Environment and safety

The NWMO's Geoscience team updates Ignace CLC on ongoing fieldwork activities

Geologists studying the rock in the Ignace area.

Geologists studying the rock in the Ignace area.

June 14, 2021

Ignace, Ont.

Geologists studying the rock in the Ignace area.

Geologists studying the rock in the Ignace area.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) Geoscience team provided an update on ongoing and upcoming fieldwork activities in the area to the Ignace Community Nuclear Liaison Committee (ICNLC).


The work furthers the NWMO’s efforts to better understand the geology of the Ignace area to confirm if it could be a safe location for a deep geological repository to safely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel.


The ICNLC heard from Maria Sanchez-Rico Castejon, the NWMO’s geologist leading the fieldwork activities, that downhole testing of the fourth borehole is now underway, and that drilling of the fifth borehole started in May. The sixth and final borehole prior to site selection is slated to start later this year.


Geological mapping in the area will be completed soon, and field preparations for the installation of shallow groundwater wells is underway. Geological mapping involves physically going out into the field and recording geological information from the rocks that outcrop at the surface. Installing shallow groundwater wells helps us better understand the groundwater system in the area.


Later this year, the NWMO will install additional microseismic monitoring stations in the region to collect information about the small magnitude seismic events (earthquakes) that naturally occur.


“All the work that we are doing will help us understand the geology so that both the NWMO and the community are informed when assessing the suitability of Ignace as a possible site for a deep geological repository,” said Ms. Sanchez-Rico Castejon. “With the resumption of activities, it was a great opportunity to give the latest updates to the community.”


When the work and analysis are complete, results will be shared with the public.

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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