A public consultation to determine the future of nuclear waste storage in Cumbria closed today. The survey was conducted by the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership, with more than 3,000 people being surveyed. The poll aims to gauge whether there is support forthe area to take part in the search.
Adrian Ramsey Deputy Leader of The Green Party was wary of such plans. Speaking to the BBC he said: “The Government doesn’t have a plan B for if people in West Cumbria don’t want radioactive waste stored there.”
“New nuclear stations would only reduce carbon emissions by 4% and we could be creating jobs in renewables and energy efficiency.”
However, Professor Ian Fells from the University of Newcastle said the UK had little other choice than to examine such sites. He said: “The record of the storage of radioactive waste in West Cumbria is second to none. Remember we’ve been storing radioactive waste there for 50 years. This is nothing new.”
Although about 16 local authorities around the UK made initial enquiries about hosting the waste, three Cumbrian councils were the only ones to look into it any further.
If the area does decide to participate in the process, the councils could still withdraw at any point in the future until work begins to build a repository. It would take around 15 years to find a suitable site following extensive testing of geology and other factors, say the MRWS.