Land access agreed for Canadian repository studies

27 January 2020

Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO) has signed agreements with landowners in South Bruce, Ontario to allow access to land for studies at a potential location for a deep geological repository.

Darren Ireland is one of the South Bruce landowners who has entered into an agreement with the NWMO (Image: CNW Group/NWMO

South Bruce is one of two areas remaining in the NWMO's long-term selection process to identify by 2023 a single, preferred location for a repository for Canada's used nuclear fuel with informed and willing hosts. The other potential area where studies are continuing is at Ignace, also in Ontario.

The NWMO has since May 2019 worked with local landowners to aggregate nearly 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of land north-west of Teeswater. Darren Ireland, a local farmer and landowner who has entered into an agreement with the NWMO, said: "We understand that this project has the potential to bring long-term benefits to the area, and we want to be part of building a sustainable, prosperous community for everyone now and in the future."

The NWMO expects to begin studies such as borehole drilling and baseline environmental monitoring to assess the suitability of the area "in the coming months", Vice-President of Site Selection Mahrez Ben Belfadhel said. "The identification of a potential repository site in South Bruce is an important milestone for Canada's plan, providing confidence that the organisation can proceed with technical site evaluations and social studies in this area. This is the result of months of hard work and effort on behalf of the municipalities, local landowners and the NWMO," he said.

Agreements reached with local landowners include a combination of option and purchase arrangements that allow the NWMO to conduct studies and landowners to continue using the land, including through leaseback arrangements. If the site is selected to host the repository, the NWMO would purchase the optioned land. It will also continue discussions with landowners in the vicinity of the potential site over the coming months and years to further aggregate additional land in the area to form a site of about 1500 acres, it said.

Two boreholes have already been drilled at the potential repository site at Ignace, which lies on Crown land - that is, land owned by the federal or provincial government.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News