The community of White River initiated its area’s involvement in the site selection process by formally expressing interest in learning about the project in 2012. This expression of interest triggered studies to explore the potential suitability of its geology while the community learned more about the project and reflected on its interest in it.

In 2017, after several years of progressively more detailed study and engagement, we concluded that the community of White River will not be considered a potential host for the project. The community continued to play a role until 2019, when after several years of progressively more detailed study and engagement, we concluded that the nearby communities of Hornepayne, Manitouwadge and area would not be considered potential hosts for the project.

The project will only move forward in any area with interested communities, along with 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 work we completed in the White River area through steps one to three of the site selection process is available 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 April 2012, White River'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.

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

Step 3: Desktop Studies and Engagement

In December 2011, Hornepayne'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 November 2013, we completed the first phase of Preliminary Assessment (Step 3: Phase 1) of the site selection process in collaboration with Hornepayne.

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: 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 Assessment (Step 3: Phase 2). Through fieldwork, more detailed studies and broadened engagement, Phase 2 assessments expand upon work completed in Phase 1.

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

Details from completed studies are available below. 

Project Economics: Employment

To help understand the project's economic effects in potential siting areas, we developed models that provide initial estimates. By working together to implement the project, we can optimize and direct economic benefits to meet community expectations and needs.

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. 

If the project proceeds in the area, it will create many jobs in and around the Hornepayne area. Given the project’s extended time frame, there would be many opportunities for people living in the area. New families would be attracted to the area and would also contribute to area communities.

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.

News and Activities

We have established Learn More offices to help facilitate learning in the areas involved in the site selection process.