Union ‘confident’ nuclear waste facility will go through

Unions across the country are “disappointed” with Cumbria Council’s decision against building a nuclear waste facility in the area but some are “confident” it will go through. The response follows […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Unions across the country are “disappointed” with Cumbria Council’s decision against building a nuclear waste facility in the area but some are “confident” it will go through.

The response follows a no-vote from the County Council Cabinet members on Wednesday as they withdrew from the process of finding a host community to build a £12 billion underground radioactive waste disposal system, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs.

Mike Graham, National Secretary at Prospect Union told ELN: “We’ve lost the battle but there is a war… This is only a temporary setback. We are confident it will go through.”

Talking about the Cabinet voting against the decision after considering “all the evidence and opinions” put forward during the safety process, Mr Graham said the research was dated. He added: “They have their own people looking at the studies, which are faulted… Any future study needs to be peer-reviewed… There needs to be independent reviews… We need to have a two-way dialogue with people in the community.”

He added there are “fantastic opportunities” in Cumbria for nuclear and that the Council needs to look at the “bigger picture”. The union aims to work with politicians and neighbouring councils in order to get the project approved in Cumbria.

The Sellafield Workers’ Campaign also told ELN they are not happy with the decision and are “most disappointed” about the Council failing to move to the next stage for research. The Sellafield workforce is responsible for looking after around 70% of the waste but the campaign group said the loss of jobs isn’t the only worry.

Craig Dobson, Sellafield Workers’ Campaign Secretary told ELN: “There could have been benefits in relation to the construction but we also see the project as a catalyst or leverage for further regeneration of West Cumbria… to diversify the skills base and for the development of the community in terms of the economy and education.”

The Unite union also said the no-vote was “extremely short-sighted”. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said there would be a “substantial community benefits package worth hundreds of pounds” for any host community in addition to hundreds of jobs and investment.