through their leadership, these communities have advanced this major national project on behalf of all Canadians,” said Kathryn Shaver, Vice-President of APM Engagement and Site Selection at the NWMO. “Each has helped design and lead dialogues to ensure important questions about safety are asked and learning continues. By working within their communities and through early outreach to neighbours and Aboriginal peoples, they have underscored the importance of working together and helped set the stage for the next several years of study.”
Administered by the communities, Community Well-Being Reserve Funds will support continuing efforts by each community to build sustainability and well-being. Examples of activities the funds could support include projects, programs or services that benefit community youth or seniors, community sustainability, energy efficiency or economic development initiatives. Other communities engaged in the site selection process will be similarly recognized upon completion of their Phase 1 studies.
“Ear Falls residents can take pride in knowing our community has made significant contributions to advancing an important national infrastructure project,” said Kevin Kahoot, Mayor of Ear Falls. “I would particularly like to thank the volunteers of the Ear Falls Nuclear Waste Community Committee and all citizens who shared their views, questions and concerns over the past three years. The siting process has provided reports and information that will benefit Ear Falls in the future, and I would like to thank the NWMO for all the support and resources they have provided over the course of the process. The NWMO Community Well-Being Reserve Fund is tangible recognition of our community’s contribution to the NWMO process.”
Preliminary Assessments are the third of nine steps in a multi-year process for evaluating potential suitability of communities to host a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel and an associated Centre of Expertise. Phase 1 assessments evaluated in a preliminary way the potential for an area to meet or exceed strict safety and geoscientific requirements, and to align with the community’s long-term goals and vision. Any site selected in the future must have an informed and willing host, meet strict scientific and technical criteria for protecting people and the environment for the very long term, and meet or exceed regulatory requirements.
It is expected to take several more years to complete the necessary studies to identify a preferred site. Interested communities may choose to end their involvement at any point during the site evaluation process, until a final agreement is signed, subject to all regulatory requirements being met and approvals received.
Findings to date do not confirm suitability of any site, and no community has expressed willingness to host the project at this early point. These findings do not affect work in the 13 other communities involved in earlier stages of the process.
About the Township of Ear Falls
The Township of Ear Falls is located in the District of Kenora in northwestern Ontario, approximately 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay. It is situated along Highway 105, at the northwest end of Lac Seul, 70 kilometres southeast of Red Lake and 100 kilometres northwest of Vermillion Bay. The local Community Health Centre and Municipal Government Building, as well as local School Board and other private and public organizations, offer essential services and jobs to its 1,026 residents.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.
Founded in 2002, the NWMO has been guided for more than 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Holders that are developing innovative and collaborative solutions for nuclear waste management. Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2024, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.