The Welsh Borderland - Relevance to safety

National Geological Screening for a GDF - The Welsh Borderland region

The screening report hosted on this site is a technical exercise across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. No specific location in England, Wales or Northern Ireland has been identified as a potential GDF site. Any future decision on geological disposal would be subject to community agreement and planning and environmental consents.


Our work shows that we may find a suitable geological setting for a GDF in a small part of this region, but the thickness and properties of the potential host rocks present may not be suitable.

The Welsh Borderland

Rock can be seen at the surface in some of the sub-region such as the Malvern Hills and in man-made excavations such as quarries or road cuttings. Combined with some deep boreholes and geophysical investigations, this gives us an understanding of the rocks present and their distribution.

There are various types of gaps in our understanding of geology and we deal with these gaps in a number of ways.

There are clay-rich rock layers, in which we may be able to site a GDF, to the north of Shrewsbury and to the south of Worcester. We would need to do more work to find out whether these rocks have suitable properties and thicknesses.

Even where individual clay-rich rock layers are found not to be thick enough to host a GDF they may support the siting of a GDF in deeper rocks as they could act as a barrier to groundwater flow from depth. This is important because movement of groundwater is one of the ways in which radioactive material could be carried back to the surface.

Some of the subregion has been mined to depths below 100m for coal resources to the south-west of Shrewsbury, as well as lead, zinc and barite to the north of Bishop’s Castle. In these areas the mining is likely to have affected the way in which water moves through the rock. Also possible exploration in the future in these areas means that it is more likely that future generations may disturb a facility.

For further information, read the report below.

We have produced a summary of the geological attributes of The Welsh Borderland Region.

Go to National Geological Screening for a GDF

Go to geological disposal homepage

Published 19 December 2018