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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Jobs and cash bonanza if dump project goes ahead

A NUCLEAR waste dump could be worth around £3bn to the Cumbrian economy and create hundreds of long term jobs.

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COPELAND COUNCIL LEADER: Councillor Elaine Woodburn

Proposals for a geological storage facility for high level nuclear waste are in consultation stage at present but the potential value to the economy has been revealed in a report from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Three councils in the whole country have expressed interest in hosting the dump – Copeland Borough Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria County Council.

If the plans are adopted around 550 jobs will be needed to run the site, but during the site’s 10-year construction as many as 1,000 jobs could be created.

Steve Reece, the NDA’s disposal facility development manager, said: “The manpower requirements will be discussed with local communities who express an interest in hosting such a facility. This could include training, development and education investment to ensure that local people have the necessary skills required by the project.”

The process is still far from completion. Geological surveys could take 10 years while the building process could take up to 15 years.

Copeland Borough Council leader, councillor Elaine Woodburn, who chairs the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, said: “We are committed to the very highest standards of openness and transparency.

“We are only considering whether West Cumbria should take part in the search for somewhere to put an underground repository.

“Even if that happened, the area would still be able to withdraw from the process up until the point where work could start on building a repository.

“No decisions have been taken about this issue.

“We are doing a considerable amount of work looking at the possible benefits and disadvantages of having a repository here and to give members of the public the chance to get involved.”

Councillor Tim Knowles, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for transport and the environment, said: “The fact that the county and district councils are supporters of the nuclear industry is no more surprising than a London-based environmental pressure group trying to argue the county’s economy should be built solely on B&Bs, tea rooms and sheep farms.

“Cumbria County Council makes no apologies for working with the nuclear industry and government in the best interests of the public.”

Britain’s Energy Coast declined to comment due to the political nature of the story.

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