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Cumbria councils ask for extension over nuclear waste dump plans

27 November 2012

Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council have asked for an extension until January 2013 to consider whether to proceed to the next stage of the UK government’s Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process. MRWS is designed to seek a voluntary host for the UK’s first underground nuclear waste repository.

With a voluntary host community, the government would then proceed to search for a geologically suitable site within Cumbria, which is already home to the Sellafield chemical and nuclear waste complex.

The councils said in a press statement that they needed more time to seek further information and clarification from the national government on “a number of issues they believe are key to the issue of trust.”

“One of these issues is the right of withdrawal. The Government says the Councils would still be able to withdraw from the process up until the point when work could start on building a repository. However, the Councils want to get a better understanding of the detail and timescale involved in meeting the Government’s commitment to make this right of withdrawal legally binding,” the councils said in their statement.

“One of the biggest concerns for many residents of Cumbria has been whether the geology of the area is suitable for a repository,” the councils said.

“Although a few geologists believe there is already enough evidence to show that West Cumbria’s geology is unsuitable, most of the experts agree that there is not enough definitive information available at this time,” the councils said.

In Kent, meanwhile, the only other UK council to consider hosting the dump has withdrawn from the MRWS process.

In September, Shepway Council decided not to submit an Expression of Interest into a nuclear disposal facility underneath Romney Marsh. 

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