A PETITION is calling for a Cumbria-wide referendum on any decision over whether the county would be a site for a nuclear dump.
Cumbria Trust Director Colin Wales will present an e-petition with almost 350 signatures to Cumbria County Council’s cabinet on Thursday. He will ask the council to call a county-wide referendum on whether Cumbria should be a “volunteer” community to site a nuclear waste disposal facility.
The cabinet decided in January last year West Cumbria should no longer be considered as a potential location for a deep geological repository to dispose of higher activity radioactive waste. The process has since halted and the Department for Energy and Climate Change has consulted over how to take the matter forward, with an outcome expected later this year.
Mr Wales, a supporter of nuclear power who is opposed to a dump being in Cumbria, said the petition had been signed by people from across the county. He believes Cumbria geology is not suited to a waste facility and claimed a recent radiation leak at a nuclear waste storage site in New Mexico was a warning sign. He said:
“From that you can only draw the conclusion that the release of radioactivity doesn’t confine itself to geo-political boundaries. That is why the rest of the county has to have a say in this. To put it logically, if my neighbour wishes to build a garage to store some very dangerous substances and I know that garage to be in the wrong place and unstable, I think I have the right to express a view as to whether or not it should proceed. We have three major industries in this county, the substantial economic drivers – farming, tourism and nuclear. It’s simply wrong for one industry to put at risk the future of two others.”
It is thought a Cumbria referendum would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. Last year’s Cumbria County Council election cost £800,000. A county council spokesman said:
“We will of course accept the petition but it must be pointed out we have no responsibility for how this process will run. That’s still for DECC to decide and we await to see how they will take on board the responses they had in their consultation when they publish a white paper on how they intend to move forward.”
Source: North-West Evening Mail