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Progress on long-term nuclear waste plan

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) outlined an ambition to see the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) accept its first waste by 2029, around 10 years ahead of the current indicative timeline, this week.

Details have been been unveiled in its first annual report of it Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Programme. The programme is focused on implementing the long-term geological disposal of our higher activity radioactive waste.

Alongside this, the Government published a consultation on how potential sites for geological disposal will be identified and assessed.

The Nuclear Decommissiong Authority has welcomed the publication of the Government’s first annual report on its Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Programme.  In the report published yesterday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) outlined an ambition to see the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) accept its first waste by 2029, around 10 years ahead of the current indicative timeline.

Energy minister Charles Hendry told a meeting of the Geological Disposal Implementation Board in London today, “the UK has a substantial legacy of radioactive waste from a variety of nuclear programmes. This Government will not simply leave it to future generations to deal with.

“Today’s annual report and 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 consultation document considers how desk-based studies would be used to identify possible sites that 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.

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. This will be a multi-billion pound project providing skilled employment for an average of 550 people for over a century.

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