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Government advisors split on nuclear waste

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GOVERNMENT ADVISORS were this week unclear about how nuclear waste should be disposed of despite three years of work.

Gordon McKerron, chairman of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CORWM) has admitted that the committee had so far been unable to reach consensus on the matter.

CORWM has an April deadline for submitting its draft waste disposal strategy to the government.

Revisions resulting from public or ministerial responses to the draft are scheduled to be complete by then, ready for a final report to be published in July.

'It's most likely we will recommend a combination of strategies rather than one size fits all, but scientific, technical, ethical and economic options are still being taken into account, ' McKerron said.

McKerron added that the main options were deep geological disposal, in which waste would be sealed away permanently, and phased disposal.

With phased disposal waste would be placed deep underground and monitored to ensure it remained environmentally isolated and in a safe state.

But he conceded the committee was still looking at 'long-term interim storage' on the surface, handing responsibility for disposal to future generations.

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