Welcome to the Spanish Community Liason Office (NWMO)
The purpose of the office and the Community Liaison Committee (CLC) is to provide a place and a forum in our community for interested residents, businesses, local organizations, special interest groups and other stakeholders, including our First Nation/Anishnawbek and municipal neighbours to explore and learn more about a major industrial proposal our community is considering. The Town of Spanish municipal Council and the CLC are learning more about the benefits and drawbacks of potentially partnering with the federally-mandated Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) which has the responsibility for managing the long-term storage of Canada’s used nuclear fuel. Health, safety, community well-being and the environment are of paramount concern. The Council and CLC want and need your input. Our office is located in the Gignac Square Building on Highway #17 in downtown Spanish. Robert Porter is our CLC Coordinator.
Spanish might be eliminated from this process for a variety of reasons but if the right kind of rock formation is found and if we are asked and if the local citizens and Town Council agree then such a partnership could see the Town of Spanish hosting a storage facility for the nation’s used nuclear fuel (the fuel removed from nuclear power reactors) that will be constructed deep underground in a suitable stable rock formation, known as a Deep Geological Repository, or DGR. Once a site is selected somewhere in Canada and all the environmental and local approvals are in place and the high-tech underground repository is built then over the course of many years used Canadian-only nuclear fuel will be transported to the repository. Then when the used fuel emplacement process is completed and the DGR sealed and decommissioned then it will be monitored for as long as is necessary. It’s forecast to be an 80-100 year project before decommissioning.
No partnership should proceed without the informed consent of the parties involved. This potential partnership is no different. The nuclear waste managers certainly understand what they are proposing, but generally speaking, average Canadians are not accustomed to dealing with decisions involving nuclear waste every day – and certainly not with evaluating the geological suitability of their own community to act as a host for a repository site for the nation’s used nuclear fuel. But we are the experts on our own community so it will be us here in Spanish that will ultimately decide should we be asked to host a DGR. The support of our neighbouring communities will be essential too.
At the moment we are committed to nothing except to Learn More about the proposed project. Furthermore we have not been asked to make any final decision. We are only exploring what potential impacts it could have on our community should such a project ever happen here. During this same time period Blind River, North Shore Township and Elliot Lake are going through this same process. Each community is in this process because it volunteered to obtain more information. No decision to go ahead with any long-term partnership with NWMO will be made without a meaningful expression of consent from hichever community is selected. It is important that everyone in our community join us in the learning process so that we are able to make an informed choice in the future if we are asked to decide whether the proposed DGR might be a good fit for the Town. Interestingly, it may be reasonable to assume that much of the current inventory of used nuclear fuel, now temporarily stored at the mostly Ontario power plants, was originally produced from uranium mined in the Elliot Lake area. A DGR site somewhere in Canada will eventually be found.
The process of selecting a site is expected to take a number of years. Spanish is among a list of 21 communities that are also Learning More about the project. As we learn more, geologists and other scientists are also learning more about our rock and our community. Detailed geological studies will be conducted to ensure that a DGR can safely and securely hold the nuclear fuel waste that would be placed about a half kilometer down in the rock in a state-of-the-art, hi-tech underground warehouse. To be clear the used nuclear fuel is not dumped into an open hole. Warehousing used nuclear fuel is a high tech reverse mining operation in which small quantities of the material are first placed in durable and robust steel/copper containers and then stored in individual niches carved into the rock. In association with a DGR a Center of Excellence for scientists and visitors will also be built.
As the “learning” progresses, more in-depth social and economic research studies will be conducted to determine the Town’s suitability to host the project. Should Spanish remain in the siting process until the final stage every eligible elector in the Town will have the opportunity to vote in a secret ballot on whether to proceed with the project or not – this vote is guaranteed to take place if we get that far in the process.
Please join us in Learning More so that you too can help make a meaningful and informed decision! Our Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meetings are open to the public.
The link to our webpage is as follows – http://clcinfo.ca/spanish
Let’s Talk. Let’s Learn More Together.
Come in and see us at the Spanish Community Liaison Office when you can. Drop in or call to make an appointment to talk to someone to share your thoughts or concerns, or to ask a question or two. We are located on Front Street in Unit #3 of the Gignac Square Mall. The sign on the window says APM Learn More Centre.
We try to stay open about fifteen hours per week alternating on a biweekly schedule. One week, our main hours are on Monday and Wednesday. The next week, we are open Tuesday and Thursday. Every second week, we are open until 7:00 pm for those who work or are otherwise unable to come in during the daytime, and every third Saturday (of a full week) we are open from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
The Spanish Community Liaison Committee holds regular monthly meetings in our office. Meetings are scheduled on the Thursday evening (7:30pm) of the third full week of every month. Everyone is welcome to attend, listen and ask questions.
If you like, you can write to us or give us a call. Let us know what you think, ask a question, set up a personal visit or suggest what we can be doing better to engage you in the process.
By Snail Mail
Spanish Community Liaison Committee
107 Front Street (Hwy 17 West), Unit #3
PO Box 476
Spanish, Ontario P0P 2A0
Or call and make an appointment.