Community Matters: Nuclear Innovation Institute a special opportunity for region

Let’s start a new conversation about what we can do together, and what our future will look like.

We have something very special in our region with the opportunities being presented by the Bruce Power Life-Extension Program, and I’m so proud to live, work and raise a family in the town in which I grew up.

    James Scongack           Executive Vice-President, Corporate Affairs&Operational            Services

We also have unique opportunities to leverage our global position within the nuclear industry, with nearly 40 companies having expanded or opened their business here. Bruce County and our communities are poised to become an international centre of excellence, while improving opportunities for young people and creating educational experiences for students in rural Ontario that, unfortunately, are usually just available to students in cities.

A big driver of this will be the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII), a joint venture of Bruce Power and the County of Bruce, which was launched in May. Since then, a number of global companies have expressed a desire to partner in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, cyber-security, medical and industrial isotopes, Indigenous economic development, nuclear operational excellence, and health and environmental excellence in the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay areas.

Unfortunately, our proposed site, adjacent to the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, was met with unexpected opposition, so we have decided to search for an alternate location in 2019. In the meantime, we have opened a temporary location and information centre in the office of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI), at 625 Goderich St., Port Elgin.

Moving forward, it is critical we demonstrate to the interested companies from across the globe that the NII is supported by the host community, and that, despite the temporary set-back, we recognize the fact the NII remains an incredible opportunity for us to change the world from the rural shores of Lake Huron. That should be our focus as we move forward.

These initiatives only happen with very dedicated people, who work countless hours behind the scenes to put together the plans and get things done. We’ve been fortunate to have strong leadership in creating this vision from Mike Rencheck, Frank Saunders, Kelley Coulter, Cathy McGirr, County council and staff, Saugeen Shores council and staff, and many others. While our journey continues, I want to recognize these people for their hard work and leadership to advance something that is positive, visionary, and worthy of a larger discussion.

So let’s move forward, set a positive tone, and show our support for what I feel is the real question: “Do you believe our region should be the centre of excellence for the world’s nuclear industry, and are we up to the challenge of carrying this banner and creating opportunities that will last for generations?”

For me, the answer to this question is a resounding yes

Learn more at and, as always, you can contact me at or on Twitter @jscongack.