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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Sellafield workers back west Cumbria nuclear repository site search

Sellafield workers have urged senior councillors to move onto the next stage of studies ahead of a crunch decision over nuclear storage.

The plea has gone out to members of three local authorities – Cumbria County, Copeland and Allerdale councils – to go to the next level of feasibility studies into a disposal site for radioactive waste in west Cumbria.

Ahead of a decision on Wednesday, the arguments for and against the move will be debated by MPs, scientists, nuclear workers and industry leaders at a seminar in Carlisle today.

Kevin Coyne, a national officer with Unite and the chairman of Trade Unions for Safe Nuclear Energy, said: “The people of Cumbria will not be making any commitments to a geological disposal facility by agreeing to continue with this study.

“What the workers at Sellafield want is a full and proper investigation into the feasibility of such a facility in Cumbria. Only then can we consider how best to proceed.

“Britain has been searching for a national waste repository for over 30 years. In the meantime Sellafield workers have the responsibility of looking after most of this radioactive waste.

“It is not going to go away. Good science needs to prevail in order for Cumbria and the rest of the UK to resolve how we deal with this important issue.”

Wednesday’s decision by the three councils will decide whether or not to proceed to stage four of investigations into the feasibility of a suitable site.

The UK has been searching for a solution to the problem of long-term storage for more than 30 years and the Sellafield workforce currently has the responsibility of looking after most of that waste.

Craig Dobson, secretary of the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign, said the workforce would be more involved in the next stage because if the project was to go ahead it would be their “working lives which will be most affected”.

He added: “It is in that context, and in that spirit, that we say to our communities – don’t condemn us to another 30 years of drift and delay.

“Give us some trust, and we won’t let you down.”

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