CT’s post yesterday, when shared on Facebook, elicited the following response from Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland:

“Cumbria Trust need to harden up on this and start opposing the whole concept of GDF ….it is not safe anywhere and let’s be honest it would not be going anywhere except from Cumbria. To keep harping on about the ‘safest place’ leaves the door open when it should be slammed shut. …even Australia, with its Pangea geology, dry, arid remote said no to a geological disposal ‘facility’ “

While Cumbria Trust fully understands your position Marianne, the problem of what do do with existing legacy wastes requires a degree of pragmatism. You are absolutely correct of course that no GDF is entirely safe, anywhere, but that is not a reasonable standard to measure it against. Given that the nuclear waste exists, and we have to deal with it, we are simply looking for the least bad solution, rather than a perfect one.

The Pangea Resources venture failed largely for political rather than technical reasons. That wasn’t too surprising though, given that Australia would have been importing a large volume of nuclear waste, and with it, the associated risks. The UK does not have the luxury of sending the problem away by not accepting a GDF. The waste is still here, much of it at Sellafield, and as both you and Cumbria Trust have recently highlighted, some of it is stored in crumbling facilities which pose an intolerable risk to us all.

It remains Cumbria Trust’s view that a GDF may be the best option for at least some of the legacy wastes. However we agree entirely that Cumbria’s geology has been proven to be unsuitable. We are therefore proposing significantly increased investment on the Sellafield site to remove this intolerable risk with Secure Interim Storage, and a genuine national search process for a GDF site. We remain highly sceptical that DECC is looking anywhere other than Cumbria, and we are very concerned that members of CoRWM are perhaps unwittingly providing DECC with a facade of independence by nodding through uncritically all of their proposals. CoRWM has included some genuinely independent people in the past who provided proper scrutiny, but the current committee have yet to demonstrate that they have been chosen for anything other than their obedience.

Cumbria Trust

About cumbriatrust

A Voice for Cumbria
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2 Responses to CT’s post yesterday, when shared on Facebook, elicited the following response from Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland:

  1. Reblogged this on Radiation Free Lakeland and commented:
    future generations are not going to say : If only those opposing the Radioactive waste dump and ever more nuclear wastes had been more pragmatic.

    Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen, go all out for real change and talk about nuclear ‘power’ truthfully. It is ethically and socially bankrupt and the only moral thing to do is to put all effort and expertise into Containing existing wastes. The continued geological dump saga apart from being dangerous only serves to facilitate new build. Greenpeace withdrew their challenge to the Government’s new build plan at Hinkley C, precisely because the “implementation of geological disposal” is still on track. The Greenpeace challenge was based largely on Cumbria saying NO to the Geological Dump in Jan 2013. But the government showed Greenpeace papers that ‘prove they have a plan’ for the “final disposal”. of wastes. Greenpeace should have pressed their case, I have a plan to be Queen of England!! Not really, but I will continue to ensure Radiation Free Lakeland is unpragmatic.

    • cumbriatrust says:

      Cumbria Trust takes a neutral position on new build nuclear. The UK is currently far too dependent on coal as the main source of power generation, but it is highly polluting and carbon intensive. With investment in carbon capture and storage, it could become an environmentally sound option.

      While there are many problems with nuclear power, including the waste, all other forms of power generation also have downsides – intermittency, cost, pollution, energy security… We therefore recognise that nuclear power needs to be considered along side the alternatives, and that it may need to be part of the energy mix.

      We also believe that a GDF in appropriate geology may be the least bad option for dealing with legacy waste. It needs to be weighed against the risks and costs associated with storage and containment for hundreds of thousands of years, or until a better solution is devised.

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