Selecting a site

Preparations begin for drilling of first borehole in South Bruce to confirm safety of potential site


The NWMO contracted Tulloch Engineering to conduct a ground nesting bird habitat assessment near the first planned borehole location in South Bruce.

July 7, 2020

South Bruce Ont.


The NWMO contracted Tulloch Engineering to conduct a ground nesting bird habitat assessment near the first planned borehole location in South Bruce.

Borehole drilling, coring and testing is an important part of the NWMO’s technical site evaluation work that helps to build understanding of geosphere (rock and water) deep underground at a potential site for deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. This work helps us assess if the site will be a safe location for the repository.

The NWMO has identified a location for the first planned borehole in the community of South Bruce and begun important technical and environmental work to prepare the site. The borehole site is located on land acquired by the NWMO through the ongoing land access process –Lot 23, Concession 8, northwest of Teeswater.

“The borehole location was identified by taking into account technical, logistical and environmental considerations,” said Geoff Crann, Manager, Site Services, at the NWMO.

Work is underway to ready the site for borehole drilling, including identifying local service providers and contractors, and conducting a range of investigations to further confirm suitability of the site and gain an understanding of local habitat use.

An important first step, on July 6th, a biologist conducted an evaluation of the planned borehole location for habitat use by sensitive species.

“This work helps us to understand if certain sensitive species are present at the planned borehole location. It ensures appropriate mitigation could be implemented if high quality habitat or sensitive species are observed,” said Melissa Mayhew, Senior Environmental Scientist at the NWMO.

Once preliminary work confirms the suitability of the planned location for the first borehole in South Bruce, we expect to start borehole site construction in the early fall and begin drilling and coring later in 2020.

South Bruce is one of two landlocked areas currently involved in the NWMO’s site selection process for a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. The other is the area around Ignace, in north western Ontario.

About the NWMO

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.

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