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South Bruce moving ahead to step three in site selection process

The municipality of South Bruce has resolved to continue learning about Canada’s plan for managing used nuclear fuel over the long term. This involves the selection of a host community for a deep geological repository that will safely store high-level nuclear waste – spent fuel – permanently.

A number of communities across Canada, including some in Bruce County, have expressed interest in learning more about the selection process. South Bruce is among them.

At its Nov. 27 meeting, council passed a resolution approving moving forward to the next step, the preliminary assessment of potential feasibility – feasibility studies (step three). The entire selection process is expected to take seven to 10 years.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has stressed two key points in the selection process – that the site must be safe and secure, and the host community must be informed and willing. The final step in the process requires a clear demonstration of support from the community. Mayor Bill Goetz has stated on various occasions council does not make the final decision, the people of the community do.

However, the selection process is nowhere near that point.

The facility is not expected to be in operation until 2035 at the earliest.

In a press release last week, Goetz said, “We have decided to continue learning so that people in our community can make an informed decision based on safety criteria and full knowledge of the potential social and economic impacts this project could have on the municipality…”

Goetz further stated, “Council will also establish a community liaison committee to broaden citizen involvement in the siting process and to work on behalf of the municipality… as the preliminary assessment studies proceed.”

The press release stated step three is a two-phase feasibility study to determine if South Bruce has the potential to meet the detailed requirements for the repository. The first phase, which could take a year or more, will explore four questions:

• Is there the potential to find a safe site?

• Is there the potential to foster the well-being of the community through the implementation of the project, and what might need to be put in place to ensure this outcome?

• Is there the potential for citizens of the community to continue to be interested in exploring the project through subsequent steps in the selection process?

• Is there the potential to foster the well-being of the surrounding area and to establish the foundation to move forward with the project?

The NWMO will provide resources (funding) to South Bruce as it continues to explore interest in the project. Neighbouring communities and potentially affected Aboriginal communities will be involved in exploring the feasibility of the project. They, too, will be eligible for funding appropriate to support their participation.

Additional information is available at the NWMO website: www.nwmo.ca/sitingprocess.

During the Feb. 12 council meeting, council looked at the terms of reference drafted for the formation of the citizen liaison committee. The committee will be made up of five interested citizens and two members of council.

Council is seeking letters of interest from people in South Bruce interested in being part of the committee. What council is looking for is interested, unbiased individuals who are willing to learn more while respecting the views of others. Letters of interest should be sent to the CAO Sharon Chambers, outlining skills and experience that would be an asset to the committee, reasons for wanting to serve on the committee, what they hope to a accomplish as a committee member, and a brief summary of their current knowledge of the subject.

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