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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Call for nuclear dump back-up plan

FALLBACK solutions should be considered should Cumbria be deemed unsuitable to house an underground nuclear waste storage facility, say the three councils which have the decisive vote in the search for a site.

On Tuesday Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils and Cumbria County Council announced they would be delaying the decision on whether or not to proceed with the search for a nuclear repository site in the county.

The councils said concerns over a government U-turn on the right to withdraw from the process had been central to their the reason to delay the decision from October 11 until January 2013.

In a joint statement, the councils said: “The government says the councils would still be able to withdraw from the process up until the point when work could start on building a repository.

“However, the councils want to get a better understanding of the detail and timescale involved in meeting the government’s commitment to make this right of withdrawal legally binding.

“One of the biggest concerns for many residents of Cumbria has been whether the geology of the area is suitable for a repository.

“Although a few geologists believe there is already enough evidence to show that West Cumbria’s geology is unsuitable, most of the experts agree that there is not enough definitive information available at this time.

“The councils therefore believe that alternative radioactive waste management solutions should be considered in parallel with the MRWS programme in case a suitable site is not identified, either because the geology is not suitable or for other reasons.”

Marianne Birkby, from anti-nuclear campaigners Radiation Free Lakeland, said: “Cumbria County Council’s cabinet was looking likely to honour the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the county council’s councillors and their constituents and say no to the nuclear dump.

“This would have been an end to the insane plan to dump high level nuclear wastes in a big mine under West Cumbria.”

Copeland MP Jamie Reed has urged the decision makers to allow the process to continue. He said: “We need to get going as soon as possible. Local partners need to get their shoulders behind that and make that happen.

“It is vitally important to the nuclear new build agenda and of vital importance to rebalance our economy and to protect our security of supply.”

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