The risks of allowing landowners to volunteer their land for nuclear waste disposal. In South Australia, the Federal Government has chosen a site on the Eyre Peninsula for permanent disposal of low-level nuclear waste and as a temporary store for intermediate-level waste. This site has been chosen after being volunteered by a landowner in return for a substantial payment. The test of community support appears to be so localised that it ignores the opinion of many of those who will suffer blight should the project go ahead. Cumbria Trust notes the parallels with the current search process for a geological disposal facility (GDF) site for the UK’s nuclear waste, although in the UK’s case, the potential site is several orders of magnitude larger and will include permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste. The latest UK process allows landowners to volunteer their land and be paid for it. The test of community support has yet to be defined, but from past experience we would expect the test to be manipulated to give it the highest chance of succeeding in any given situation. During the UK’s previous search process, called Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS), a major test for community consent was distorted by allowing a single brown envelope full of responses to just Q8 ‘Overall participation’ to change the result entirely. Note that every other measure is against, but the late acceptance of this brown envelope changed the result to suggest that there was community support. The bar chart below was produced by Professor Stuart Haszeldine.
Cumbria Trust 17th May 2020 read more »