National Geological Screening for a GDF

Getting to know the geology in your area


This web journey presents the findings of a National Geological Screening (NGS) exercise carried out by Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) to summarise the geology of England, Wales and Northern Ireland that is relevant to the safe disposal of higher-activity radioactive waste.

NGS - Reviewing our geology

For screening purposes, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been divided into the 13 geological regions used by the British Geological Survey in its Regional Guides. Our work provides an assessment of the geology in each region which is relevant to the safety of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), although more detailed knowledge will be needed to identify suitable locations. Click on one of the regional links below for more information.

In geological disposal, man-made or engineered barriers work together with the geology to provide long-term safety. Placing radioactive waste deep underground puts it far beyond people’s reach, so that it is safe and secure. The rock will shield people from the radiation and, depending on the rock type, will either limit or completely prevent radioactivity from moving towards the surface when other barriers eventually degrade. Disposal deep underground will also ensure that the waste can never be exposed at the surface even in the event of a change in sea level or future ice ages. Find out more about how rocks contribute to long-term safety

To cover the large national area (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), the resolution of the screening has been kept at a high level – using base maps on which a centimetre represents about six kilometres (1:625,000 scale).


Further information on the following aspects of screening can be found here:

  • Approach to higher activity radioactive waste across the UK
  • Screening guidance, geological attributes and information
  • Screening outputs
  • Independent review
  • Screening in the context of wider siting and next steps

The 13 Regions

A map of the 13 regions across England, Wales and Northern Ireland that are part of this study

The thirteen geological regions

Find out about the region of interest to you:

  1. Northern Ireland
  2. Northern England
  3. Pennines and adjacent areas
  4. Eastern England
  5. Wales
  6. Welsh Borderland
  7. Central England
  8. East Anglia
  9. Bristol and Gloucester
  10. London and the Thames Valley
  11. South West England
  12. Hampshire Basin
  13. Wealden District

There are no plans to site a GDF in Northern Ireland. This screening report is purely a technical exercise. Any future policy decision on geological disposal in Northern Ireland would be a matter for the Executive.


If you have any further questions please email

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Go to geological disposal homepage

Published 25 January 2018
Last updated 16 January 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added translation in Welsh due to policy launch by Welsh Government

  2. We have added a new web journey about our National Geological Screening for a Geological Disposal Facility

  3. Added translation