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Britain offers communities £1m a year to host nuclear waste dump 

Communities offered £1m a year to host nuclear waste dump

New search for communities willing to host underground site for thousands of years, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 25 Jan 18, Local communities around England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be offered £1m a year to volunteer to host an underground nuclear waste disposal facility for thousands of years, as part of a rebooted government programme.

The financial incentive is one way the government hopes to encourage communities to host the £12bn facility, after previous efforts failed in 2013 when Cumbria county council rejected the project.

Under new plans published on Thursday, a test of public support will be required for the scheme to go ahead, which could include a local referendum.

The only areas to explore the idea last time round were Copeland and Allerdale borough councils in Cumbria, and Shepway District Council in Kent.

This time, interested communities that explore hosting the facility will also receive £1m a year, which officials say could be spent on developing skills locally or apprenticeships. The payments, which could rise to £2.5m annually as a community considers whether to proceed, are expected to last for around five years.

The geological disposal facility (GDF) is seen by experts as the best long-term solution to storing the estimated 750,000 cubic metres of waste generated by half a century of nuclear power and defence, which would fill three quarters of Wembley Stadium.

It also includes the radioactive material created by potentially five new plants that the government expects to be built, including Hinkley Point C, which EDF Energy is constructing in Somerset.

The Institute of Directors said storing waste deep underground would be cheaper than storing it above ground, as it is at present at around 30 sites.Business, unions and local authority groups welcomed the renewed bid to site a GDF.

“Running costs for a geological disposal facility storing the waste 1,000 metres below the surface would be significantly lower,” the business group said.

Richard Harrington, energy minister, said: “We owe it to future generations to take action now to find a suitable permanent site for the safe disposal of our radioactive waste. And it is right that local communities have a say.”

But Greenpeace criticised the payments, calling them bribes, and said new nuclear power plants should not go ahead without a long-term solution in place for their waste.

Doug Parr, the group’s chief scientist, said: “Having failed to find a council willing to have nuclear waste stored under their land, ministers are resorting to the tactics from the fracking playbook – bribing communities and bypassing local authorities.

“With six new nuclear plants being planned, the waste problem is just going to get much worse. Since there is no permanent solution for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel, the responsible thing to do would be to stop producing more of it instead of just passing the radioactive buck to future generations.”

Nuclear waste is currently stored at about 30 sites, but predominantly at ground level at Sellafield in Cumbria. The GDF project is expected to cost £12bn, spread over a century.


January 26, 2018 - Posted by | General News

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