Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Councils say they're not ready to host Britain's existing nuclear waste

Meanwhile, there is renewed uncertainty also about what to do with Britain's existing legacy of nuclear waste.

Friday was decision day for the three Cumbrian councils who represent the only community in the country which has said it might host an underground dump for the country's most radioactive materials.

Presently, these are stored at Sellafield in cooling tanks above ground.

The leaders of Cumbria county council, and Allerdale and Copeland borough councils, cited [link to their press release] their desire to have legally enshrined their right to withdraw from the process at any time, and a “lack of trust" between the public and the government, as reasons for postponing their decision until January next year.

They issued a statement which also throws into doubt the suitability of the chosen site: "One of the biggest concerns for many residents of Cumbria has been whether the geology of the area is suitable for a repository.

"Although a few geologists believe there is already enough evidence to show that West Cumbria’s geology is unsuitable, most of the experts agree that there is not enough definitive information available at this time."

The councils are to seek clarification from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on a number of issues.

Managing the UK's existing nuclear waste is phenomenally expensive.

It already eats up more than half of DECC's annual budget, a proportion which is expected to rise to a staggering 70%.

If the UK can't find a safe repository for its existing nuclear waste, should we really be creating any more?

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