Government launches new consultation on underground nuclear waste store
Published at 11:16, Thursday, 12 September 2013
The Government has reopened the debate on a proposed nuclear dump, potentially allowing Copeland and Allerdale to put their names forward to host an underground repository again.
The new consultation - which the Government says could allow areas to be represented by the most local competent authority, such as the district authority - closes in December before applications go in next year.
Copeland and Allerdale had to abandon their previous attempts to register an interest when the county council refused to back it. Today's announcement appears to suggest the county council would not be able to veto any district plans.
The News & Star revealed yesterday that the announcement was imminent and this morning the Department for Energy and Climate Change revealed its plans.
They said the government has launched a consultation on a revised proposed process for working with communities in order to agree a site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).
The multi-billion pound facility would be used to dispose of higher activity radioactive waste underground which the government said would "provide a permanent solution for the disposal of existing legacy waste, and waste from new nuclear power stations."
"Under the new approach, which Government is consulting on from today, communities would be provided with more information at an earlier stage in the process; a positive community-wide demonstration of support would be required before a community could host a GDF; and communities would have an on-going right to withdraw from the process," a statement said.
"Throughout the revised process being consulted on, communities would be represented by the most local competent authority, (the District Council or unitary authority in England, or relevant equivalent in Wales or Northern Ireland), who would have the right to withdraw the community from the siting process.
"The multi-billion pound infrastructure initiative could provide skilled employment for many thousands of people over its lifetime. Over 1,000 people would be employed on the site during its construction, with over 500 staff employed on average each year over the 100 year life of the facility."
Baroness Verma said: "Geological disposal is the right approach for the long-term, safe and secure management of the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste.
“Hosting a site would bring lasting economic benefits with jobs, opportunities for businesses, and a generous benefits package to support the community.
“We want to make sure those benefits are well understood and supported by all those in the area surrounding any host community.”
Bruce McKirdy, managing director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate, said: “For more than 50 years, we have all benefited from the use of clean and secure nuclear energy, but we have not successfully addressed the long term disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. Geological disposal is an internationally recognised technically sound solution for higher activity waste to protect people and our environment.
“As the body responsible for the design, development and delivery of a geological disposal facility, we look forward to working with communities, stakeholders and the Government to take responsibility for our past and avoid passing the burden of legacy waste to future generations.”
The process to select a site would vary according to the specific needs of the community but could take around 15 years, with construction taking a further 15 years.
Government will consult on this new approach until December 5 and will then re-launch the national site selection process in 2014.
As part of the consultation, a series of events will be run across the country with the public and interested parties.
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
How about constructing a giant pyramid to store the wastes! Jobs for the locals, would become the 9th Wonder of the World, tourists flocking to West Cumbria to gaze in awe and wonder! Great boost to the economy! Thousands of years from now our offspring would be astonished by the treasures discovered inside! Any 'Tomb Raiders' however would find a little something too 'hot' to handle!
I did post somewhere the suggestion that we should fire the wastes into space! Having second thoughts, the launch may fail and the wastes fall back to earth in a sparcely populated area, leaving the poor natives with the mess to clean up! (Sound like Copeland anyone?) However the bonus would have been, Not In My Back Yard!
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