A FORMER Sellafield manager has revealed why he is interested in a nuclear waste disposal site in west Cumbria.

Radioactive Waste Management, the public body responsible for planning and delivering UK geological disposal, is exploring the possibility of creating a facility in Copeland. It compiled four reports after receiving proposals from Copeland Council, Irton Hall Ltd, GenR8 North Ltd and Copeland resident and ex-Sellafield manager Dave Faulkner.

Having determined there could be potential for such a facility in the borough, the Copeland Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) Working Group was formed last month to involve the community in discussions. Nuclear waste is currently stored above ground at Sellafield.

Mr Faulkner is interested in the potential for existing developed land in the south of Copeland to be repurposed as an access point for an underground facility that would avoid visual impact, and was interested in the potential for inshore development, below the seabed, accessed from the south of Copeland, with attendant benefits for communities from local infrastructure development and employment.

Mr Faulkner said: “Working at Sellafield, I had an interest in the long-term future of solutions to the problem of higher activity radioactive waste, and while I followed the development of the Nirex and the MRWS processes several years ago, I wasn’t involved. Most of those discussions centred around the north of Copeland, and I wondered why the south wasn’t discussed.

“When the new policy was published in 2018, I realised anyone could propose an idea and the investigation process itself could bring financial benefits to the community, irrespective of the end result. There are areas in the south of Copeland that are outside the National Park and the proposed extension of its boundary, so there’s potential for regeneration and the inward investment and jobs that could bring.

“My initial enquiry was as a private individual but my role as a Parish Councillor means that I am always looking for opportunities to enable improvements for the community in Bootle and the surrounding area through the South Copeland Partnership.

“With a project of this significance, I was genuinely curious about the potential, hence putting forward an idea and getting involved, so I hope local people start to engage with the process.”