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Local communities invited for 'no-strings' nuclear waste chat

The government has invited communities for 'no commitment' discussions on hosting geological disposal facilities for radioactive waste while offering the sweetener of a multi-billion local investment.

"Construction and operation of a geological disposal facility will be a multi-billion pound high technology project that will provide skilled employment for hundreds of people over many decades. It will contribute greatly to the local economy and wider socio-economic framework," said environment secretary Hilary Benn.

It is likely to take several decades however before any such facility is operational.

The Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs Communities (Defra) invitation was part of the Government's Managing Radioactive Waste Safely White Paper published yesterday, and follows a consultation in June 2007 about how community voluntarism and a partnership approach to siting a facility could work. The White Paper sets out the technical programme to design and deliver a geological disposal facility, and the process and criteria to be used to decide the siting of a facility.
his followed from the recommendations of the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) who carried out extensive expert, public and stakeholder consultation on the best long term management option for protecting the public and the environment.

"The Government, along with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, will be looking to sit down and discuss, with any community that feels it has an interest, both the technical aspects of the safe implementation of a geological disposal facility and the wider social, economic and environment issues involved." Ultimately for the process to succeed a mutually acceptable agreement will need to be," said Benn.

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