Hardest sell: Nuclear waste needs good home

DrumsWhat would it take for you to accept nuclear waste in your backyard? The country has created quite a bit of the stuff and the government is searching for someone willing to take it.

Steadily produced since the end of World War Two, the question of what to do with the nuclear waste from civil, military, medical and scientific uses has been causing equal measures of fear and frustration for decades. With a new generation of nuclear power stations on the way, a fresh search is under way for a community ready to take on the challenge.

Campaigner Eddie Martin says:

“It’s very worrying, scary even. They have been looking for somewhere to put this material for decades and it keeps coming back to Cumbria[…]

It’s not for any pragmatic or geological reason, it’s socio-economic expediency. Part of this county already relies on the nuclear industry, so it’s more likely to accept some more[…]

The geology is wrong. Granite rocks are too fractured, they are too prone to water running through from the mountains and any number of studies back this up[….]”

Pete Wilkinson, environmental campaigner and member of the committee which in 2006 officially recommended underground storage, explains:

“This process really started in 1976 when a report said there should be no more nuclear power without a method of disposing of the waste.

In the 1980s there were various attempts to impose disposal on communities in Bedfordshire and what was then Cleveland but opposition was loud and well co-ordinated and people would not put up with it.

An attempt to build an underground ‘laboratory’ at Sellafield in Cumbria was thrown out in 1997, with the government saying proposals represented bad science and poor stakeholder engagement.

In 2003 they set up the Committee for Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) to come up with the definitive solution.”

Read much more on the BBC News website.


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