The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have opened a consultation into the disposal of higher-activity radioactive waste.
The consultation seeks views on the technical aspects of designing and delivering a disposal facility, and on the process and criteria to be used in deciding where the future facility should be located.The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), recommended geological disposal, coupled with safe and secure interim storage, as the way to manage the UK's higher activity radioactive wastes.UK Environment Minister Ian Pearson said that the Government was proposing an entirely new approach based on the concept of voluntarism - that is, communities expressing an interest in taking part in the process.'We need to decide how a site for the geological disposal facility is chosen. As we do that, we want make sure that people have a chance to have their say at every stage in the process,' he said.'The proposed disposal facility will be a high-technology, multi-billion pound project that will bring investment and jobs for generations. It will result in significant economic and social benefits both for the host community and the wider surrounding area.''There is no site selection process underway at this point - and there won't be until after we have consulted the public, and we have established and published our policy on the way forward in light of responses to that consultation,' he said.Planning will be based on:- Partnerships with potential host communities that allow issues and opportunities to be fully discussed and evaluated;- Implementation by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), with clear responsibilities and accountabilities;- Strong independent regulation by the statutory regulators, the Health and Safety Executive, the environment agencies and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security; and- Independent scrutiny and advice to Government by a reconstituted CoRWM, carrying forward the original committee's commitment to openness and transparency.