Canada’s nuclear waste won’t be coming to Creighton.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced Tuesday morning that the geology around the community cannot safely accommodate an underground waste repository.
“The studies show that there is limited potential to meet safety requirements of the project in the Creighton area,” Kathryn Shaver, vice-president of site selection for NWMO, wrote in a letter to the Town of Creighton.
“In light of these findings, the NWMO will now conclude studies in your community. Safety, security and protection of people and the environment are central to the siting process, and it is important that we are guided by these findings concerning geoscientific suitability.”
The decision stemmed from geological work NWMO carried out on land near Creighton last year.
NWMO announced that Schreiber, Ontario, has also been removed from consideration because of geological concerns.
Shaver thanked both communities.
“The NWMO is grateful for the opportunity to work and learn with the people of Creighton and Schreiber,” Shaver said in a news release. “These communities should be proud of all they’ve done to help advance this important national infrastructure project.”
For Creighton, the news caps a regional conversation that divided many residents.
Creighton never applied to host the repository, only to engaged in a years-long learning process around it.
The town joined that process in late 2010, several months after town councillors visited a NWMO information kiosk.
Council discussed the concept at length and ultimately toured a Pickering, Ontario, nuclear power facility where radioactive waste is currently stored on site.
Over the following four years, NWMO took part in a series of public presentations and community meetings designed to educate residents on what is known – and not known – about nuclear waste storage.
It will take several more years of technical, scientific and social study and assessments, and more engagement with interested regions, before NWMO confirms a repository site.
Still in the running are the Ontario communities of Blind River, Central Huron, Elliot Lake, Hornepayne, Huron-Kinloss, Ignace, Manitouwadge, South Bruce and White River.
The repository is not expected to be operational until 2035 at the earliest. The project carries an estimated price tag as high as $24 billion.
See Wednesday’s print edition of The Reminder for more on this story.