Small northwestern Ontario town considers if it’s willing to house nuclear waste from across Canada – by Jeff Walters (CBC News Thunder Bay – December 15, 2021)

A small town in northwestern Ontario is facing a big question: How to determine whether people in the community want to host a site that would store nearly 5.5 million spent nuclear fuel bundles from across Canada.

The issue’s been ongoing for years in Ignace, with a population of about 1,300, 250 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay. But now, it’s one of two communities left in the search by Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to find a host community for its proposed deep geological repository.

Canada’s nuclear electricity producers created the non-profit in 2002. It’s responsible for coming up with a long-term management plan for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. The fuel bundles are about the size of a fire log, and each bundle holds about 20 kilograms of uranium. The final two sites for the proposed storage facility are in Ignace and South Bruce, about 100 kilometres from Kitchener.

A spokesperson for the NWMO said that unless the community is willing to host the site, the project won’t go ahead. Organization officials have repeatedly said they welcome public discourse and debate, while promising a safe solution in line with international best practices.

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