The focus of early geoscientific studies is to determine if there are rock formations in the area that have 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 involves drilling a small number of initial boreholes in potential repository locations. Depending on findings, additional borehole drilling and testing in one or more locations may be warranted.
Selecting locations for initial boreholes provides 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. Once a borehole location is identified, the NWMO must submit an application to the provincial government for permission to drill. Assembling a permission application is one activity among many designed to help advance the NWMO’s understanding of the perspectives of people in the area about the project. Engagement and dialogue continue.
Ultimately, the preferred site will need to meet robust technical requirements focused on safety. The implementation of the project must also foster the well-being of the area as defined by people who live there, and will need to be supported by strong partnerships. The project can only proceed with the involvement of the interested community, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and surrounding communities.
Through discussion with people in the area about a number of potentially geologically suitable areas, the NWMO has identified an initial borehole location. It is located in a rock formation known as the Revell Batholith.