“Towards a Safer Cumbria” by Peter Roche (cont’d)

In voting to reject the GDF proposal, the County Cabinet recognised the wider issues by
agreeing to:

“encourage the Government to make the necessary investment to improve the existing surface storage facilities at Sellafield so that there is a more robust surface storage arrangement in the decades to come while the Government finds a permanent solution for the country’s higher activity radioactive waste”

Less than a week after the County Council’s decision, the House of Commons Public
Accounts Committee (PAC) published a report on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
(NDA) and its management of risk at Sellafield. The report, which in many ways
reconfirmed Cumbria Council’s own concerns, described Sellafield as:

“…an extraordinary accumulation of hazardous waste, much of it stored in outdated nuclear facilities”

Chair of the Committee Margaret Hodge MP, was quoted as saying:

“It is essential that the Authority brings a real sense of urgency to its oversight of Sellafield so that the timetable for reducing risks does not slip further and costs do not continue to escalate year on year.”

Indeed, the PAC’s findings could only reflect the fact that over several decades, successive governments have failed to tackle issues on the site in allowing an enormous nuclear waste ‘legacy’ to build up: leading Sellafield to be one of the most hazardous nuclear installations on the planet in terms of the amount of radioactivity contained its waste stockpile. Deadlines for cleaning up Sellafield have been missed, while total lifetime costs for dealing with the waste and decommissioning the site continue to rise each year and now stand at £67.5 billion. An enormous amount of public money—some £1.6 billion—is spent at Sellafield each year

“Towards a Safer Cumbria” by Peter Roche (full pdf download)

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