As the UK Government plans yet another attempt to deliver a deep underground radioactive waste repository, NFLA urges them and the regulators to look carefully at a Swedish court ruling rejecting a repository licence around real safety concerns. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has been made aware that the UK Government imminently plans its latest attempt, which is the sixth attempt in the past 42 years, to start a process to find a willing community to host a deep underground radioactive waste repository. This process now could be, and should be, completely reconsidered after a Swedish court ruling rejecting a licence application on the waste capsules for a similar development, after many years of planning. For over 4 decades, several UK bodies – UKAEA, Nirex, RWMD and now Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM) – have been established by the UK Government to deliver a deep underground radioactive waste repository, often referred to in the industry as a geological disposal facility (GDF). Three consultations are expected to be issued imminently – one on the definition of the community that would decide on such a repository and how engaging with the public would take place, a second on a National Policy Statement for a deep waste repository, and the third the publication by RWM of a national geological screening of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Scotland is pursuing a separate policy of ‘near site, near surface’ storage of its highly active radioactive waste). Throughout its 38 years of operation, NFLA has been heavily engaged in this debate. It remains sceptical that a deep underground repository is the most environmentally sound solution for managing the UK’s huge burden of radioactive waste. It notes that the Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates have outlined over 100 key technical and scientific concerns around such developments, and NFLA has seen no resolution to these issues from the government or RWM.
NFLA 24th Jan 2018 read more »
Cumbria Trust 25th Jan 2018 read more »
Letter Prof Andrew Blowers: In 1976, Lord Flowers pronounced that there should be no further commitment to nuclear energy unless it could be demonstrated that long-lived highly radioactive wastes could be safely contained for the indefinite future. Ever since, efforts to find a suitable site for a geological disposal facility have been rejected by communities. There is, therefore, little evidence to support the government’s claim that “it is satisfied that effective arrangements will exist to manage and dispose of the waste that will be produced from new nuclear power stations”. Deep disposal may be the eventual long-term solution but demonstrating a safety case, finding suitable geology and a willing community are tough challenges and likely to take a long time. The search for a disposal site diverts attention from the real solution for the foreseeable future, which is to ensure the safe and secure management of the unavoidable legacy wastes that have to be managed. It is perverse to compound the problem by a new-build programme that will result in vastly increased radioactivity from spent fuel and other highly radioactive wastes which will have to be stored indefinitely at vulnerable sites scattered around our coasts. A new-build programme would create an unmanageable and intolerable burden on communities into the far future. To suggest that a repository is the solution is in the realm of fantasy.
Guardian 24th Jan 2018 read more »
Letter Rose Heaney: The fact that the UK government is still going ahead with plans to construct new power stations, generating even more toxic radioactive waste, troubles and puzzles me immensely. Here, on the beautiful isle of Anglesey, where tidal, solar and wind energy production are all highly feasible alternatives and could also provide opportunities for well-paid employment, politicians appear to be happy for an area of outstanding natural beauty to be contaminated for further than the foreseeable future, not to mention the immense eyesore that will occupy acres of fertile land. It is an eye-wateringly costly venture that many fear will expose taxpayers to huge financial risk and will also leave future generations guarding the threat to their environment and health long after it ceases to function. Future generations will doubtless wonder, when most of Europe is shutting down its nuclear power stations and not planning any more, why in the world the local population didn’t protest harder.
Guardian 24th Jan 2018 read more »
The Swedish Environmental Court’s NO to the final repository for spent nuclear fuel: a major victory for safety. The Swedish Environmental Court says no to the power industry’s Nuclear Waste Company SKB’s license application for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden. This is a huge triumph for safety and environment – and for the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG), the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), and critical scientists who have been presenting risks of the malfunction of the selected method. Now it is up to the Swedish government to make the final decision. “This is a triumph for us. From now on, the work on evaluating safer disposal solutions will continue. The decision that will be made concerns waste that will be hazardous for thousands of years. Several independent researchers have criticized both the applied method and the selected site. There is a solid documentation as base for the Environmental Court’s decision. It is hard to believe the Swedish Government’s conclusions will be any different from that of the Court’s” says Johan Swahn, Director at MKG and Chair of NTW Radioactive Waste Management Working Group.
Nuclear Transparency Watch 24th Jan 2018 read more »
Radiation Free Lakeland 24th Jan 2018 read more »