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Test drilling resumes for nuclear waste site near Ignace

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is also drilling its first borehole at South Bruce.
Ignace nuclear waste drilling
Preparations are underway for drilling a fifth borehole near Ignace, Ontario (Nuclear Waste Management

TORONTO — The Nuclear Waste Management Organization says it has resumed test drilling for a potential underground nuclear waste storage site near Ignace.

Work is continuing on the fourth borehole, which was started before the COVID-19 pandemic, and preparations are underway for drilling a fifth hole.

NWMO is also drilling its first borehole in the South Bruce area of southern Ontario, the only other site in Canada still under consideration for hosting the repository.

It said the testing is an important part of its site selection process.

"We need to be sure that used nuclear fuel can be safely contained in the rock underneath the surface, to ensure water is protected and people and the environment are safe," a spokesperson said.

Once borehole drilling and testing are complete, NWMO said it will share the findings with community members.

Field activities can take up to nine months for each hole.

NWMO has developed a close working relationship with the Town of Ignace, but says it remains committed to only locate the storage site in an area with "informed and willing hosts."

Organized opposition to transporting Canada's used nuclear fuel to Northwestern Ontario and storing it in the region surfaced recently when a group called Nuclear Free North announced it was mailing postcards to 30,000 households and businesses between Upsala and the Manitoba border.