South Bruce Delegation tours Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository in Finland

Representatives from South Bruce toured the deep geological repository (DGR) for high level nuclear waste in Finland last week.

Members of the delegation gathered outside of the Visitors Centre with the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in the background – for larger view click on image

Members of the community, South Bruce Council, the Community Liaison Committee members (CLC) and municipal staff had the opportunity to tour the Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository currently under construction, as well as the Encapsulation Plant and Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant.

The Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository is expected to begin operations in 2024, which will make it the world’s first functioning DGR. A meeting with Vesa Lakaniemi, the Mayor of Eurajoki, was also an important learning opportunity for tour participants. The Municipality of South Bruce is one of two final areas that the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is considering to securely store Canada’s used nuclear fuel in a DGR.

The opportunity to travel to Finland to learn about a leading international nuclear energy and nuclear waste storage program was an invaluable learning experience for attendees, particularly as the Municipality continues in the site selection process. The opportunity to see construction of a DGR firsthand helped participants gain a better understanding of the scope and scale of a DGR, and to learn about the effects it has on the host community.

“Virtual reality doesn’t do this project justice – actually standing more than 400 metres below the surface in the repository tunnels made me realize the size and scale at the actual repository depth. I found it interesting to learn about the Finnish program and the similarities/differences to the proposed NWMO project,” said Community Liaison Committee member Justin McKague.

“My recent tour of the Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository was very educational,” said Councillor Mike Niesen. “Although there are differences in the start to end product due to reactor types and encapsulation processes, I believe we are on the right path to making an informed decision that affects future generations, using a democratic process throughout it all.”

Participants will share their experiences with the community at a future CLC meeting. Presentations on various aspects of the project, including facilities at the Onkalo repository, community engagement and different phases of the Finnish project. Dates will be confirmed at the regularly scheduled meeting of the CLC on July 13.

Funding for the trip was provided by the NWMO as outlined in the Multi-Year Funding Agreement approved by council December 13, 2022. The NWMO has also sent delegations of stakeholders outside of South Bruce that are involved in the site selection process.

The Municipality will continue to host learning opportunities for the community. Subscribe to the Stay Connected email list to receive updates on future events and communications related to the Project.