elliott lake, ontario

When it comes to nuclear waste, there is often a lot of "not in my backyard" sentiment.

First Nations communities in the Elliott Lake area say the gates to the backyard are firmly shut even though business leaders there are on board with being considered a long-term storage site for nuclear waste.

The North Shore Tribal Council said there's going to be opposition to the area becoming a nuclear waste storage site. The council represents seven First Nations across the North Shore of Lake Huron.

Tribal Council CEO Alan Ozawanimke said the chiefs have one message for the nuclear waste management group looking around Canada for potential sites: "Don't waste your financial resources if you plan to conduct a study in this area because they're going to oppose it."

However, the Elliot Lake and North Shore Corporation for Business Development is hoping to be chosen by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

The NWMO is federally mandated to look after Canada's spent fuel when it comes to long term storage.

William Elliott, general manager for the Elliot Lake group, said becoming a storage site would mean millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs. And this would be boon to the economically challenged area.

"If we have the geology, we have the expertise, we have the history, why wouldn't we do it?" he said. "And all the economic benefit is kind of the icing on the cake."

Other places in the region under consideration for possible (nuclear waste) storage sites include Wawa, Hornepayne and several places near Thunder Bay.