Underground radioactive waste repository

The West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, which is running the public consultation on the search for a site for a deep underground radioactive waste repository, has issued a statement about its work

West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership is running the consultation until March 23.


The partnership, which involves a range of local organisations, was set up to help Allerdale, Copeland and the county councils decide whether or not the area should take part in the Government’s search for a site.

Although there would still be a right to withdraw from this process during the search for a possible site, the decision that needs to be made now is an important one.

Higher-activity waste is currently stored above ground, the majority of it at Sellafield.

Geological disposal is based on the idea that radiation can be contained for extremely long periods by a combination of engineered underground structures and the surrounding rocks.

A repository would be located between 656ft and 3,280ft underground.

The underground facilities could be anywhere between approximately one and four times the size of the Sellafield site.

It is estimated that the surface facilities would be around 0.6sq miles and they could be either above the underground facilities or up to 6.2miles away, possibly further.

The partnership has spent more than two years looking at a wide range of issues, including bringing in independent experts and commissioning research.

The partnership has considered issues such as the possible negative and positive impacts of a repository and what additional community benefits there could be.

The consultation document sets out much more detail and comes with a response form for people to give their views.

If there is a decision to take part in the search for somewhere to put a repository, the councils would have the right to withdraw from the process up until the point where any construction starts.

At the end of the public consultation a large, representative opinion poll will be conducted to gauge opinion in West Cumbria on whether the area should take part in the Government’s search for a suitable site for a repository.

The partnership is made up of representatives of councils and organisations such as the National Farmers’ Union, Cumbria Tourism, the Lake District National Park Authority and the Cumbria Association of Local Councils.

A series of community events to help people understand issues around the potential underground disposal of radioactive waste will be held.

The events also include discussion sessions and will be held at the Carnegie Theatre in Workington next Tuesday; St Herbert’s Centre in Keswick on Wednesday; and the Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth on Friday, February 10.

All events will run from 1pm to 7pm, with discussion sessions at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.

The full consultation document is available at www. westcumbriamrws.org.uk or by emailing contact@west cumbriamrws.org.uk

Source: Times & Star

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