ONE of the interested parties involved in the hunt to find a suitable site for a nuclear disposal facility have spoken about why they are involved.

Radioactive Waste Management, the public body responsible for planning and delivering geological disposal in the UK, is exploring the possibility of creating a geological disposal facility in Copeland.

They compiled four reports after receiving proposals from Copeland Council, Irton Hall Ltd, GenR8 North Ltd and Dave Faulkner (Copeland resident and ex-Sellafield manager).

Having determined there could be potential for a multimillion pound nuclear disposal facility in Copeland, the Copeland Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) Working Group was formed on November 4 to involve the community in discussions. Nuclear waste is currently stored above ground inside the Sellafield complex.

The GDF would involve taking the packaged waste hundreds of metres below the ground and placing it into tunnels or vaults before a backfill material would be added and the tunnel or vault sealed. Around it would be hundreds of metres of suitable geology, in other words, multiple layers of protection that contain and isolate the radioactive waste forever.

Irton Hall Ltd had interest in understanding the potential for inshore development, extending below the seabed, accessed from the coastal strip near the area of the Low Level Waste Repository site in Drigg

Steve Cotterill, owner of Irton Hall Ltd said: “The construction and operation of a GDF, wherever the eventual location is in the country, will have a massive economic impact for many decades. A long-term nuclear industry presence is vital for the West Cumbria business community, and for a business like ours, having year-round, reliable custom is essential.

"That, and the broader economic benefits it could bring, are why we think the prospect of a GDF in west Cumbria has to be explored.

"Our idea was the entry point to get the waste into the GDF should be as close as possible to Sellafield and we should look at the potential for the construction of the GDF itself, to be away from the coast and in rocks beneath the seabed.”

"With the continued interest we think we'd be able to form the community partnership having identified search areas," explained Mark Cullinan, Chairman of Copeland GDF Working Group.