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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Expert warns over nuclear dump sites

A RADIATION expert has urged the county council to commission independent research before volunteering West Cumbria as site for burying nuclear waste.

But the council’s cabinet decided at a meeting in Workington to go ahead and express an interest in a nuclear waste repository.

A recent White Paper invited local authorities to volunteer to have nuclear waste sites in return for investment in roads and schools.

But Dr Ian Fairlie, a consultant on radioactivity who has advised the European Parliament, warned councillors on Tuesday to think carefully.

He pointed to research in Germany, which showed an increased incidence of cancer and leukaemia around nuclear installations.

Dr Fairlie said: “We are sleepwalking through radiation risks when the rest of Europe is agog.

“Before you take the momentous step of having a high-level waste repository, you should commission independent scientists to give you guidance.”

He spoke at the meeting on behalf of South Lakeland Friends of Earth, but council leader Stewart Young said the council had a duty to enter into talks given that 70 per cent of Britain’s nuclear waste was stored at Sellafield.

Mr Young said: “For the county council not to be part of this process would be extremely remiss. There needs to be a strong voice at the table, talking to government, challenging their assumptions and seeking expert advice on the issues.”

Copeland council has already decided to make an expression of interest, and Allerdale may follow.

The county council’s expression refers initially to Copeland but will be extended to the whole of West Cumbria if Allerdale agrees.

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