Rather than spending taxpayer’s money on a jolly this week to see France’s research into geological dumping the DECC sponsored Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely (!) Partnership should go for a walk up Scafell. A walk up England’s highest mountain would give the Partnership a sense of the scale of DECC’s proposal for a huge hole in the ground. Radiation Free Lakeland would be happy to organise a day guiding members of the Partnership to the top of Scafell. We would, of course, avoid the “Bad Step.” We could then look down to
get some idea of the depth of the geological dump proposed – 1000 metres.
Scafell is a mere 978 metres.
In looking for a Cumbrian dump for intermediate level nuclear wastes,
Nirex found in the 1990s that the geology of the Lake District leads to
upward waterflows into the aquifer surrounding the mountains. The Inquiry revealed difficulties in identifying a large volume of rock in West Cumbria to avoid fast routes for radionuclide escape through watery fractures and faults. A much larger volume of rock would be needed for the plan for a dump containing spent nuclear fuel and high level wastes which being hotter and more volatile must be spaced further apart.
Residents of Bure, France, are “embracing” that underground research laboratory about as much as Nevada welcomed the now abandoned Yucca Mountain nuclear dump. Bure’s aquifers run through the proposed storage site. Public opposition to nuclear power in France is rising because of the waste problem.
Maybe there isn’t enough rock in the world to isolate high level nuclear waste from humans and the environment into eternity? No where in the world has done this. Maybe it is more honest to say there is no ‘solution’ and to just stop producing high level nuclear wastes? Certainly this Partnership ‘process’ should be scrapped now before more public money is spent on “steps towards” a worlds first, high level nuclear waste geological dump,- located somewhere as yet unspecified (for DECC’s sake don’t scare the horses!) in West Cumbria.