Canadian township signs potential repository hosting agreement

21 March 2024

The agreement between the Township of Ignace and Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organization outlines the community's role and potential benefits, and is the next step in the ongoing process to select a site for a repository for the nation's used nuclear fuel.

Mayor Kim Baigrie (on the left) and NWMO President and CEO Laurie Swami sign the agreement (Image: NWMO)

The Ignace Council unanimously passed a resolution on 18 March to allow Mayor Kim Baigrie to sign the potential hosting agreement for the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

"We are proudly the first community in this willingness process to be out of the gate with NWMO by signing this historic agreement for the Township of Ignace," Baigrie said. "We certainly understand that the signing of this agreement does not mean that we are going to host a DGR or that we have decided as a community on our willingness to host a DGR. What it means is that we now have an accurate, clear, concise and signed agreement with NWMO of the economic and social components that we must consider as we decide to move forward on willingness."

The agreement is the "next logical step" in the process of staying engaged and advancing the willingness process.

The agreement will allow the Township to facilitate the DGR by building capacities to enable it to undertake tasks that will be assigned to it through the regulatory process to host the project. The new agreement is similar to, and will replace, the current Multi-Year Funding Agreement between the Township and NWMO but will provide more direct benefits to the community through the complete life cycle of the DGR project, the council said.

The NWMO launched the process to select a suitable site for the DGR for Canada's used nuclear fuel in 2010. The selected site must have the support of "informed and willing" hosts, and some 22 communities expressed interest in taking part in the process. In 2020, the NWMO announced that it had narrowed down the potential host site to two areas: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation (WLON)-Ignace area; and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area. Both are in Ontario.

The council said it expects to make a final decision "in mid-2024". It noted that the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation "will also have its own willingness process and the Township of Ignace respects that their decision will also be required to proceed".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News