Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area

The Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario is one of two potential host areas for Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel.


Site selection activities

In 2012, the Municipality of South Bruce initiated the area’s involvement in the site selection process. The project will only move forward in any area with interested communities, along with First Nation, Métis and surrounding communities, working together to implement it.

This image shows two South Bruce community members looking at the new used fuel container model at the open house.

Committed to safety in the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area

Protecting people and the environment, including water, is our highest priority and drives everything we do. Learn why we’re confident that the SON-South Bruce area could safely host Canada’s deep geological repository, based on decades of scientific research, international scientific consensus and best practices for managing used nuclear fuel. 
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Three people standing in front of barn in South Bruce, Ontario.

Possibilities for generations, made in  South Bruce 

What’s here is worth keeping – and making even stronger. In collaboration with the Municipality of South Bruce, we have rolled out various socio-economic and environmental studies that outline the potential benefits and impacts the region may experience if the project moves ahead in this area. Discover how the project could lead to positive economic and employment growth, even more vibrant communities and more.
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Land access for environmental research

Land access requested for environmental research

As part of ongoing environmental baseline monitoring research, the NWMO seeks permission from Huron-Bruce area landowners located in the study area to access their property for environmental monitoring and sampling activities.

Participating landowners in the study area will be offered an honorarium of $600 in recognition of their valued co-operation, which will grow knowledge about the local environment and advance environmental initiatives for years to come.

The research includes mapping aquatic habitats, woodlots and naturalized areas and collecting samples for environmental DNA (eDNA) research which helps assess the presence of wildlife in the area. Data will be made available for use by any individual or organization with an interest in safeguarding local lands, water sources and habitats.

Interested landowners can contact the NWMO at or call 416-419-0810 for more information.

The NWMO acknowledges the land within the Huron-Bruce area is the traditional territory of Saugeen Ojibway Nation.

South Bruce Community Liaison Comittee (CLC)

Community liaison committees act as a resource for communities involved in the site selection process. Set up by municipal councils, independent of the NWMO and comprised of residents from the area, these working groups help community members learn more about Canada’s plan for managing used nuclear fuel and reflect on interest in hosting the project in the area.

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Frequently asked questions

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Will a deep geological repository in South Bruce affect the agricultural community?

For decades, Canadian farmers have safely farmed near nuclear facilities. Their crops and livestock are routinely monitored by partners and federal agencies such as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. There have been no adverse effects on their land or agricultural products.
The NWMO will work closely with the agricultural community to ensure the deep geological repository project will have added value to the agricultural sector, and to find opportunities to support and promote Ontario agriculture crops and products.

There’s a lot of work in South Bruce to understand water resources. What exactly are you testing for?

Protecting water, people and the environment is so important to the NWMO — it is at the core of what we do and a value we share with Canadians and Indigenous peoples. Understanding water, its quality, its memory and where it flows is essential for us to be able to make good decisions as we do our work.


In July 2021, the NWMO partnered with Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) to research water resources in the South Bruce area. The information collected will help the NWMO and SVCA make future project decisions to protect water.


The program will monitor water flow and collect surface water samples in rivers, lakes and wetlands throughout the Teeswater River and the Beatty Saugeen River subwatersheds.


The water samples will be submitted to CALA-certified laboratories for analysis. They will test for:

  • General water quality;
  • Existing local industries; and
  • Potential contaminants.

Here is what the water will be tested for:


Tier 1 (natural radionuclides): tritium, carbon-14, strontium-90, iodine-129, cesium-137 [and associated cobalt-60, ruthenium-106], gross-α, gross-β

Tier 2 (natural radionuclides): uranium-238, uranium-234, uranium-235, potassium-40, thorium-228, thorium-230, thorium-232, radium-226

Tier 2 (artificial radionuclides): chlorine-36, cobalt-60, selenium-79, ruthenium-106, neptunium-237, plutonium-238, plutonium-239, plutonium-240, plutonium-241 americium-241, curium-244

Metals: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, bismuth, boron, cadmium, cesium, chromium (total, trivalent, hexavalent), cobalt, copper, iron, lead, lithium, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, rhodium, ruthenium, samarium, selenium, silver, strontium, thallium, tin, titanium, uranium, vanadium, zinc, zirconium

Organics: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, petroleum hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (total), organochlorine pesticides

Nutrients and general chemistry: alkalinity, bicarbonate, bromide, calcium, carbonate, chloride, cyanide, fluoride, hydroxide, magnesium, pH, potassium, sodium, specific conductivity, sulphate, sum of ions, total dissolved solids (TDS), total hardness, total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity, ammonia as nitrogen, nitrate + nitrite, nitrate (NO3), total organic carbon (TOC), total inorganic carbon (TIC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), phosphorus, total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), chlorophyll-a, biological oxygen demand (BOD), total coliforms, E. coli

How will you protect the water supply in the areas around the deep geological repository?

Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel involves containing and isolating the used fuel in a deep geological repository in a way that protects both people and the environment, including water.


The repository will be located deep underground in a suitable rock formation, which must meet technical criteria for the development of a robust safety case. The repository uses multiple barriers that include the waste form, container, sealing materials, and the host rock. The system is designed such that the failure of one component would not jeopardize the safety of the containment system as a whole.


The project will also be subject to a thorough regulatory review process, including an impact assessment and a licensing review to ensure that it is implemented in a manner that protects people and the environment. There cannot be any credible risk to the public or the environment, including bodies of water.

I heard we’ll be able to reprocess used nuclear fuel, so why bury it?

Studies conducted around the world have concluded that high-level waste from reprocessing should also be contained and isolated in a deep geological repository.


If Canada chooses to reprocess nuclear fuel in the future, it would be a joint decision by the nuclear energy producers, the associated provincial governments and the federal government.


If such a decision were made, the NWMO would work with utilities and government to safely manage whatever high-level waste resulted from this process. For example, if some used fuel was identified for reprocessing, it could be diverted for that purpose instead of being placed in the deep geological repository, and be retrieved at a later date.


To help anticipate any changes in fuel cycles used in Canada, we keep an annual watching brief on new developments.

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Activities in the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area