Communities and GDF

Working in partnership to shape future plans and benefits

Your voice matters

This year, we’ll be starting a process to find a site for a safe Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for radioactive waste in the UK. Communities will be right at the heart of the siting process for a GDF and a facility will be built where both a suitable site AND a willing community are selected.

The process of finding a site will take between 15 to 20 years. Then, only following a positive test of public support and after the relevant permissions from the independent regulators have been obtained, can construction start.

This process is consent-based and communities will be able to work in partnership with us from the beginning, so that people will have the opportunity to create a future that works for them.

As our commitment to interested communities, we will:

  • cover the costs for communities engaged in the process
  • invest up to £1 million per year in communities who enter the siting process 
  • also, invest up to £2.5 million per year in communities where deep borehole investigations take place
  • support economic growth by employing an average of 550 people in any given year throughout the operational lifetime of the project, with skills training, supply chain opportunities and infrastructure investment
  • enable a long-lasting economic and social legacy for future generations
A timeline showing that it will be 15 to 20 years before a site is selected for a geological disposal facility, which will then be in operation for over 100 years.
The operational timeline of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)

The role of government

In 2014 the UK government and Northern Ireland Executive set out a renewed approach to finding a site to host a GDF in their Implementing Geological Disposal White Paper. In it, the UK government committed to help interested communities understand more about hosting a geological disposal facility and engaging with confidence in the processes involved.

Building on this commitment, the UK government is now consulting on proposed policy on how communities should be engaged in a siting process for a geological disposal facility for higher activity radioactive waste.

In 2015 the Welsh Government set out its Policy on the Management and Disposal of Higher Activity Radioactive Waste, similar to that adopted in England and Northern Ireland. The Welsh Government is now consulting on the proposed policy on how communities in Wales should be engaged in a siting process for a GDF.

Scottish policy is not for geological disposal. The Scottish Government published its Implementation Strategy for Scotland’s policy on higher activity radioactive waste following consultation in 2016.

Next steps

If you want to learn more about GDF and the role of communities in the siting process, please get in touch by emailing and one of our team will get back to you.

Following the government’s consultations and final policy statements, we will also be publishing ‘Guidance to Communities’, which will contain helpful and more in-depth information on how to engage in the siting process.

Go to geological disposal homepage

Published 25 January 2018