News Release: Township of Schreiber Continuing to Phase 2 of NWMO Preliminary Assessment

Also recognized for leadership in advancing Canada’s plan for used nuclear fuel management

SCHREIBER, November 21, 2013 – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has completed the first phase of preliminary assessment in collaboration with the Township of Schreiber and seven others of the 21 communities engaged in learning about Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term care of used nuclear fuel. 
Schreiber is one of four communities identified for further study in the process for identifying a preferred site for a deep geological repository.

“Schreiber is looking forward to further exploring how this important national infrastructure project could potentially impact our community and region,” said Don McArthur, Mayor of Schreiber. “We have a great deal of work and many studies ahead of us before we will be in a position to decide whether a deep geological repository is a good fit for our community and area. All Schreiber residents can be proud of the contribution our community has already made to the NWMO site selection process, regardless of the eventual outcome.”

The communities of Creighton in Saskatchewan, and Hornepayne and Ignace in Ontario, were also identified for more detailed study. English River First Nation and Pinehouse in Saskatchewan, and Ear Falls and Wawa in Ontario, were not selected for further study.

“The NWMO looks forward to working closely with communities to plan the next phase of work, which involves field studies, detailed examination of sites and expanded engagement,” said Kathryn Shaver, Vice-President of APM Engagement and Site Selection at the NWMO. “Working together with interested communities, their neighbours and Aboriginal peoples, we will take the time required to gain a better understanding of the project’s potential to satisfy stringent safety requirements and advance long-term well-being of the area.”

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.

Findings to date do not confirm the 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.

Recognizing Community Leadership

At this milestone 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 these 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 Ms. Shaver. “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.

Next Steps

The next phase of work involves more intensive community learning and engagement. Work will take on a broader focus to include surrounding communities and First Nations and Métis peoples. This ongoing engagement will be important to understanding the potential to foster well-being of the broader area and the ability to work together to implement the project. Preliminary fieldwork will begin, including aerial surveys, and at later date, limited borehole drilling, to further assess geology and site suitability against technical safety requirements.

As individual studies are completed, the NWMO will continue to gradually narrow its focus to areas with strong potential to be suitable for hosting a repository. Ultimately, the project will only proceed at a site that can safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel, and with the involvement of the interested community, surrounding communities, and First Nations and Métis peoples working together to implement it.

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.

About the NWMO

The purpose of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is to develop and implement, collaboratively with Canadians, a management approach for the long-term care of Canada’s used nuclear fuel that is socially acceptable, technically sound, environmentally responsible and economically feasible. The NWMO was created in 2002 by Canada’s nuclear electricity producers. Ontario Power Generation Inc., NB Power Nuclear and Hydro-Québec are the founding members, and along with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, fund the NWMO’s operations. The NWMO derives its national mandate from the Federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, which came into force in November 2002.

About the Township of Schreiber

The Township of Schreiber is located approximately 200 kilometres east of Thunder Bay along Highway 17 on the northernmost point of Lake Superior. Schreiber is home to 1,200 residents. With a proud railroad history since 1885, Schreiber has an excellent transportation infrastructure through its location on the Trans-Canada Highway and long standing relationship with Canadian Pacific Railway. Schreiber offers a wide range of community health and support services to its residents.


Contacts for More Information

Mike Krizanc, Manager of Communications

Don McArthur, Mayor
Township of Schreiber