Join the DECC Webchat 18 November @ 11:00am

Geological disposal of radioactive waste: Review of the site selection process (18 November @ 11:00am)

DECC is looking for your views on proposals to revise and improve the site selection process for Geological Disposal Facilities (GDF) for radioactive waste.

To respond formally, use the Cumbria Trust “New Consultation” link (closing date 5 December 2013). You can also take part in the webchat  from 11:00 – 12:00 on Monday 18 November.

You can submit questions from 12:00 on Friday 15 November.

Please note, your questions won’t appear until they launch the webchat.

HomeIf you are able to join in with the above Webchat, please feel free to use one of the questions listed below as they need answering!


Why has DECC ignored the majority of responses (59%) to the Call for Evidence requesting geology now be investigated at national level?  (The reason given in the consultation document is totally unsatisfactory and suggests that DECC already has a specific location in mind.)

Why has DECC proposed vesting decision making in District Councils when only 3% of respondents to Call for Evidence advocated this?

Does DECC take any notice of replies to its consultations or even to its Call for Evidence?

Is DECC aware of the work done in the 1980s identifying suitable UK geology by Chapman, McEwan and Beale?

Is DECC aware that Nirex was of the view that 30% of the UK’s geology was suitable?

Is DECC aware of the Nirex Inspector’s judgment in 1996 re Longlands Farm (endorsed by Sec of State)?   Summarised neatly by the Inspector in Guardian in 2007:
“The site should be in a region of low groundwater flow, and the geology should be readily characterisable and predictable, whereas the rocks there are actually of a complex volcanic nature, with significant faulting…..  The site is not suitable and investigations should be moved elsewhere.The site selection process was flawed, not treating safety as the most important factor, and irrationally affected by a strong desire to locate close to Sellafield.”

Is DECC aware of international guidelines on locating a GDF namely simple geology and low relief?

Why has DECC not ruled out from the process National Parks, AONBs and environmentally sensitive sites? Is DECC aware Nirex did? Why does DECC think Nirex did so?

If a GDF is in the national interest why as a country are we not looking nationally for the safest places?

Are DECC prepared to accept less than “good” geology and rely on engineered solutions (notwithstanding the fact that no other civilised country is doing so, namely all are relying on natural geological barriers)?

How can any engineered solution last 100,000 years?

How could we finance any engineered solution given the size of a repository?

Is DECC predetermined to site a GDF in Cumbria come what may?

Is DECC aware that Nirex cost over £400m (perhaps a £ billion in today’s money) and surveyed 60x65km of West Cumbria in finding the “best site” in West Cumbria and then sank 29 bore holes at Longlands Farm up to 1km deep and geology was found to be unsuitable? And if so how could it sensibly accept an expression of interest from Copeland namely the only area which had been ruled out before?

How much more money is DECC prepared to spend and how much time is it prepared to waste in seeking a GDF in unsuitable geology and therefore in deeply mistrusting communities?

Is DECC aware that its failure to adopt a safety first approach is not just damaging its own credibility but also contrary to the national interest?

When the idea of a GDF was first raised it was to hold legacy waste. Apparently it is now intended to hold waste from nuclear new build. Is this the case?

Ed Davey stated in the House of Commons on 21 October that he was “satisfied that arrangements were in place to deal with nuclear waste (from the two new proposed plants at Hinkley) both in the interim and in the long term”. Without a site for a GDF being identified and agreed, how can he be justified in saying this?

On Thursday 14 November there was a “workshop” in London specifically for Local Authorities. Can you please inform us how many Local Authorities had representatives at this event?