News story

Working collaboratively to manage radioactive waste

Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) today brings together a wide range of stakeholders including government, regulators, industry and academics to consider progress and next steps for permanently disposing of the UK’s most radioactive waste.

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RWM is working to develop a geological disposal facility (GDF) which will permanently dispose of the UK’s most radioactive waste by placing it in sealed chambers deep underground. Experts in the UK and internationally agree this is the safest permanent solution. In parallel, RWM works with waste producers to ensure that radioactive waste is safely and effectively managed.

The two-day conference is being held in Manchester and will bring together around 80 participants. RWM will share its current thinking and plans for delivering a GDF and explore how participants can play a part in the process going forward.

Bruce McKirdy, Managing Director of RWM said:

“RWM is the UK organisation responsible for geological disposal. Building strong relationships is a fundamental part of our work, ensuring that everything we do is informed by the expertise and experience that exists both in the UK and internationally. We expect the conference will provide valuable feedback and input to our programme, helping to develop a common understanding of the way ahead.”

Senior representatives from RWM are set to outline the progress made since 2014, when the government published a White Paper setting out the approach to making geological disposal happen. Since then, RWM has been taking forward a screening exercise to provide the public with information about the geology of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will help communities decide in due course if they would be interested in hosting a GDF in their area.

At the conference, there will be updates on the two government-led consultations to examine how RWM might work with communities to identify a site and how planning permission for a GDF should be assessed.

Stakeholders will also hear about progress on similar facilities in Finland and Sweden, which provides valuable learning for the UK. Earlier this year, Swedish regulators confirmed that plans to develop a GDF there meet strict safety requirements and can now progress to the next stage.

Published 13 October 2016