DECC launches consultation on nuclear waste disposal options

The UK's strategy for long-term disposal of nuclear waste took a step forward today (28 June) as the Government outlined a programme of action and launched a consultation process.

The Government’s ‘Managing radioactive waste safely’ programme centres around implementing a plan for the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. A consultation has been published alongside this to look at identifying and assessing potential disposal sites.

The consultation document considers how desk-based studies would be used to identify possible sites which have been put forward following a local authority decision to participate.

It also sets out how possible sites will be assessed against agreed criteria and how local and subsequent government decisions will be made about any sites that might be put forward for more detailed geological assessment.

Minister of State for Energy, Charles Hendry, said: “Today’s proposals for identifying and assessing possible sites show that we are making progress in this vital area. I want us to continue to be ambitious in our timescales for delivery.

“I would like us to set a goal of putting the first waste into a geological disposal facility by the end of 2029. I have tasked the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to look at opportunities for accelerating progress to meet this aim.”

The Government is committed to a siting process based on voluntarism and partnership and has received three expressions of interest for two areas in west Cumbria. The invitation for communities to come forward to find out more about the siting process remains open.

Maxine Perella


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