Strong support for the NWMO’s siting process in Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties: Poll

Mobile Learn More Centre

The vast majority of residents in South Bruce and neighbouring counties are supportive of the NWMO’s siting process and studies in South Bruce. This file photo shows the NWMO Mobile Learn More Centre set up to receive visitors in Bruce County in the fall of 2020.

A majority of residents in Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties support the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) siting process, according to a new poll.

South Bruce is one of two potential areas under consideration to host a deep geological repository as part of Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.

The NWMO is working with local communities as it seeks to select in 2023 a single, preferred site for Canada’s plan in an area with informed and willing hosts.

The new survey results demonstrate those who live in the area are increasingly informed and supportive of the NWMO’s work.

More than two thirds of area residents — 69 per cent — “support the consultation and study process” being led by the NWMO, a new Ipsos survey commissioned by Bruce Power finds. In addition to support, awareness of the project is almost equally as high: Of the 600 area residents surveyed, nearly two thirds —62 per cent — said they were aware of the NWMO’s siting process.

In Bruce County, where the NWMO’s potential repository site lies, that figure rises to nearly 80 per cent. It’s also worth noting those who were aware of the process prior to responding to the poll were significantly more likely to say they strongly support it, which points to a connection between awareness of the proposal for a repository and support for the work.

“The NWMO is pleased to see so many area residents are supportive of our study process,” said Dr. Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, NWMO Vice-President of Site Selection. “We are committed to working with residents of South Bruce, First Nation and Métis communities and the surrounding area to continue the learning and build awareness of the project. The NWMO is seeking informed and willing hosts, and it is important that potential host communities have the information they need to make an informed decision.”

“The NWMO strives to enhance the well-being of all the communities we work with at every step of our site selection process. Whether it’s providing financial support to the municipality or community organizations addressing the global COVID-19 pandemic, helping the local library buy a 3D printer, or putting together care kits for seniors, we are committed to being good neighbours in South Bruce,” Dr. Ben Belfadhel said. “Canada’s plan is a 150-year-long $23-billion dollar environmental infrastructure project that has the potential to provide opportunities for sustainable economic development in the area for generations to come.”  

The survey also found area residents are confident in the safety and security of the Bruce Power facility: nearly all respondents polled (95 per cent) have confidence that the nuclear facility operates safely, feel Bruce Power is a good community citizen (93 per cent), and are confident in the security measures at the facility (91 per cent).  

South Bruce is one of two areas remaining in the NWMO’s site selection process; the other is the area of Ignace, Ontario. The NWMO is currently working with the local municipality and First Nation and Métis communities to define what willingness could look like. The organization is also conducting technical studies in the area, including preparations for borehole drilling later this spring, to ensure the geology and environment in the area is suitable to host a deep geological repository.

Ipsos surveyed 300 respondents by land line and 300 by cell phone in Grey, Bruce and Huron counties. The results were weighted by region, gender, and age to ensure the final sample reflects the population of all three counties. The margin of error is plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20. You can read the full survey results here.

About the NWMO

The NWMO is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term storage of Canada’s used nuclear fuel in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.

We are implementing Canada’s plan to safely isolate and contain used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository. The plan is based on years of public input, invaluable Indigenous Knowledge, international scientific consensus and best practices from around the world.

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.

Transparent and accountable, the NWMO works in close cooperation with all levels of government, national and international regulators, Indigenous peoples, industry, academia, and civil society organizations.