In this weekend’s Observer, CoRWM’s Rebecca Lunn (she of the Geological Society lecture MORI poll “gaffe” ), appears intent on providing a positive spin and glossing over the serious problems with GDF projects around the world. The one operating GDF, in the US, is suspended until further notice while investigations continue to discover the cause of the accidents in February 2014, which saw a release of airborne radioactive contamination. Other GDF projects in the pipeline have run into technical difficulties, which at the very least will delay them for years, and the problems may yet prove insurmountable.
Lunn is absolutely correct that a lively public debate on this issue is required, but the UK deserves more than blind optimism from members of CoRWM. A balanced debate is essential to ensure that any GDF is built in the safest location, not one chosen by political convenience.
In the meantime Lunn and her colleagues on CoRWM need to stop ignoring the intolerable risk posed by the crumbling and neglected storage facilities at Sellafield (The Ecologist, The Guardian, The Telegraph and Daily Mirror).
Much of the most dangerous material cannot be buried until well into the next century. A significant increase in investment in Sellafield is needed today to deal with the risks posed by decades of underinvestment and neglect. The Sellafield workforce and other Cumbrians are being exposed to significant danger by the failure to invest in Secure Interim Storage.