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Don’t let Cumbria become ‘sacrifice’ zone, say anti-nuclear dump campaigners

Campaigners fighting moves to create a new underground nuclear dump say Cumbria could become an atomic “sacrifice” zone.

Marianne Birkby photo
Marianne Birkby

They have launched an online petition against the proposals as work to find a possible site for a store in the county continues.

Radiation Free Lakeland, one of the organisers involved in the anti-dump campaign, says it and its supporters will also soon be taking to the streets to drum up further backing.

They have major fears over the impact that any new nuclear dump could have on the sensitive Lake District landscape.

And the environmentalists are calling on major players in the county’s lucrative visitor industry to back their corner in the debate.

Group spokeswoman Marianne Birkby said: “Cumbria is being led up the garden path to becoming a full-scale nuclear sacrifice zone and the gate is being held wide open by those who should be slamming it shut. Movers and shakers in Cumbria who should be leading the charge inshouting from the top of Scafell to oppose this plan are going along with it.

“The Government agenda is to mine a huge holedeeper than Scafell is high, in order to start burying nuclear waste by 2029 – that is only 15 years away.”

Anti-dump campaigners have already pointed to Wasdale, Eskdale, Ennerdale and Kinniside, and Muncaster as possible locations for a nuclear waste repository up to four times the size of Sellafield and as big as the Channel Tunnel.

Suggestions that specific sites have been earmarked have been refuted by the group behind the nuclear store study, the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safety Partnership.

The decision on whether to search West Cumbria for somewhere suitable todispose of nuclear waste will be made in the autumn by Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria County councils.

Councillor Tim Knowles, the radioactive partnership’s chairman, last week stressed that no sites were being investigated ahead of that decision.

He said: “The only review carried out has been by the British Geological Survey looking for mineral deposits and water which might be used by future generations which primarily ruled out the coastal strip along the length of west Cumbria. No other analysis has been done. If you take away the area ruled out it still leaves 700 square miles from Silloth to Millom.”

Seventy per cent of the country’s high-level nuclear waste is currently stored above ground at Sellafield. Research has suggested it would be safest to store the waste below ground.

The MRWS says a telephone poll of more than 3,000 adults in Cumbria suggested a majority were in support of having the storage facility here.

The organisation that represents town and parish councils in the county is, however, opposed to the plan.

Have your say

The geology is unsuitable. There is a fault line at Hard Knott; this was proven when we experienced an earth quake in Cumbria not too long ago, I think it set off in Ambleside and we felt it on the coast?
We need to think of the future, but just money and jobs that would come in handy now.
Most of these jobs would probably just go to contractors from away anyway; like a lot do now on Sellafield. Spin doctors always make out like it would create a lot of jobs for locals. It may create more opportunities for boarding houses while the dump was being built...And then an awful legacy for future generations to deal with. SAY NO to Cumbria being used as a dumping ground!!!

Posted by Stephanie on 28 August 2012 at 15:37

Vote nuclear dump in West Cumbria!

It will provide a few jobs.

Then the economy recovers.

Then jobs begin to be created in other sectors as has happened after all other recessions throughout history.

Then local people reflect on agreeing with the decision to dump in Cumbria and realise what a mistake that was and how it might affect future generations.

Then the fat nuclear cat non Cumbrians rub their hands and reflect on how handy the double dip recession was in 2012.

How fickle people can be.

Posted by Thomas Dolby on 13 August 2012 at 23:34

View all 14 comments on this article

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