2018 and the GDF is back in the news

Ed Martin

Former Council Leader Eddie Martin

Former Leader of Cumbria County Council, and current Director of Cumbria Trust, Eddie Martin was interviewed by BBC Radio Cumbria, to discuss the latest plans to find a site to bury the UK’s nuclear waste. Our members will recall that it was Eddie Martin who along with his cabinet, halted the last search process.

During the interview Eddie is challenged to respond to a point from Professor Francis Livens of Manchester University, who claimed that it would be possible to engineer a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) in West Cumbria, although he admitted that it would be quicker, easier and cheaper elsewhere. What Professor Livens omitted to say was that it would also be safer elsewhere as well since geology forms the final barrier. That was the conclusion of the £400m Nirex investigation in the 1980s and 90s, and the government-funded geologist during the last process backed the view that the prospects of finding the right geology were so poor in Cumbria that no commercial organisation would continue.

Perhaps Professor Livens, who is a radio-chemist rather than a geologist, is unaware of the history of this project, and particularly the conclusions reached by geologists on both sides of the debate. The entire purpose of the National Geological screening exercise is to seek volunteers from geologically suitable areas and his intervention appears to preempt the report which is due to be released in the next few months.

As Eddie Martin points out there are potentially far safer and more suitable GDF sites in the UK, including a site under the North Sea and the job of the government should be to encourage those areas to volunteer.

The last two search processes have concluded that Cumbria has unsuitable geology after extensive research.

“It was Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Cumbria should not volunteer itself again.”


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