Nuclear dump under fire
The session, organised by the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, took place in Millom Network Centre and was attended by more than 100 people. The partnership was formed in 2008 after the government launched a search for an underground storage facility for nuclear waste.
Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council are so far the only authorities to register their interest. However, the decision on whether to have the facility rests with the public. The site would be situated between 200m and 1,000m below the surface and despite an initial geological survey being completed, no potential sites would be named for another five to 10 years. Millom hosted the first of 10 drop-in sessions to gauge public opinion to the scheme, as part of an ongoing consultation.
Frances Rand, of Silecroft, voiced concerns for tourism in the county. She said: “I find it horrifying to think anything could spoil the National Park – it is one of our national treasures. It brings an enormous amount of money into the area through tourism but as soon as you start to mention nuclear waste, tourism could be gone.” Martin Forewood, chairman of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said a surface storage facility provided a better option. He said: “We don’t believe a geological storage facility is the right management option. “We would like to see long term above ground storage of waste. An underground facility would create few jobs and there would be no access to it. We were asked at the outset to join the partnership but we declined. It is simply following a process that will end up with an underground storage facility in west Cumbria.”
Councillor Jack Park dismissed Mr Forewood’s claims.
He said: “Nuclear waste exists and it is no good turning a blind eye to the fact.
“The safest way to store it is in a geological facility – they have done them in Sweden and Finland and they worked. “If it was local, it would create jobs. No-one wants the waste transported all over the country. “Above-ground storage is a short-term solution.”
Copeland Borough Council representative on the MRWS partnership, Councillor Elaine Woodburn, said: “This community is always vocal and in processes like this it is what we need. We are not just going through the motions. The public consultations are probably one of the most important things the partnership does.
“Knowing whether this is right, or wrong, for the community is important.”
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