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Low and intermediate-level waste storage containers sunk into the ground at a nuclear waste storage facility.

Background on the Deep Geologic Repository

Since the 1970s Ontario Power Generation has maintained a record of safely storing waste from the Pickering, Darlington and Bruce nuclear stations.

In 2001, the Municipality of Kincardine approached OPG to jointly develop a long-term disposal facility for low and intermediate level waste at the Bruce nuclear site.

The result was the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR), an initiative with community support, regulatory backing, and a solution supporting Ontario’s long-term energy needs. 

Site-specific recommendations

An Independent Assessment Study identified three options that were technically feasible and capable of safely storing the waste:

  • A deep geologic repository (DGR)
  • An enhanced processing, treatment and long-term storage
  • A covered, above ground concrete vault

In 2004, the Municipality of Kincardine - by resolution - endorsed moving forward with the DGR because of its higher safety margins.​

DGR step by step

See how the DGR is a collaborative and constructive effort between OPG, our partners, and the community that considers the peace of mind, safety and energy concerns of Ontarians.

Following the Municipality of Kincardine’s resolution, OPG and the Municipality of Kincardine signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in April 2002, which set out the terms to develop a plan for the long-term management of low and intermediate level waste at the Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) located on the Bruce site.

After the Independent Assessment Study Report, Kincardine Council passed a resolution on April 21, 2004 (Kincardine Council #2004-232) to:

"...endorse the opinion of the Nuclear Waste Steering Committee and select the "Deep Rock Vault" option as the preferred course of study in regards to the management of low and intermediate level radioactive waste"

This was because the DGR had the highest margin of safety and is consistent with best international practice.

Surrounding municipalities that also expressed support for the DGR proposal include:

  • Saugeen Shores
  • Brockton
  • Arran-Elderslie
  • Huron-Kinloss

The Kincardine Council indicated they preferred the Deep Geologic Repository because:

  • It provides the highest level of safety of any option.
  • There will be a rigorous environmental assessment and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulatory process.
  • The DGR will permanently isolate the low and intermediate level waste stream, much of which is already stored on site.
  • No high level waste or used nuclear fuel would be allowed.

Hosting agreements are commonly used in jurisdictions across Canada and internationally for communities that support the location of a long-term waste management facility.

The Hosting Agreement was signed on October 13, 2004. It includes the following provisions:

  • OPG will design, license, construct and operate a deep geologic repository for low and intermediate level waste streams currently stored at the WWMF.
  • Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Huron-Kinloss, Arran-Elderslie and Brockton will be paid over 30 years subject to achieving key milestones.
  • No used fuel would be stored in the DGR.
  • Kincardine Council obtains endorsement from Kincardine residents.

On Feb. 14, 2018 during a regular Municipality of Kincardine Council Meeting, the Kincardine Council voted in favour on ratification of the 2018 Amending Agreement for the 2004 DGR Hosting Agreement.

Kincardine Council sought endorsement for the hosting agreement from Kincardine residents through a community poll.

A community education plan put in place provided all residents an opportunity to obtain information about the DGR concept and the hosting agreement.

Telephone polls by an independent party took place in January and February 2005, and efforts were made to contact each household and each eligible resident by either telephone or mail. Seasonal residents were mailed a copy of the question and asked to respond by mail.

Of the 5,257 households deemed eligible to contribute to the poll (according to 2001 Statistics Canada Census), 3,763 participated. This represented 6,778 individual votes, and Kincardine Council accepted the results as indicating sufficient support to move forward with the Hosting Agreement for the DGR.

Kincardine community poll

60% Voted yes

To host the DGR in community

22% Voted no

To hosting the DGR

13% Neutral

To the DGR in Kincardine

5% No opinion

Of the DGR in their community

Expert perspectives

Watch international scientists discuss the role of a DGR.