Selecting a site

International Geoscientists Visit Planned Site of First Borehole

International scientists survey the Ignace area.

October 12, 2017

Ignace, Ont.


International scientists survey the Ignace area.

In late August, members of the Adaptive Phased Management Geoscientific Review Group (APM-GRG) visited the site near Ignace, Ont. where the NWMO is drilling a deep borehole – its first at a potential repository location. The purpose of borehole drilling is to obtain and test rock samples from underground, to see if the geology is suitable for a deep geological repository.

The APM-GRG is a group of internationally recognized experts in geoscience disciplines. As reviewers of NWMO’s geoscience plans and findings, they play an important role in ensuring the NWMO’s technical work is the best it can be.  

“The APM-GRG members provide careful and thorough review of our geoscientific work,” says Sarah Hirschorn, Manager of Geoscience at the NWMO. “They help ensure we consistently meet or exceed international best practices.”

The APM-GRG’s visit to the Ignace area not only provided the scientists with a first-hand look at the rock, but also an opportunity to meet people in the area, including keepers of Indigenous Knowledge. 

“This visit and future visits to other communities where we are planning to drill gives them context,” says Dr. Hirschorn. “Our decisions involve social considerations, so this helps the scientists appreciate aspects of our work beyond geology.”

The APM-GRG is composed of five internationally recognized experts from Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, and Australia. They combine extensive multidisciplinary experience relevant to the siting of deep geological repositories. Biographies of the APM-GRG members, as well as their reports, are available online.

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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The NWMO is a not-for profit organization established in 2002 by Canada's nuclear electricity producers in accordance with the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA).

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