NUCLEAR DEBATE: RADIATION FREE LAKELAND
By Marianne Birkby, founder of Radiation Free Lakeland, an anti-nuclear group set up in 2008
Last updated at 21:16, Thursday, 19 January 2012
The last government set up a quango called Managing Radioactive Waste Safely.
JUST SAY NO: Marianne Birkby, of Radiation Free Lakeland
RELATED: Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership
MRWS aims to give lucrative contracts, courtesy of the taxpayer, to private companies for a mine 3,280ft deep by 269 sq ft.
Put in perspective, Scafell Pike is 3,208ft. Imagine that size mine filled with high-level radioactive waste by 2026, setting a world first.
MRWS has said further investigation of Cumbria’s geology is needed.
Really? Cumbria is one of the most investigated geological areas in the UK with a long history of mining.
Mines were abandoned – not because the resource failed, but because of the energy needed for de-watering. An area of “high rainfall, permeable rocks and hills and mountains to drive the water flow” would guarantee migration to the surface (1999 UK Government sponsored video, Pangea).
A public inquiry and appeal agreed with Cumbria County Council 15 years ago that the risk of radioactive waste migrating to the surface was too great for geological disposal of intermediate level waste.
Today, that same authority is a partner in the plan which now includes high-level waste.
A nuclear dump would blight Cumbria’s major industries of agriculture and tourism.
Even before the placement of waste, the mining operation would rival the biggest in the world.
It would disrupt Cumbria’s fragile water table and add to earthquake risk.
Cumbria should be assured of essential infrastructure from central government such as schools, roads and hospitals without being bribed by a community benefits package.
MRWS said a facility would not be built unless it would be safe during its operations and for future generations.
Its advice contradicts Dr Adrian Bath, who said: “Geological disposal safety plans do not assume that total containment by engineered barrier systems for ever is possible.”
The MRWS inventory of waste to go in the dump is meaningless, as the plan includes existing waste and new build waste from untried high burn nuclear power plants.
The Gosforth/Eskdale area was ruled out by the Nirex Inquiry. New criteria have been written to rule Longlands Farm back in.
MRWS is now sinking taxpayers’ millions into a timetabled process too big to fail.
There would already be a geological nuclear dump in the Gosforth/Eskdale area if the county council had not opposed it 15 years ago.