Hornepayne, a community of 980 people about 680 kilometres northwest of Sudbury, is one of the five finalists to see who becomes home to a nuclear waste facility.
In 2011, the town entered a bid to become a repository for 5.2 million log-sized bundles of used nuclear fuel. They were joined by 21 other Canadian communities that have since been whittled down due to internal protest or geological unsuitability.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of Canada’s plan is to take this used fuel, known as “high-level nuclear waste,” contain it in steel baskets stuffed into copper tubes and encased in clay, and place that in a Deep Geological Repository (DGR), a 500-metre deep hole reinforced with a series of barriers. This is where it will stay for the 400,000 years it remains radioactive.
Bradley Hammond, senior communications manager for NWMO, told the Sault Star that the project only moves forward if it receives “broad social acceptance” within the selected communities.
“We won’t proceed in an area with opposition,” he said, adding that he has complete confidence that NWMO will find a suitable town by 2023. When asked if there was a plan in place if all five of the finalist communities, — Huron-Kinloss, Ignace, Manitouwadge, and South Bruce –back out of the project, Hammond indicated there isn’t, because that would be impossible.
A rally is being held in Hornepayne Aug. 14 to oppose the town being used for nuclear waste storage. Those at the helm of the rally said the project “exploits” their small town.
“Outside of war, this is the worst thing you can sign up for,” said Alison Morrison, a rally organizer. “(Nuclear waste) is the worst material known to man. This process has never been done anywhere in the world. We don’t want to be the test project.”
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