The community of Manitouwadge initiated its area's involvement in the site selection process by formally expressing interest in learning about the project in 2011. With the involvement of Manitouwadge, we reached out to other communities in the area to be involved in the process.

In 2019, after several years of progressively more detailed study and engagement, we concluded that the community of Manitouwadge and area will not be considered a potential host for the project. 

Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel will only move forward in any area with interested communities, along with First Nation, Métis and surrounding communities, working together to implement it. 

Information detailing work we completed in Manitouwadge and the surrounding area through steps one to three of the site selection process is available below.

Step 1: The NWMO Initiates the Process

The NWMO formally initiated the site selection process in May 2010.
 
The process began with a broad program to provide information, answer questions and build awareness about the project. Awareness-building activities are designed to continue throughout the site selection process.
 
In Step 1, we provided general information to those who requested it. We began assessment activities in Step 2: Initial Screening only after individual communities formally expressed an interest in learning more.

Step 2: Initial Screening 

In September 2012, Manitouwadge's Mayor and Council passed a resolution requesting an initial screening of the community's potential suitability to host the project. This screening took us about three months to complete and involved a review based on readily available information about the geology of the community and vicinity.   We encouraged communities that passed the initial screening to begin learning more about the project. We provided an initial briefing and invited representatives to take a tour of an interim storage facility for used nuclear fuel. We also encouraged communities to meet with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to learn about the regulatory framework that will govern the project.   Manitouwadge's initial screening was completed in January 2013. It did not identify any obvious conditions that would exclude the Manitouwadge area from further consideration in the site selection process.

Step 3: Phase 1 - Desktop Studies and Engagement 

In March 2013, Manitouwadge's Mayor and Council passed a resolution asking the NWMO to initiate a Preliminary Assessment of the community's potential suitability to host the project.   In December 2014, we completed the first phase of Preliminary Assessment (Step 3: Phase 1) of the site selection process in collaboration with Manitouwadge.   This phase involved: Desktop studies that explored the potential to find a site that can safely and securely contain and isolate used nuclear fuel; and Community learning and dialogue activities to build understanding about the project and to explore its potential to align with the community's long-term vision. Based on studies to date, the community appeared to have strong potential for meeting strict safety and geotechnical requirements, and for the project to align with its long-term vision. The studies also identified a number of uncertainties to be further explored through more detailed study.

Step 3: Phase 2 - Field Studies and Engagement 

In 2014, the NWMO began working with communities in this area to plan field studies and engagement as part of Preliminary Assessments. Through fieldwork, more detailed studies and broadened engagement, Phase 2 assessments expanded upon work completed earlier in the process.

Work in this phase began with initial studies such as geophysical and environmental surveys to further assess potential suitability.

Details from completed studies are published below.

Project Economics: Employment 

To help understand the project's economic effects in potential siting areas, we developed models that provided initial estimates.

We have committed to implementing the project in a way that fosters well-being as defined by the people who live in the area. We continue to learn from communities about the many dimensions of well-being that are important to them. Economics is just one aspect.

The project will create employment that includes:

Direct Jobs: Jobs at or near the repository site, including skilled and semi-skilled employment during construction and operations Indirect Jobs: Jobs created by suppliers and contractors working on the project, such as food catering, accommodation, transportation, and equipment Induced Jobs: Jobs created in retail and professional services by expenditures of people employed in direct and indirect jobs

Visualization of employment details listed by project phase.

Exploring Partnerships

The NWMO and communities began more detailed discussions on how to advance learning and build the sustainable partnerships that would be required to support the implementation of Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

The NWMO has outlined a multi-step road map to guide these partnership discussions, which focused on exploring potential to advance the project in partnership with people in the area, as well as puts in place a framework to implement the project if a preferred site were identified in the area.

Road map to partnership (2017-2022)

 Image shows partnership steps written out in text.

Manitouwadge and area identified values and principles to guide discussions with the NWMO to explore partnership and to consider the project in more detail. These values and principles, and the engagement activities that led to their development, are described in the summary report (Guiding principles for exploring partnership – Community conversations update) below.


Planning Initial Borehole Drilling and Testing

The focus of early geoscientific studies in the Manitouwadge area was to determine if there were rock formations in the area that had the potential to satisfy our safety requirements for a deep geological repository for the long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel.

Geoscientific studies conducted to date have involved desktop studies, airborne geophysical surveys, observing general geological features, and detailed geological mapping. The next site evaluation activity in the area involved drilling a small number of initial boreholes in potential repository locations to further understand the geology. Assembling a permission application was one activity among many designed to help advance the NWMO's understanding of the perspectives of people in the area about the project. No boreholes were drilled, as the area was screened out of the site selection process. 

Selecting locations for initial boreholes also provided an opportunity for the NWMO, the interested community, and First Nation and Métis communities in the area to work together to consider where the project might best fit.

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