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Green fury at underground nuclear dumps

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS have reacted angrily to a House of Lords select committee report published yesterday which recommended the underground disposal of high level nuclear waste.

The report, Management of Nuclear Waste, says the phased disposal of nuclear waste in a deep shaft repository is 'feasible and desirable'. It calls for the setting up of a new body, a Nuclear Waste Management Commission, to develop 'a fully comprehensive policy for the long-term management of all nuclear waste'.

But environmental groups reacted furiously to the proposals.

'This report insults the intelligence of the public,' said Friends of the Earth senior nuclear campaigner Dr Patrick Green.

'The Committee expects the British public to go along with a programme to convince them to accept nuclear waste dumps. But the 1996 Nirex inquiry ... established that we do not have the science to keep nuclear waste isolated from human communities for the hundreds of thousands of years needed for it to become safe.'

The select committee report also recommends setting up a Radioactive Waste Disposal Company to design, construct and operate a nuclear waste repository or repositories - the document suggests several might be necessary.

'Nuclear waste has been treated in an ad hoc way for too long,' said Lord Tombs, chairman of the Committee.

'The long time-scale involved is not a reason for postponing decisions... We must start now to find a solution to this unprecedented problem.'

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