Next Step of Geological Studies Underway Near Ignace

Three NWMO staff members at the borehole drilling site

On November 6, the NWMO began drilling (see: video) to obtain core samples at a potential deep geological repository site for the safe long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel.

Initial Borehole drilling and core sample testing is taking place in a rock formation known as the Revell Batholith, located south of Highway 17, about 35 kilometres west of Ignace (between Ignace and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation). The initial study of core samples is part of the site evaluation program to build understanding of the geology at or near potential repository sites.

“The drilling of this first borehole marks an important milestone in Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel,” said Dr. Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, Vice President of Site Selection. “Reaching this next level of study is the result of several years of hard work by everyone involved and extensive collaboration with residents in the area, including First Nation and Métis communities.”

Work at this site is expected to continue for at least three months. Once initial borehole drilling and testing is complete, geoscience, environmental, engineering and repository safety specialists will require about one year to review the data and share the findings. 

Various studies are also underway in the vicinity of six other Ontario communities involved in the site selection process. The preferred site must have a suitable rock formation in an area with an informed and willing host. The project will only move forward in partnership with First Nation and Métis peoples and surrounding communities. The NWMO continues to move forward collaboratively with all communities and regions as the site section process moves into 2018 and beyond.

The NWMO expects to be able to select the preferred site for detailed site characterization by about 2023.