Of five Bruce County communities initially in the running, two remain in contention to host an underground nuclear waste repository.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) says the Municipality of South Bruce and the Township of Huron-Kinloss both have strong potential and more detailed studies will now take place.

The Municipality of Brockton was not selected after the first phase of preliminary assessment was completed and the communities of Arran-Elderslie and Saugeen Shores were ruled out in January.

Kathryn Shaver, vice-president of APM Engagement and Site Selection at the NWMO, said in a statement, “As we prepare for increasingly detailed field studies and engagement, we need to narrow our focus to areas with strong potential for meeting strict safety requirements and for the project to align with the community’s long-term vision.”

It is still very early in the process though, and officials say no communities are yet being asked to confirm it wants to host the project.

The preliminary assessment is the third step in a nine step, multi-year process for evaluating suitable locations for a deep geological repository for Canada's used nuclear fuel.

The next steps include community engagement and preliminary fieldwork to assess whether the site would meet technical safety requirements.

It is expected to take several more years before a site that is suitable and includes "an informed and willing host" is selected.

Assessment also continues in 11 other Ontario and Saskatchewan communities.