The following letter was published in the Whitehaven News (Thursday 18th December):
RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT EVENTS
Following the proposal in the White Paper “Implementing Geological Disposal” to carry out a national geological survey, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is holding two events, in Bristol (22 January) and Manchester (4 February), to discuss the national geological screening process. These meetings are supposed to provide an opportunity for the public to have an input into what is to be produced in addition to the specialist meetings they are holding. As well as seeking the views of the public they state that they hope to be able to address as many of the public’s questions as possible.
Due to the distances that would be involved to get to either of these locations, we have responded suggesting that they hold a meeting in Cumbria (suggested venues Keswick or Carlisle). In John Dalton’s (Stakeholder Engagement Advisor Radioactive Waste Management) response he stated:
“We didn’t want to hold a meeting in Cumbria as this could give the impression that we are just looking at Cumbria, which is not the case. Indeed, such is the interest, that Manchester and Bristol are the least inconvenient for the majority of respondents who expressed an interest in attending such meetings. However, if there is sufficient demand we may hold more such initial events post February, and would intend to hold those in other locations. We will have to review the location depending on the response we get to these two meetings”.
As the aim of these meetings is supposedly to provide an opportunity for the public to provide input and questions, surely it is reasonable to expect them to seek the views of potential knowledgeable participants, who have an awareness of the relevance of geology in relation to the safety of a Geological Disposal Facility? Thanks to the repeated attempts over the years to foist a GDF upon Cumbria, there are many such people living in the local area. As such we feel that it would be logical for the NDA to hold one of their meetings in Cumbria. After all it is not only necessary for a proper NATIONAL geological survey to be carried out it is essential that it is also seen to be carried out. Without this there will be no trust in its findings. And trust already is something in short supply when considering the track record of the nuclear industry in West Cumbria.
Rod and Jill Donington-Smith