The community of Spanish entered the site selection process by formally expressing interest in learning about the project in 2012. The neighbouring communities of Blind River, Elliot Lake and The North Shore also expressed interest at that time.

Although Spanish was not identified as a focus of further study during initial desktop studies and engagement, Preliminary Assessments (Step 3: Phase 2) are continuing in the vicinity, and the community continues to be involved. 

The project will only move forward in any area with interested communities, First Nation, Métis and surrounding communities, working together to implement it. We are committed to respecting the Aboriginal rights and treaties of Aboriginal peoples. We also recognize there may be unresolved claims between Aboriginal communities and the Crown to be taken into account in relation to a proposed site.

Information detailing assessment work we completed in Spanish through steps one to three of the site selection process are contained below.

Step 1: 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 March 2012, Spanish’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 area and its geology.

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.

Spanish's initial screening was completed in August 2012. It did not identify any obvious conditions that would exclude the Spanish area from further consideration in the site selection process.

Step 3: Phase 1 - Desktop Studies and Engagement

In December 2012, Spanish'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 Spanish.

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.
In this area, the potential for the project to align with the long-term vision of Blind River and Elliot Lake was particularly strong. As a result, we identified these communities to begin working with us to help plan more detailed (Phase 2) studies and engagement in the area. The North Shore and Spanish continue to be involved in the process as communities in the area.

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