Government today welcomed delivery of an initial geological report for West Cumbria. The study looked at the Copeland and Allerdale areas, where a local Partnership is talking to Government about the siting process for a deep geological disposal facility for nuclear waste.
The screening does not show where a facility would eventually be located, but is simply intended to avoid unnecessary work in areas which are clearly unsuitable based on high level geological exclusion criteria.
Minister of State for Energy Charles Hendry said:
“We must progress implementation of geological disposal, the long-term sustainable solution for dealing with radioactive waste.
“Today’s report, commissioned from the British Geological Survey, is a step forward. The geological disposal facility site selection process is based on voluntarism and partnership and these results do not present any reason why West Cumbria cannot continue to consider whether or not to participate in that process.”
The exclusion criteria were derived by two independent expert groups, were high level and were primarily based around the risk of intrusion by future generations seeking to extract resources and the need to protect the quality of exploitable groundwater.
The study was desk-based and used available geological information. If a community chooses to proceed further, increasingly detailed geological and other criteria assessment would have to be undertaken.
The work is part of the Government’s Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme and the invite for communities across the Country to find out more about the siting process remains open.
Notes for editors
- The ‘Initial Geological Unsuitability Screening of West Cumbria’ report commissioned by DECC and carried out by BGS is available from: http://mrws.decc.gov.uk/en/mrws/cms/disposal/site_selection/initial_screen/west_cumbria/west_cumbria.aspx
- The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely White Paper was published in 2008 and includes the geological exclusion criteria at annex B. The White Paper is available at: http://mrws.decc.gov.uk/
- The geological exclusion criteria were derived by two independent expert groups, each comprising of scientists with high calibre experience. Their draft criteria were part of Government’s 2007 Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) consultation and the Chairs of both expert groups then reconsidered the criteria in light of the responses received before final publication in the MRWS White Paper. Information on the work of the independent expert groups is available at: