The study looked at the West Cumbria Copeland and Allerdale areas, where a local partnership is talking to Government about the siting process for a deep geological disposal facility for nuclear waste.
The screening does not show where a facility would eventually be located, but is simply intended to avoid unnecessary work in areas which are clearly unsuitable for the underground facilities based on high level geological exclusion criteria.
The ‘Initial Geological Unsuitability Screening of West Cumbria’ report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and carried out by British Geological Survey (BGS) is available on the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) website:
Minister of State for Energy Charles Hendry said:
“We must progress implementation of geological disposal, the long-term sustainable solution for dealing with radioactive waste.
“Today’s report, commissioned from the British Geological Survey, is a step forward. The geological disposal facility site selection process is based on voluntarism and partnership and these results do not present any reason why West Cumbria cannot continue to consider whether or not to participate in that process.”
The exclusion criteria were derived by two independent expert groups, were high level and were primarily based around the risk of intrusion by future generations seeking to extract resources and the need to protect the quality of exploitable groundwater.
The study was desk-based and used available geological information. If a community chooses to proceed further, increasingly detailed geological and other criteria assessment would have to be undertaken.
The work is part of the Government’s Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme and the invite for communities across the Country to find out more about the siting process remains open.