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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Cumbrian politicians to meet minister in bid to revive nuclear store site search

Senior west Cumbrian politicians are to meet with energy secretary Ed Davey in an effort to revive the county’s search for an underground nuclear dump.

Elaine Woodburn photo
Elaine Woodburn

Supporters of the move to further investigate the area as a possible site for a £12 billion geological disposal facility to house higher level nuclear waste were bitterly disappointed by the Cumbria County Council vote last week to veto the proposal.

Copeland council Leader Elaine Woodburn said she accepted the Government’s process to win Cumbria-wide community approval for further geological assessments had now ended.

But she confirmed that she will join Copeland MP Jamie Reed, and Allerdale council Leader Alan Smith in a meeting with Mr Davey on February 13.

Elaine Woodburn announced the meeting on Twitter...


The move has infuriated opponents of the dump plan, who insist that it has no popular support.

But Mrs Woodburn said: “The purpose of moving on to stage four – the next stage of the process – was to gather the facts because we don’t yet know whether this area would be right geologically for this facility or wrong.

“What we have been left with now is the legacy of nuclear waste and no solution. We know there’s a problem and we actually had a potential solution, which the county council decision has let slip away.

“It’s okay closing the door on this if you have another solution but the county council doesn’t. It’s our moral responsibility to look at this, and I don’t think my community necessarily wants it stored here above ground for many, many years.

“We can’t just wash our hands of it; and we can’t just leave it to future generations as past generations have.”

Mrs Woodburn supported the principle that the community should decide whether the plan is to be further explored, saying there was more support for further exploring the dump plan in Copeland, where people were “more knowledgeable” about nuclear issues.

“I’m a strong believer that the community most affected should have the greatest say,” she said, claiming that some anti-dump petitions were based on factual inaccuracies.

Cumbria County Council leader Eddie Martin said: “There is no mandate for this. That’s one of the reasons you can’t inflict this undemocratically on people, and if you attempt to then you destabilise the democratic system.”

Marianne Birkby, of Radiation Free Lakeland, said: “They told us we could trust the Government’s Managing Radioactive Waste Safely process but now that it’s ended they want to continue and overturn the county council’s decision.

“There’s absolutely no mandate for continuing this process. The best we can do is make sure that what’s there is stored safely.”

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