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Ignace makes its nuclear hosting decision

The township will continue as a potential host community for a deep geological repository.
Ignace willingness committee member Roger Dufault and consultant Chela Breckon pose for a photo before a special meeting of Ignace council on July 10, 2024.

IGNACE – This township along Highway 17 has made its decision: It would gladly be a host community for a nuclear waste repository.

Roger Dufault, chair of the Township of Ignace’s resident ad hoc committee, told Ignace council in a special meeting held Wednesday afternoon that the committee recommends Ignace continue as a potential host community for a deep geological repository or DGR.

Councillors subsequently voted unanimously to accept the committee’s recommendation.

The decision is to be passed on to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), the industry-funded body that wants to build a deep geological repository for millions of used fuel rods from Canadian reactors.

The special meeting took all of 26 minutes to transpire. Afterwards, Mayor Kim Baigrie pledged continued engagement with residents on both sides of the debate.

“Absolutely,” she said. “And the door will always be open at the Learn More Centre in the community. Anyone who wants to learn more can actually go there, and we will encourage anyone that wants information to go there.”

When the NWMO invited Canadian municipalities to express interest in being a potential host community in 2010, Ignace was one of many to answer in the positive.

The plan is to build a large repository hundreds of metres underground for the storage of spent nuclear fuel from Canadian reactors.

The NWMO has shortened the list of candidate sites for the facility to just two. One lies south of Highway 17 between Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation and Ignace; the other is in South Bruce, a municipality in Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s traditional territory near Lake Huron.

Site selection is scheduled to happen by the end of 2024 after potential host communities indicate willingness.

Whichever site is selected, the NWMO does not expect to begin construction until about 10 years later.

The Township of Ignace in February signed a hosting agreement that says Ignace will communicate to the NWMO by the end of July whether the township is still interested in hosting the repository.

The NWMO still awaits a willingness decision from Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, on whose territory the Revell Lake site stands.

Wabigoon Lake has not set a date or question for a referendum of its members aged 15 and over.

The Municipality of South Bruce has a referendum scheduled for late October.

Saugeen Ojibway Nation has said it won’t hold a community vote on the issue until next year.

Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After working at newspapers across the Prairies, Mike found where he belongs when he moved to Northwestern Ontario.
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