Nuclear dump could be as big as Workington
Last updated at 12:21, Friday, 24 August 2012
An underground nuclear dump in West Cumbria would be about the size of Workington, a report has revealed.
West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, which published its final report this week, said it would take at least 15 years to find a site.
Twenty-five per cent of West Cumbria has already been ruled out as unsuitable for an underground nuclear waste dump, the report said, and more work would be needed before it would be known if any of the area would be able to host the site.
It added that most members felt it was appropriate to do more geological studies after any decision to move to the next stage.
But, it said, some felt more work should be done to evaluate the prospects of finding a suitable site before a decision on whether to proceed is made.
The report said: “It is impossible to say whether a suitable site could ultimately be found or not.
“The decision-making bodies should therefore be aware of the distinct possibility that, if the search proceeds, a site may never be found.”
The report said some partnership members also believed that reasonable alternatives to other sites, disposal methods and processes should be investigated before a decision was made.
The partnership has spent three years examining issues surrounding the possibility of West Cumbria hosting deep geological facilities for nuclear waste.
Its report will be considered by Cumbria County Council, Allerdale council and Copeland council on October 11 when they are each due to decide whether they want the area to move on to the next step.
That would involve desktop studies to identify possible locations and assess issues such as geology and potential impacts.
The stage after that would involve geological investigations using bore holes.
For either borough to continue in the process, both the borough council and county council would have to vote in favour, backed by a decision by the Government.
If the process did continue, the partnership has recommended a co-ordinated strategy and action plan to support aspects of the area’s economy such as tourism, land-based business and the food and drink sectors which could be affected by a repository.
The Government has said more than one disposal facility may be needed but a commitment to host one dump in an area does not automatically mean the same community would have a second one.
A single repository is the Government’s favoured option.
The anticipated footprint of the underground facilities ranges from 2.32 square miles to 8.88 square miles, depending on rock type and the amount and type of waste to be disposed of.
The area in Workington is 2.47 square miles.
All county councillors will have a chance to vote on September 5 to make a recommendation to cabinet.
Allerdale councillors can do the same on September 19 and can also make representations to a nuclear issues working group meeting on September 6.
The working group meeting will not be open to the public.
Copeland councillors will make their recommendation on September 26.
If the decision was made for the process to continue, a partnership would be set up to work with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and other interested parties.
The Government has said deep geological disposal is the best way to dispose of higher activity radioactive waste.
The waste is currently stored above ground at 36 UK sites, with most of it at Sellafield.
Cumbria Association of Local Councils has written to county and borough councillors urging them to delay their decision.
Keith Hitchen, association chairman, said a decision on whether to proceed to the next stage of the process should not be taken until more was known on the area’s possible suitability.
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First published at 11:52, Friday, 24 August 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Which begs the question,Why bother with a new dump when you already have Workington?
Big Col says....Anyone who lives & works in the west of the county should welcome this with open arms, I donÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt know anyone who is a local who is opposed to this - bring it on.I'm a local and am dead against this (Maybe you should get out a bit more Col)Robert says...why not build it on silloth airfield,ideal site,good roads around.
A good few years Silloth was outside the catchment area for employment at Sellafield now they would like to perhaps bury their rubbish here....No thanks I'd rather have no activity than radioactivity!
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