Digging underway at NWMO’s borehole site

NWMO's second borehole site.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is working on obtaining more rock samples near Teeswater to learn about any potential risks of digging a Deep Geological Repository. 

Geoscientist for NWMO, Martin Sykes, says drilling for samples is complete at the first borehole, and work has now begun on the second, where minerals will be taken from 900 metres below the surface to be studied. .

“That’s the big step, going from a regional understanding to having a first real look at those rocks. And all of that information, essentially, feeds into an understanding of the safety and suitability of this potential repository,” said Sykes. 

The samples will give them a better understanding of what to expect underground.

“From these boreholes, we hope to confirm our understanding of the regional geology, of which we have a very good idea already. We also need to know what exactly are the rocks and the condition of these rocks at the potential repository site itself,” added Sykes. 

While borehole drilling is a an important part of the project it’s not the only part.

“Being able to look at the two boreholes and put information together gives us confidence in the geology in the area, but it’s one part of a much larger program. We have other activities like 3-D Seismic, shallow water wells, and various other activities that are being completed,” stated Sykes.

The analyses from the boreholes will take many months to get back, so information gathered from their other activities will prove vital. 

Sykes says he recognizes some uncertainty from members of the public regarding the safety surrounding the repository but says that’s exactly why they’re doing such extensive testing.